Pufpaff's Fiber Processing
Nashville, MI
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Hints for Knitting with Roving

 Use medium weight unspun roving or split thicker rovings into multilple strips. 

If the roving is only slightly too thick to knit with, it can be drafted slightly by gently tugging on the roving as it is being knit. 

The drafting technique is the same used to predraft roving for spinning. 

   If the roving is too small, two can be worked together. 

 Roving should be knit with a loose tension, holding the roving close to the needles.

  If the knitter's tension is too tight, a carrier thread can be used with the roving to tug against to reduce breakage
 of the roving. This can be something as simple as a 10/2 cotton yarn which will disappear into the finished product or a 
fancy yarn that adds an additional design element.

 
  I have also found that the knitting technique that holds the yarn in the right hand and throws the yarn over the needles
 to create the stitch works better for knitting with roving. Throwing allows the knitter more control of the roving. The technique 
that has the knitter holding the yarn in the left hand and picking up the yarn to create the stitch puts too much stress on the roving
 and increases the tendency for roving to separate. If the roving does separate, just lay the two parts of the roving together, 
side by side, draft them together a bit and continue knitting.  

DO NOT TRY TO TIE KNOTS IN THE ROVING. When changing colors with 
roving, overlap one roving with the next, tug down to size and continue. 

 

Choosing a roving to knit: Not all roving knits with the same ease.  

I have found that roving that has some type of slippery fiber in it makes for greater ease when it comes to knitting.  

Llama and alpaca blends knit up very easily and have the added bonus of giving the finished item a soft fuzzy texture. 

 Mohair blends also knit and felt nicely creating just a bit of a mohair halo to the project but not has fuzzy as the llama and alpaca blends.  

Some of your smoother wools also knit up easily.

 When picking out a wool, go for the ones that are smoother and have more long lock structure and less crimp.  

A pure merino roving is not the best fiber to make for ease of knitting even though it felts wonderfully.

 

Needles: Size 17 circular or a size that allows to the roving to be firmly knit.
 Larger roving may need a size 19 and small roving a size 15 or even a size 13 needle. 
The length of the needle should be appropriate for the project.  
If working in the round, a length of at least 36 inches long makes for easier knitting, longer also works.  
If extra long circular needles are used, create a loop in the needle's cord to take care of the excess length.  
The author used size 15 and 13 needles on the samples she made from these patterns.

 
Gauge:  When knitting with roving, a gauge is actually figured by making a sample and shrinking it to see how the roving
 will respond to the felting process.  This allows the knitter to figure a stitch count based on the real size 
of the project since how loose or tight a project is knit will effect how much it shrinks.  
Also the fiber content of the roving will effect how much it will shrink

 
Also one of the interesting traits of roving is that it will shrink less in the width of the stitch than it will in the length of the stitch.
  If the project is going to be worked primarily in garter stitch, make a 10 stitch, 20 round sample. 
 If the project is going to worked in Stockinette stitch, a 10 stitch, 15 round sample with be adequate).  
Make sure to measure the sample before and after fulling, then figure the number of stitches 
it will take to make an inch of finished fabric.

 

Felting or Fulling Instructions: These projects should be sized to be felted firmly.
 The slippers will shrink from 2 to 3 inches in the fulling process.  
This may take 30 minutes or more, but watch closely to get exact finished size you need. 
 Felting times vary with fiber used, water type, temperature and amount of agitation. 
 Place project in a zippered bag or pillowcase to reduce surface damage during felting,
 or allow the project to agitate in the machine freely to create more surface fuzzing.
Set washer on hot wash, low water level and maximum agitation.
  Add a small amount of mild detergent.  
Extremely hot water is not needed or desired, as you must be able to handle the project during the process.
After 10 minutes, check on the progress. 
 Check again every 5 minutes, resetting the washer to continue agitating as often as necessary. 
 Do not let it drain or spin.  Every time you check, remove both slippers if you are making footwear from the bag or washer,
 pull lengthwise to shape and check the size before continuing. 
 When size is right, rinse completely and spin out in washer. 
 Extra shaping can be done by squeezing and rolling the slippers in the direction they need to be made smaller.  
Pulling and tugging can increase size if needed.  Allow to air dry.  This may take some time due to the thickness of the fabric.