While exploring my attic a few months ago, I came across the very first afghan I ever finished. When I found that pattern on the back of the band of yarn from K-Mart all those years ago, I never imagined I would end up designing crochet patterns, and even writing entire books of afghans!
In junior high, my Campfire leader taught me to crochet granny squares during my near daily visits, on my mile long walk home from the bus stop. Sometimes I would detour to K-Mart (also on my way home) to pick up a snack, and was excited to discover they also carried yarn. Of course it was all acrylic. But I did not know anything else existed, and took pleasure in choosing several shades of my favorite blues.
Now, I am very glad I made that first afghan in a nice sturdy acrylic. Because when I pulled it out recently, I realized that every end was tied in an overhand knot, and cut to about half an inch (if that). Over 20 years later, those tiny little knots are still holding strong, but it could have been a disaster!
You have to understand that this was a pattern where you changed colors EVERY row. Row upon row of single crochet, with drop down "Spike" stitches to create a pattern. What was I thinking? This thing took forever (one reason I seldom design in sc)! And even if the afghan has spent most of it's life tucked away in a closet or attic (let's face it, single crochet and acrylic yarn doesn't make for the most cozy of blankets), I would be heart broken if it began falling apart.
So, the moral of the story: WEAVE IN THOSE ENDS! I have been lucky that those knots did not come out years ago. Some of my other early projects did not fair as well, including those first Granny Squares which became a tree skirt I still use at Christmas. But when those short ends come out in the center of a Granny, what a nightmare!
I realize that many of us are mostly self taught, and if no one every told you to "leave long ends to weave in", how would you know? I sure wish someone had told me back then. So I thought I would include a few tips I have shared with my crochet students over the years.
Laurinda's Tips for Weaving In Ends:
- Whenever you change colors or start a new ball of yarn, it is very important to leave several inches (4-6) of yarn in each color to weave in under the stitches.
- You can use a yarn needle to weave in those ends, and it is a good idea to weave them back and forth in at least 2 different directions to help them stay put.
- You may choose to work over your ends as you continue crocheting, but it is still a good idea to leave some end out to bring back in the other direction with a needle later.
- Try to insert your needle horizontally along the bottom of a row of stitches, or vertically through the center of the stitches to avoid messing up the look of your stitches.
- Longer ends worked in more than one direction will stay put longer and be less likely to unravel all your hard work!
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As part of this Blog Tour, we are supporting Project Night Night, an organization that provides blankets, books, and stuffed animals for homeless children. Since my first book, Rowan's Learn to Crochet Sampler Afghan is full of small blankets designed to encourage people to donate to infants and children in need, I have decided to offer a 20% off Coupon code (HLCL3AVV) good for the rest of this month. There are patterns for 5 different blankets, and a baby hat, all perfect for donating! And don't forget there is a completely Left-Handed Edition, if you happen to be a lefty like me or need to teach them!
Be sure to check out more awesome designers on the tour including yesterday's bloggers: Andee Graves and Kimberly McAlindin, and tomorrow's: Susan Lowman (for CGOA) and Brenda Bourg (three of whom I met in Reno!)