Trouble in Damask

I started the Damask shawl last night and posted a pic in the last post of a finished example, my yarn choice and the beginning few rows. Well, I'm in trouble. It's the yarn that is giving me problems. It is literally falling apart. It broke once during the winding process which I didn't think much of since the skein is one big single skein of 990yds. Its a lot of weight even on a swift as you crank the winder. But now it has broke three times while knitting.

Broke is to tense a word... it just disentegrated. My stiches are nice and loose. I could probably pop them on the next size larger needle and not have to stretch yarn to do so, so i'm not putting to much tension on it. My interchanchables from KA are securely tightened and the cable is intact and as far as I can tell not catching anywhere. All three times I haven't felt the yarn break but come back to it as I turn a row and find it. When I try to knot the break off it literally falls apart again. I have NEVER seen a yarn do this.

Its The Great Andirondack Yarn Co.'s bamboo fingering which is 51% bamboo and 49% cotton (it was so soft and luxurious feeling). My guess is the staple was just spun out to far. Either way I just gave up on it after the final break that appeared in the cast on edge 12 rows away from the row I was working.

Has anyone had such a problem with this yarn before? Any sugestions beyond just finding another fiber? Aiyiyi this sucks!


Bill's picture

you might write to the company...wonder if it might be a bad batch?

When my yarn just breaks it's usually because moths have gotten to the yarn. But that wouldn't be the case with your blend. Occasionally when I'm working with a single ply of my handspun, the yarn will separate in an area where I haven't given it enough twist. I wonder if that could potentially be the problem with your yarn. If so, and if I wanted to salvage it, I would likely give it some more twist on my spinning wheel. Like Bill, I would notify the company and the yarn store if the yarn is a recent purchase.


superi's picture

Yeah, it sounds like a twist problem in the yarn.. With it a blend of cotton and soy it should have a lot of twist because those are both really slick fibers. You may also be untwisting it in the knitting process. I find sometimes when making socks or shawls Ill be overtwisting the yarn while knitting maybe you have the opposite problem.


Tallguy's picture

There are a couple of things that might be wrong, and without seeing the yarn itself and watching you work, it's hard to say what is wrong here.

Cotton is a very short fibre, as is the bamboo. In order to make a yarn hold together, it needs lots and lots of twist -- called a "hard twist". Which makes for a "hard" yarn. Because you said it was so soft and luxurious, I'm taking that as a sign that it has a soft (loose) twist. You don't say if it is a single or a plied yarn.

The other thing is that you may inadvertly be removing twist from an already softly twisted yarn. You may be winding it incorrectly into the ball, and taking the yarn from the wrong side. There is one side that will add twist, one side will remove twist.

You don't say which method you use when knitting -- English will usually add twist, but sometimes Continental will as well. Depending on what twist is in the yarn (S or Z), a combination of all these things could actually make the yarn "come apart" -- you are right when you say it does not break. When the yarn behaves this way, I know that it didn't have enough twist in it in the first place.

This yarn is good for some things -- like a scarf when used with another yarn, but for something like a lace shawl where you are going to have texture in the stitch pattern, it is not the best choice. Set it aside for something else, and use a smooth yarn with adequate twist and you will be much happier.