A Tail of Ends

ScannedImageWeave in all ends. Simple statement written at the end of almost every pattern, yet if you get a group of crocheters together you often find many different answers to how this is done. I have been on a personal mission to see if there is any consensus on this topic, and on my journey have found many opinions, thoughts and rationale for various approaches. Here are a few with their pros and cons, so that you can undertake a personal reflection and see what works best for your style of crochet.

First I need to have a long enough end. I admit yarn is precious so I don’t want to waste too much that I will just be weaving in, or cutting to throw away.  So yes, I have had short ends in some of my earlier work. I look at those pieces now and shake my head; the ends never stay hidden, regardless of which technique I try, the only thing that I can do to fix them is to pull out a needle and sewing thread and attempt to sew them down. I’m not a seamstress, sewing is not the reason I crochet, so I have learned my lesson, I leave an end of at least six inches in length, anything less is just asking for trouble.


Crocheting over the ends

Personally I have hated weaving in ends, so I have crocheted over ends whenever possible, this is quick and easy, but not exactly un-obvious. It does create a small ridge in the stitches that are crocheting over the end, and it is not very secure. If you give the fabric a good tug the end slides, and sometimes works itself out. Not to mention that the end is noticeable on the wrong side of the row, especially if it is a color change. Okay, so maybe this is not the best approach.

So maybe I should attempt weaving in, but I don’t want to get a tapestry needle. I take my hook and insert it through some stitches and pull the tail through. I don’t have to get up and find my needles and I am weaving in the ends not crocheting over them, but this is a little time consuming and the end looks obvious in some places as it sometimes is on the surface of the fabric entering into the side of a stitch. So unless I’m in a pinch on a personal item (that I don’t care about its appearance) I should probably stay away from this approach as well.


Weaving in ends over and through stitches

I guess I have to get the tapestry needle, now what. I can go straight across the rows, through the stitches but this gets me similar results to crocheting over them, if I give the fabric a tug it pulls out. So I ask around. I find people (even knitters) that have used some approach similar to those that I have attempted above, but then I find out some interesting tricks…work the weaving vertically through the stitches instead of horizontally, they are hidden better. But you can’t just stop there, you work the end in one direction for half the length on the end and then turn around and go back the other way, this will stop it from sliding out when the fabric is tugged. Genius! Why have I not found this before? Probably because crochet is as diverse as the people who love to do it. There is more than one right answer, so you have to find what works for you. I am sure that I have not found out all the tricks, more will be discovered, but at least for now I can hide an end and not have it slip out, since any good finishing should not be noticeable and should stay where it is put.

(To see a more in depth article, it is available in the CGOA Autumn newsletter)

Old Fashion Empowerment

ScannedImageFunny my husband has no complaints about me being “a little old fashion”. He often jokes that if the end of the world comes that he’d be set. Sure I make my own jam from our fruit trees, I make my own bread (which does not help any diet plans), I have a spinning wheel and can spin my own yarn (I just have to dust it off) and I crochet like a crazy. But does that make me “old fashion”?

I like to think it makes me practical. After all I have the fruit trees and should do something with the fruit, besides feed the deer. The bread, well I was given a bread machine several years ago and found that it was cheaper to make my own then to buy it, so that is just me being thrifty ( the fact that the smell of homemade bread from the oven is so delicious is just a perk). I got the spinning wheel after winning spinning lessons from a silent auction…actually this event changed my life…..IMG_5566

Interesting how life changing events turn up when you least expect them, but I can trace back my career in crochet to winning these spinning lessons. I thought that spinning my own yarn would slow me up some; I crochet so much, and so often that I was always in constant need of yarn. So I thought that spinning my own yarn would at least keep me on a project longer, which it did, that isn’t the life changing part. The change came from the people I met. The instructor was an older lady that lived about 30 minutes from me, Jean Franklin. She lived next door to her daughter and was raising little Shetland sheep and was passionate about spinning and weaving. Obviously she was an expert in both, and she kept telling me I needed to join the local fiber guild (as I mentioned in earlier posts, I wasn’t too receptive to “guilds”). Under her instruction I learned more than I ever thought possible about different types of wool, and plying and fiber composition, drafting and basic yarn construction. Finally after about a year I took her up on her invitation to attend a meeting.

At this meeting I learned I wasn’t “old fashion”; I was fashionable. This little group was nearly 100 in membership and all dabbled in various aspects of the fiber industry, some raised the animals with the wool, others processed it for spinning, some dyed it, almost everyone spun it, then there were the weavers, the knitters, the felters, and the crocheters. They all lived in harmony encouraging and promoting each other. Everyone was a teacher (whether they realized it or not), and it is from here that I have gained the confidence to move my craft onward.

There is nothing wrong with being not so tech savvy, and understanding the lifestyle that is a couple generations removed. There was value then, and is value still today in these crafts.  In knowing that with your own two hands you can keep yourself warm and feed is a wonderful feeling.

Old fashion=empowered.