This week, it’s another blog post inspired by a question that got asked in my facebook group. It’s also one of those things which I never knew if I was doing ‘right’ for many years of crocheting.
Many people dislike sewing in ends and I understand why. You think you have finished your project as the crochet part is done, but then you realise that you have all the ends to deal with. Ugh!!!
Like blocking, I prefer to look at this part as putting the icing on the cake. Reframe it in a positive way instead of thinking of it as a chore at the end.
The icing is the most fun part right? Okay so that may be a stretch but ends have got to be dealt with, whether there are 2 or 200 to tackle!
How to weave in your ends
There are a bunch of different ways which people use to go about weaving in their ends. Here I share the approach that works for me.
You can watch my full video tutorial below. I talk through my approach, the pitfalls to avoid and give you a few of my personal tips. This will work for projects where both sides are public facing.
It’s a bit longer than my normal videos but sometimes it’s easier to see things demonstrated!
I have a super quick 2 minute version below, which gives you a quick visual without all the extra detail.
If video is not your thing, here are the main steps I follow when weaving in my ends invisibly:
- Leave a long tail when fastening off (around 20cm)
- Choose a suitable yarn needle for the yarn you’re working with
- Thread the yarn through the middle of the stitches
- Follow the flow of the stitches around the fabric
- Sew your ends over a large area so you don’t get lumps and bumps in the fabric
- Weave the end in different directions, crossing over itself so it is hard for it to come undone
- When you’re almost done, try and thread the yarn through a few stitches together
- To fasten off, pull the yarn tight, snip it close to the fabric, then stretch the fabric so the tip disappears back into the row of stitches you just thread it through
If you are working on a smaller project with a gazillion ends, then you are probably not going to want to be quite as thorough with a 20cm tail on every row of a small granny square motif!
In cases such as this, I advise following the same principle but just work with a shorter yarn tail over a smaller area.
Or keep reading for advice on how tips to avoid ends!!
When to do you sew in your ends?
There are several schools of thoughts on this – here is my two cents on the matter:
When I’m working on a garment or something that needs to be blocked, then I always wait until after blocking.
If you sew in ends the way I outline above, then when it comes to blocking, you may find the area resistant to stretch and end up with a patch of fabric or an edge with a different tension to the rest of your work.
If you’re working something with a lot of ends, that does not need to be blocked then definitely sew as you go!
Likewise if your crocheting something like a granny square blanket or an item made up from motifs, block and weave in your ends as you go!! (That’s the theory at least… I usually leave it to the end or do it in a couple of sessions!)
Here’s an inpopular opinion (maybe?): I actually find sewing in ends quite therapeutic. I have to be in the right mood, but it’s generally pretty mindless work, so get comfy on your sofa with a good movie or box set and you’ll be done before you know it!!
How to avoid sewing in ends
I know some of you love a shortcut so here are some ways you can minimise the number of yarn tails you have to manage!
The Magic Knot, sometimes called the Russian knot, is a great way to join new yarn without creating ends to sew in as you tie the two pieces together and just snip off the excess.
I only use this when working with another ball of the same coloured yarn. I’m not accurate at getting the knot in the ‘right’ place to use it for colour changes, though I know many people are much more proficient at this trick than me!
A word of warning about the magic knot – don’t use it on slippy yarns like mercerised cotton or silky yarns as I have found it comes undone on occasion… believe me, it’s not fun to try and fix that in the centre of a sweater or blanket. So if you use the knot, make sure it’s really secure!
I have seen, and I am in no way endorsing this, people using a lighter or heat source to fuse the ends of acrylic yarn by melting the fibres together. I haven’t tried it (though I am curious) and although I think it could, maybe work, I would worry that the fibres would be more prone to snapping. I’ll report back if I ever give it a go!
You can of course just work over your tails as you go and snip off the extra. This can be very effective on items like cushions where you can hide any excess inside, but be thoughtful about what project you use it on. You don’t want those pesky strands popping out!
I you really hate sewing in ends but love working in different colours then why not make a feature of them? They could make for a great fringe on a stripy blanket.
Or you could weave them all over to a single area and fashion a tassel?
The desire to avoid doing things we find boring can lead to incredible creativity!
Lastly, if you’re not sure what to do with all those ends when you have snipped them off. Why not pop them in a glass vase and make some art which reads like a history of your crochet projects?
The one you see below was my 2018 yarn journal!
See, ends can be beautiful!
I hope you have found this a useful summary and got some tips and a little more love for the all important icing on the cake finishing!