For the last three weeks, I've been making up a T-shirt. Yep, T-shirt. Three weeks.
The problem is that it's a stripy T-shirt*. The front and the back both have two repeats of a 64 row stripe pattern. The sleeves have a shorter stripe pattern, but there are still a lot of stripes, since most of the stripes are only one or two rows wide. And where there are stripes, there are ends to be sewn in. Lots of ends. Finicky, fiddly little 4-ply cotton ends...
The problem is finding a way to thread the ends into the work so that they don't pull loose and scratch or unravel, while also avoiding bulking up the seams too much with run-in ends. There are something like 200 ends in this garment (66 each for the front and back, and 30 for each sleeve), and that is a lot to hide in one seam.
Normally, if I was working stripes, I'd weave the unused colour up the side of the work. However, this trick only works with two or three colours - with 12 colours, it is less effective. In fact, when your stripes start and finish on opposite sides of the garment, it is completely useless!
Of course, now that I've finished the top, I've found an excellent tip on managing ends in striped work. In a recent Knitting Daily newsletter, one of their editors suggested carrying the cut-off ends along the back of your row, in the same way that you carry the colours in fairisle work.
This would achieve exactly the same result as stitching my ends into the purl bumps on the reverse side of my work - but it would achieve it at the same time as I was knitting, which would make the entire thing much less painful.
Since my masochism knows no bounds, I will get a chance to use this technique when I delve into my stash to knit up Glade later this year. I've been hesitant to start work on it, as my hands ache whenever I knit with fine needles for more than a couple of minutes. The obvious answer to that is to start knitting right away - four or five minutes of knitting every day should have me a finished jumper in a bit over a year, all going well!
As a break from sewing in teeny, tiny ends, I've been working on Moebius cast ons and entrelac patterns for our new classes. It will be an exciting change from beginner classes - and from running in ends!
**The T-shirt is Marie Wallin's lovely Dauphine (from Rowan magazine 43, published in 2008). Looking forward to taking a photo and putting it up here - once I finish running in those blasted ends and actually get to sew a seam!!