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Ask the Problem Ladies: Queasy Knitter

By Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne


Spit Felting: How Far Do You Go?

Dear Problem Ladies,

I have a question for you two. A lady at my local yarn shop showed us how she spit-felts yarn together so that there are not any ends to weave in. She licked her palms and rolled the yarn ends between them and I thought I was going to die.  Do people really do this?


Queasy Knitter



Dear Queasy,

LICKED HER PALMS? BOTH OF ’EM? With her mouth and everything? Please hold. We have to go think about mint and cucumbers and gerber daisies.

OK, we’re back. But we’re still wobbly.

We are the first to acknowledge that spit-felting is one of those tricks that works.  There are times when spit-felting is pretty much the most elegant solution.

1. When you’re working on a 500-stitch-long shawl, and it’s hard to tell if the yarn you have left is going to last the whole row.

2. When you’re working in the round, and there’s no such thing as an edge.

3. You simply dislike weaving in the ends.

Friction, heat, and moisture cause two ends of wool yarn to bond better than nacho cheese on a rec room rug. The friction and heat come from rubbing palms together. The moisture part? We don’t like to dwell on it. Knitters who have that pioneer, rig-it-up, can-do attitude kind of suck on the ends for a second. But loading up both palms with damp ammunition? What happens when this knitter goes back to knitting? Is she still . . . damp-palmed?

Wimps dip the ends in water. Total wimps don’t do this spit-felting thing at all. They work in unfeltable cotton, or linen, or they simply weave in the ends at the edges and fondle other people’s sweaters warily, with Purell at the ready.

The spitters will say, “The sweater gets washed, you know. The minuscule, imperceptible amount of spit is invisible anyway. You probably drool on an average knitting project more than when you sully it with spit-felting.”

But simultaneous-dual-palm-licking spit-felting? Call the health department!


problem ladies


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