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There is nothing more exciting than starting a new crochet project. A promise of a new adventure, a project to try out and see through. So, once you are at the finish line, how do you actually finish off a crochet project?
How to Fasten Off in Crochet
At the end of a crochet pattern you might see something like this: Cut yarn, leaving 6 in tail. Fasten off.
What does ‘fasten off’ mean? Fasten off means taking the yarn, threading it through the last stitch and pulling it tight. Fasting off secures the last stitch and prevents your crochet work from unraveling.
Regular Fasten Off
To fasten off, you will need to cut your working yarn, leaving about a 6-inch tail that you will need later to properly hide the yarn.
Once you have the yarn cut, take that end, take the hook out of the last stitch, take the yarn and thread it through the last stitch. Then pull on the yarn tight, closing that opened loop and securing your work.
Here is how the yarn gets fastened off in a regular straight row crochet:
Fastening Off While Working in a Round
There is also fastening off and weaving in the ends when working on a piece that is crocheted in a round.
Regular Slip Stitch Fasten Off
To fasten off when crocheting in a round, crochet to the end of that row. Complete the row using a slip stitch.
Take the hook out of the last loop and thread the tail of the yarn through the loop. Pull it tight so close the loop until you have a small knot. Using the yarn needle, hide the tail between the stitches.
Here is how fastening off in a round looks like:
Another way of fastening off when working in a round is called needle join.
Needle Join Fasten Off
To fasten off in this way, stop on the last stitch in the row, without making a slip stitch, and, instead, cut the yarn, thread the tail end through a yarn needle (also known as a tapestry needle).
Using the needle, sew the last and first stitch of that row together, making it look like a regular crochet stitch.
Hide the rest of the tail in between the stitch by sewing through your work. Because this kind of fastening doesn’t end up with an extra knot, it looks more invisible.
Here is the needle join in action:
How to Finish Off in Crochet
Once your last stitch is fastened off, you can finish your crochet project. In the simplest of terms, to finish off, you would need to go through your crochet work and hide every loose yarn tail.
Depending on the size of your crochet project you can have just 2 tails to hide (1 end of the yarn at the start and 1 at the end if you were lucky enough to have a 1-skein kind of project).
If you had a complex project like a granny square blanket, you can have dozens of loose ends to hide. Ask any crocheter about hiding the tails and you will hear a collective groan. Let’s just say it’s not the most favorite part of crochet.
But, it needs to be done and if you see it as therapeutic or as something that makes your project official and ready for the world, it’s not so bad. Pick a night (or two), put on your favorite movie, and get to hiding all those loose tails. In crochet, this process is also referred to as weaving in the ends.
Basic: Weaving in the Ends
To weave in the ends, you will need a darning or yarn needle with a large eye (it’s often made of plastic and has a blunt tip). You will also need a pair of scissors. Many makers also use flexible fabric glue to secure the ends after they have been weaved in and cut, to make sure they don’t come out later, especially when the yarn is of a silky, slippery nature.
First, go through all the places where you joined the yarn and tighten any knots if you have them. To hide the end, thread it through the yarn needle and then use the needle to sew in the yarn into your work, taking care to go in the same main direction as the stitches in that area to make the yarn as invisible as possible. If your crocheted creation has a right side and wrong side, do most of the sewing on the wrong side.
Go about an inch in one direction, then in the opposite direction, securing the yarn to make sure it doesn’t escape later on when your crochet creation is in use. If you choose so, dab a small drop of glue on the end of your tail and press it gently to secure.
Do the same for the rest of the yarn ends. If you want a step by step way to weave in the ends on the corner, edge, or middle part of your project, check out the blog post with a photo tutorial on How to Weave In the Ends.
Advanced: Blocking and Connecting Multiple Pieces
The steps above work for simple pieces like blankets or scarves.
If your project involves multiple pieces like in sweaters where you have to attach the front and back panels, sleeves, and even pockets, or a multi-piece afghan, that can consist of dozens of stripes or squares, you need to connect all the pieces.
First, however, to make your life easier, it is recommended to block every piece to give it an even shape, to sharpen the corners and prevent the edges from curling. In case of granny square blankets or mile-a-minute afghans, blocking is used to make all the pieces of the blanket the same size.
Here is a quick video on blocking a granny square:
To connect the pieces of afghan or granny square blanket together, you can use a few different methods:
- you can sew them together using a yarn needs and extra-long piece of yarn (or using long tails left on the squares in advance)
- you can crochet the pieces together using your hooks as you go
To connect the pieces of a garment together, you can sew them together using a yarn needle and a long piece of complimenting yarn. Once your pieces are sewn together, you can hide the yarn ends with the steps described above.
There are as many different ways to finish off the crochet projects as there are patterns and designs.
I hope that the techniques above got you started on your path of finalizing your crochet creations, giving them a polished and complete look.
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