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gingerfuzzball 04-01-2008 01:27 PM

Loose ends keep poking through my work!
I'm a fairly experienced knitter and generally make things like babies' clothes. Recently I discovered the joys of knitting with organic cotton and have made some stuff which I absolutely love BUT I have noticed a problem that I have not had before, which is that loose ends now keep popping through my work and show at the front.

I do as I always do, and weave loose ends (from the wool pulled through the final bound off/cast off stitch) through several stitches at the back of the work and double it up over itself to secure it - coming undone is not the problem, it's just that because the cotton is more 'sleek' than wool and the work is quite stretchy, some of the yarn ends are shifting direction as the clothes are moved and are poking out of the front of the work where they look unsightly. If I poke it back through, it comes out again sooner or later and if I cut off the very end bit then I end up with the same problem with whatever is left, it just comes up in a different place! It's made worse because cotton has so many little strands and it sort of splays out and draws as much attention to itself as possible!!

This is important to me because I give a lot of my work as gifts and I think it is a shame that it looks as if it is coming undone when it is not, I think it worries people who don't knit themselves that they should not give the clothes too much wear and tear in case they come apart. How can I secure the ends? All help and suggestions appreciated!!

Jan in CA 04-01-2008 01:31 PM

I've had the problem too, but fortunately for me it was just on dishcloths since that's all I've made with cotton so far. Could just take a bit of thread and tack it down lightly so it won't show? :think:

suzeeq 04-01-2008 02:05 PM

I think sewing a few stitches with thread would be fine with the cotton yarn.

gingerfuzzball 04-13-2008 02:02 PM

thanks, everyone!

Sadly, sewing it in with cotton doesn't seem to work as you can never get the very end sewn in and somehow it always conspires to come through the work! A friend suggested painting the loose ends with a small amount of clear nail-varnish because that will stop their flexibility (which I think is causing the problem - it's when the fabric moves and the rough ends rub against the smooth stitches + they are then pushed through by the friction, with nothing to stop them) I am going to give that a go I think, although i will need to test out a sample swatch to see how it would wash and if the varnish makes it feel bad.

GinnyG 04-13-2008 02:45 PM

I am very interested in hearing possible solutions, I have recently bought a HUGE amount of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece for baby clothes, I hate to think I'm going to be fighting ends!!!

I would think the nail plish would make a stiff scratchy end.

I know you aren't supposed to knot when knitting but wonder if this is a case where knotting might not be a bad idea. And, making sure you always add yarn on a seam.

I'm currently working on a Vest in Cotton, haven't gone to my second skein yet (soon), it's knit in the round so now am wondering where to place the skein change to cause the least problem.

cam90066 04-13-2008 02:47 PM

I use a toothpick and a tiny amt of FrayCheck. This helps seal the ends to the surrounding fabric. I work with a lot of recycled cotton (from thrift sweaters) so the fibers aren't plied (and thus, lots to poke thru). This has worked very well and I've not had a problem with scratchiness.


gingerfuzzball 04-13-2008 04:58 PM

I should probably have mentioned that the main problem I had was with a patchwork blanket where there were over 60 squares with 2 ends to each square to fit in, with no real 'seams' as such, as I sewed them quite flat. I have since made some sweaters which were not nearly so problematic because of fewer ends and of course you can sew them right into the seams if necessary, and I have found that sewing them so that they double-back on themselves (eg. across the seam to the other half of the sweater) really helps. Thought I should point that out in case I have accidentally started a cotton-panic! :whistle:

However, the FrayCheck sounds like a great idea, I haven't heard of that before (unless it has a UK name that I haven't connected in my head), but I shall go away and look it up. Thanks very much!

cam90066 04-13-2008 08:12 PM

I've previously posted a pic of a sampler afghan I made that had many sqs (altho it was acrylic). LOTS of ends to weave and zap with the FC.

You should be able to find a FC-type product in any sewing/fabric center.


Sheri 04-13-2008 10:28 PM

I really like the Fray Check idea and I've used it frequently with sewing cotton. It does not become brittle and I will try this solution as I have several baby sweaters in the works now with Blue Sky yarn. I have 4 baby blankets (knitted) done but not finished as I have alot of ends to stitch down. ICK........BTW my son and his wife are trying but not pregnant yet but I'll be prepared won't I!

Cynamar 04-14-2008 12:32 AM

Fray Check is good stuff. I haven't used it in my knitting yet but there is some in my cross-stitch stuff.

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