How to knit Merino roving in 7 steps

If you are new to knitting roving here are a few practical tips to help you get started.

1. Un-roll all your wool before you start. I use a big plastic storage container with a sealable lid to keep all the nasties out.  Or you could use a big laundry basket, just make sure there are no snags or broken bits that might catch your wool.

Unrolling / un-baling give the wool time to breathe and expand. This creates a fuller or 'loftier' fibre to work with. Un-baling also gives the the chance to check your wool for the natural products that are sometimes left behind - grass, seeds, and occasional droppings. I know, sounds weird, but the cleaning and carding process removes most of the yuckies but there have been many occasions I have come across some unexpected extras.

Un-baling also helps with the joining process - easier to do it now rather than when your hands are full of your delicious chunky knit.

2. Cast on using a basic knit stitch style - the sturdy style of cast on stitches are too thick when using roving and can produce an uncomfortably stiff edge.

Everyone has a different method, but basically you want to cast on loosely, being careful not to pull or tug on your wool.

3. Position your wool at your feet, and check for anything that could snag the wool. I sit on a stool or armless chair and have the bucket of wool at my right foot. This means nothing gets in the way of the wool and I have enough space to swing my needles.

Puppies and pussy cats LOVE real wool, it's so soft and deliciously smelly, it makes for great nibbling and kneading material. But not so great if you are about to knit a massive chunky knit blanket. Your pets delicate aromas and offering of spare hair are also unpleasant additions to your knitting. Put them into another room with promises of love and attention later.

Turn on your favourite music or a romantic movie and let's get knitting.

4. Keep your wool loose as you make each stitch - the roving is like knitting fairy floss and will break under pressure

5. Wrap the roving around the needle as usual, gently managing the tension without pulling or tugging on the fibre

6. As you pull the wool through, keep the feeder wool loose and allow the needle to carry the wool through to make your stitch

7. With your new stitch on the right needle, check the tension and gently adjust if too tight / loose

and repeat ...

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