Maybe Matilda: CAL :: Joining New Yarn and Schedule Changes

Friday, September 23, 2011

CAL :: Joining New Yarn and Schedule Changes

I think I'm going to make a few schedule changes to our crochet along. It seems from comments and the flickr group that you guys are really zipping along, and I don't want this to drag on forever, so I'm going to cut a week out of our crochet along. I was worried about moving too quickly and rushing people, so I set a really slow schedule, but now that I realize just how fast this pattern works up (and how quickly you guys have gotten a grasp of things), I'm worried you're all going to get bored before our crochet along ends! So here's the revised schedule for the rest of the crochet along:
(edited: Oh dear, I just can't make up my mind. I was going to have us finish by Wednesday; now I'm worried that's too soon. How does Friday sound? Let's go with that.)

Mon, 9/26: Have 30 inches completed; learn to fasten off and weave in ends

Fri, 9/30: Finish your cowl, add it to our linkup, and start voting for your favorites!

Wed 10/5: Winners announced!

So make sure that your cowl is finished and photographed by Friday the 30th so you can add it to the link list! In case you need a reminder of the fabulous prizes up for grabs, visit this post! (And, by the way, may I take a moment to point out that there are currently 187 participants in this crochet along?! Guys, I seriously expected to have maybe 15 [at least 5 of whom would be family members who joined so I wouldn't feel like a loser]. I'm blown away that so many people are learning to crochet or revisiting an old favorite craft together! And if you haven't signed up yet, that link sign-up list is still open, so hop in and get crocheting!)

On to the task at hand--what the heck do you do when you run out of yarn?

Joining New Yarn
You'll need to know how to join new yarn to your project if you're ever switching colors within a project (think stripes!) or if your skein runs out before your pattern does. I'll show you how to join new yarn with double crochet stitches, since that's what our pattern uses, but the same idea holds no matter what stitches you're using.

Let's say I got to this point in my project and, uh-oh, I realize I only have 6 inches of yarn left in my skein:
I believe that, technically, you are supposed to join new yarn at the end of a row and not in the middle of one. But for goodness' sakes, if I run out of yarn in the middle of a row, I'm not going to pull out what I've already done just to get to the end of the last row to join it! I'm lazy, I know. If you're working stripes, yes, you need to wait until the end of a row to join a new ball, but otherwise, meh. Just join it where you are. Make sure that you leave yourself a few inches of yarn to weave the leftover yarn tail in--I'd say about 6 inches should do it. Got that? Don't just keep crocheting until your ball is completely used up--stop and join a new ball while you've still got a decent little tail left.

To join my new yarn, I'll start my next stitch but stop before the last step (since I'm working in double crochets, this means I've already yarned over, pulled a loop through, yarned over again, and pulled that through the first two loops on my hook--there are two remaining loops on my hook):
Now you simply take your new ball of yarn (I'm demonstrating in a different color so you can see it more easily) and loop it onto your hook, leaving about a 6 inch tail again:
Just take that loop of new yarn and use it to finish your stitch--so just pull it through the two loops on the hook:
The yarn tail from the previous ball (for me, it's the blue yarn) will make that stitch kind of loose--just pull it tight by tugging on the yarn tail, and tie it in a loose knot with the 6 inch yarn tail you left of the new yarn (pink) to keep that stitch snug while you keep going. You don't want knots in your finished work, so when your piece is finished, you'll come back to it, untie the knot, and weave in the ends, but for now just tie a loose knot to keep it snug and keep those ends out of the way, and continue crocheting with your new yarn.
Simple, right? If you'd like more instructions, here are some steps from the For Dummies site that make it look immensely harder than it really is (how sad is that? That I think the instructions written for dummies look tricky?), and here's a helpful video demonstrating how to join new yarn if you do make it to the end of a row before running out (plus a neat way to hide the yarn tails without having to go back and weave them in . . . I haven't tried her method before, but I hate weaving tails in, so I'll have to give it a try!).

Now you should be all set to keep working on your cowl! I'll teach you to finish off your work and weave in the yarn tails on Monday, but if you want to finish it early, here's a video that demonstrates how to fasten off your work (but leave yourself a longer yarn tail at the end--about 12-18 inches--to use to sew the ends of your cowl together), and here's another video about weaving in your ends.

Keep up the great work on your cowls and have at least 30 inches completed by Monday! If you'd like, share your progress in our Flickr group, and take a minute to visit our sponsors! That ought to keep you motivated--just think of the awesome prizes you can win! I'm already jealous of you.


  1. Great joining demo. I've never joined mid-row, but you're right--why not?!

    As far as my cowl goes, I am right at 32" and I actually am considering it "finished". You see, I'm 5'0 and very petite (at least on top, my hips are a completely different story) so I adapted the length to what was flattering for me. You won't consider that cheating, will you?? ; )

    The pattern is so easy and intuitive that I'd keep going--I def have the stamina--but it just looks so good on me as is...

  2. Tristin--sure, feel free to adapt it however you like! I was actually thinking of posting a few adaptation ideas (although it might be too late since it seems so many people are either almost done, or already finished!), and one of them was going to be shortening the pattern so it's more of just a snug cowl instead of a huge wrap-type cowl. I can't wait to see yours!

  3. I've never known how to do this. You make it look pretty easy.

    I'm really sorry that I've flaked out on this. I'm pinning the series so I can come back to it when life slows down. (It will slow down? Won't it?)

  4. Wow - it's super cool that there are so many participants!!

  5. I OWN YOU, GIANT CROCHET HOOK! Haha, Thank you so much, you have single bloggedly taught me how to crochet! I was so daunted by the idea of learning and had no idea where to start. My very first stitches were following along with you and now I have 42 inches of my cowl complete! I may take Tristin's lead and finish it now, as I'm only 4'11" and might be overwhelmed by making it longer. I'M SO HAPPY AND SO PROUD! My husband doesn't get it. Maybe because I've run in squealing about 15 times today and shown him my progress. He's all "Um... yes, baby, still...yarn."

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  7. Follow scent and found this space.
    To know someone here and there ... ...

    A kiss of Nita. Today, good morning!

  8. I've lost count of rows lol but I'm still going with mine! I think I've added stitches too I should learn not to crochet when tired haha. But otherwise mine is coming along nicely

  9. Thanks so much for teaching us how to crochet!! I've never really crocheted before, and NEVER been able to interpret a pattern, and now my cowl is pretty much finished and I just started making a bunny ( I've gotten the head done, and it's turning out!! I know how to crochet!! I can read the pattern!! Thanks so much for your awesome inspiration and mad teaching skills!!

  10. What are you doing to a procrastinator???? I am going to start this will I ever finish. Doing things on schedule isn't my style. :P I will do this! ;)


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