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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Knots

Warning: Rant Follows!

I just finished weaving the second mixed warp throw, and while weaving, I encountered a LOT of knots. This wasn't a surprise, I could feel them pass between my fingers as I wound the warp, so I knew all along that they were there, and that I'd have to deal with them eventually.

(The nice thing about mixed warps is that when you swap in a length of yarn to replace a knotted end, it doesn't really matter what color you pick. I'd run out of green, so when I found a green knot, I swapped in something the same value but didn't obsess about the same color. It won't even show in the finished cloth.)

These yarns are better suited to knitting than weaving - they're very soft spun, especially the slub or flake yarns. I've never seen so many huge dust bunnies accumulate on the floor in such a short time!

My question is, do knitters really not care about knots? There must have been a knot in the middle of almost every ball or skein of yarn that I used. How can the manufacturer sell a product that can't go 100 yards without a knot? I don't get it.

I have been know to complain to a retailer about excess knots in weaving yarn. I always ignore the ones I cause myself, whether by poor skein winding or rough handling in the dyepot or whatever. My knots, my fault, my problem, no complaints. Once I showed a yarn retailer a photo of my loom with almost 20 replacement warp ends hanging off the back. In that instance, their supplier's knots, their fault, not mine. The retailer kindly replaced the yarn, and promised to pass the complaint on to the supplier.

But that was a 17-yard warp of fine silk, so 20 replacement ends (and 20 knots) meant there was way more than 100 yards between the knots. Nowhere near as bad as this knitting yarn. It's a Good Thing I'm not a serious knitter.

It's also a Good Thing that I didn't weave these throws back when I bought the yarns, when I was just a beginning weaver. It would have soured me on weaving to have to cope with these yarns. I'm wondering why it is that soft, flake or slub yarns are considered a good beginner project - when in fact a smooth, firmly twisted yarn is much easier to handle at all stages of the process.

Oh, well, another part of the Stash Reduction project is nearing completion. I'll post pictures tomorrow when I've mended, laundered, and pressed the throw.

6 comments:

Unspun said...

as a knitter and occasional weaver, I must say that knitters do not appreciate knots either. In my opinion they are easier to manage in knitting though, so as long as there are not many, i usually let it slide. If it is really bad though, that is a yarn i probably don't buy again. I think that is pretty rare.

neki desu said...

must be the sign of the times. i also had knots weaving the Alice project.
not fun.

Alice said...

Argh-h! Bad yarn, naughty yarn. A warp like that is certainly a test of character.

DEEP END OF THE LOOM said...

As a knitter and weaver knots are the most annoying things in yarn, I do really mind if I need to knot in a new ball of yarn but the machine knots are just a pain. I'm finding that a lot of yarn, either manufactured in mills are laden with knots. I don't really know what's happening but it is fustrating.

Benita said...

I, too, have found lots of knots in knitting yarn lately, and when I tried to weave with some yarn that had at least 2 knots per ball, I just put the manufacturer's name (one I had never heard of before) into my mind as yarn I would never buy again.

As a knitter, I find knots annoying, but in weaving, I find them infuriating!

Ruth said...

I wonder if our retailers are not sufficiently keeping an eye on their suppliers. I once had a house-brand cone of 3/2 pearl cotton (well-known yarn producer & retailer), that had so many knots that I complained. For my trouble, I got back a not too pleasant reply, and sometime later some free cones of yarn. I believe that producer/retailer has its yarns spun (and dyed?) in Brazil.

In general, if the retailer is in the US, and the mill overseas, the retailer probably doesn't visit the mill very often. If the retailer's reaction to customer feedback is to to blow his top, then things will never change.

I do still purchase from that retailer, and I've never had another cone as bad as that one (and no, it wasn't black--it was yellow). But I'm always on my guard, worrying that the next cone may be like the infamous yellow 3/2 pearl cotton.