I’m working on High Line, a bulky weight wool lace shawl. Lace is always an interesting proposition when you have to join a new skein of yarn, but when you’re working with a bulky weight wool, there’s simply no way of disguising it. Enter spit splicing, a join method that works with any yarn that is at least 75% wool fiber. Since this join depends on wool’s ability to felt, you also can’t use a superwash wool, where the fiber has been coated so it won’t felt while you’re washing it. (See what they did there?) Again, this is for wool. Cottons, linens, and acrylics need not apply.
Step 1. For each yarn end (old skein and new skein), carefully unwind about 4″, and separate fibers into two relatively equal parts. If you’re working with a plied yarn, untwist them and divide evenly. Odd number of pies? Then separate the odd ply like the picture shows. Trust me; this is totally worth it.
Step 2. Now carefully take your separated yarn ends (top) and tease the yarn apart further so that you can see space between the actual fibers. The more spread out your fibers are, the easier it will felt and, as a result, the stronger your join will be.
Step 3. Next, carefully tear one section of the fibers away on each end. While you can cut them, tearing the fibers creates a more natural, and less noticeable, join. Fibers that are cut to the same length can show an edge or bump to the finished join. Remember, this is more obvious with big bulky yarns, and I’m working a lace pattern. If it’s fingering or DK? Those snap pretty easy too, once you have separated the strands. As with everything, your mileage may vary.
Step 4. Lay your two ends together so they overlap the 4″ you’ve removed. Ready? Spit on it. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, I really do want you to get the section wet. Which means spitting on it several times. (See? Knitting isn’t a prissy sport.) Roll the fibers together between your flat palms to cause the fibers to lock onto each other and draw them together. (What you’re doing here is actually wet felting, using the wetness from the spit and the friction created by rubbing your hands together. SCIENCE!!) Your fibers should go from looking like two separate pieces (top) to a single strand of fiber (bottom).
Step 5. The end result: your next skein is invisibly joined to the old skein, and this join will simply disappear into your project. Seriously — can you even see where the two ends have become one? I can’t. This is pure knitting magic. MAGIC, I tell you!!