Monday’s post inspired a rare comment here. Lillian sympathized with the flock of ends problem that this blanket poses, and suggested a method for beginning/ending strands that I hadn’t used before. Thank you!
The back to back join as described by TechKnitting is a very useful method, and is an excellent one to have in one’s bag of tricks. I would be extremely useful for joining thinner yarns, woolly yarns, and for adding on a new ball when spit splicing isn’t possible because of fiber content. It’s new to me, but it will be something I’ll be playing with in the future. But it didn’t work out well for me on my blanket.
This particular project adds two complications that limit the effectiveness of the back to back method. The first is the yarn I’m using. It’s a very dense, round cotton, made up of a zillion little hard strands. As a result, it’s difficult to compress easily. The distortion produced by the two-strands-thick change-over stitches stands out very prominently on both the back and the front. The second is that the first stitch of a new color stripe is also the stitch that bears the row increase (either a k1 in the back and front, or a p1 in the back and front, depending on the garter stitch row being worked). The double strand distortion is magnified in that increase stitch, making a very prominent lump, visible here at the stitch marker:
Given my yarn choice (and remember that I’m not using the medium lofty washable wool as recommended by the pattern’s author), the best, most invisible method for working in the ends is the old fashioned method of darning them in locker style – thread yarn through backs of stitches in color in one direction, snick up any looseness, then reverse direction and pierce the same strand on the return trip, burying the yarn into itself before snipping off. This does leave a small caterpillar like lump on the reverse side as a slight thickening of a garter ridge, but is totally invisible from the front side. Here you see the reverse, with two green caterpillar end-offs in the center.
In my particular case, an even more invisible treatment is to take advantage of the nasty splitting habit of my chosen yarn. If I take my darn-in end and split the plies into two bundles, then darn each bundle in separately (and in opposite directions), the resulting caterpillar bumps on the reverse are smaller and less noticeable. My pix of that refinement will have to wait until tomorrow.