Ends, Beautiful Ends
Whenever I mention "weaving in ends" I get a wave of very strong opinions from most of my yarny friends. I asked the question of some of my Facebook followers and got a plethora of responses--that very strong opinion thing.
"I detest it!"
"How could anyone like it?"
"Sometimes I have piles of projects almost finished with all the ends poking out."
"I've got an afghan that's been waiting for over 10 years for me to finish it, all because of the ends."
"Hate, curse, postpone and loathe!"
Ok. Ok. I get it. Most people don't love it. However, a few folks say things like this...
"I used to really dread it and put if off. But I've started to do them as I work on a project rather than wait until the end. It's also a great thing to do at my crochet group because there is no counting stitches--I can just chat and enjoy."
"I do it as I go, working over the ends and then weaving in the tail. When I finish I project I like to be FINISHED!"
"Weaving in the ends is my least favorite part of crochet, so I recruit my mother to weave in those stringy little devils. She thinks it's therapeutic." (Haha! You could pay someone, too!)
"Weave as I go. Makes it so much easier."
"Hate it. But the nicest work is multi-colored."
The fact of the matter is, if you ever want to finish a project, you must do it--at least for that final little tail. And if you are as obsessed with color as I am, you are destined to have to do it.
Just think about it...this mandala would be quite boring in a single color!
And this...Flying Colors Blanket...well, it wouldn't be Flying Colors now, would it?
Or this...Mariposa Throw
So how do I deal with ends?
1. I decide to. In other words, I decide to deal with them and not pretend they are going to disappear on their own. Pick up that needle and weave in those puppies (otherwise known as stringy little devils).
2. Do it now. Don't wait until the end. (Sometimes I am good at this. Sometimes not.) There are two really good reasons for this. First, you don't end up feeling "finished" in your mind without actually being "finished" with your work. I learned as a child that when you have tasks ahead of you that are unpleasant, just get them done and out of the way first. (Smart mother I have, huh?) Secondly, having worked them as you go, you can see the "unstringy" beautiful progress of your project in all its glory, motivating you to continue working to completion.
Note: There is a little risk to weaving in your ends as you go if you made an error and need to frog. So check your work carefully before you do it.
3. Work over ends or carry yarn along, if you can. An entire blog post could be dedicated to this idea, but by working over some ends that you don't worry about popping out later, and carrying yarn up the side or along the back of the work--if that is an option--you can seriously reduce the number of ends you need to weave in later. Just be thoughtful about which ends you work over as those worked into a circle will stay put better than those worked along a row. And consider if the back of your work will be seen or your edges unsightly. Admittedly, I am all about finish work--so if it doesn't look neat and tidy to me, I would prefer to cut and weave then settle for less than beautiful (See # 5.)
4. Use variegated yarn. Sometimes when using variegated yarn--particularly with long color runs--you can get the look of color changes without so many ends. But, alas, since the scarf in the photo above is made with motifs, those rascally ends still need to be woven.This one...Watercolor Waves Cowl...is not, and would only be one little end--minus the flower, of course.
And, honestly, there are some patterns that just would not achieve the same effect without a clean color change.
5. Finish work makes all the difference. Can you imagine building the house of your dreams and telling the carpenters to not worry about the finish work? When I look at the quality of a home, the first thing I focus on is the finish work. How crisp are the seams of the trim and moldings? How straight are the lines of the paint? How clean are the lines where various floorings meet? How smooth are the seams of the dry wall? See, to me, if the project is beautiful, but the finish work is sloppy, the whole thing looks cheap and unfinished and poorly done. Why bother with a lovely project--the time, the yarn, the creativity, the energy--if you are not going to do the most important work of all? The finish work is the detail work that makes you say, "Wow!
Having said all of this, I think maybe we need to reframe our thinking about ends. Consider it "crocheting" and don't let it make the decision for you when selecting a project that you would otherwise really love to hold in your hands, all completed and gorgeous.
To me, it's part of the art. Hey, maybe that's what needs to be | On the Board| ... right now. (Now where's my chalk?)
Hugs and Happy Hooking!