That’s a wordy title, isn’t it? Can’t think of a more succinct way to put it, though, so it’s staying. I thought I’d cover a nifty crochet trick I learned recently. Maybe it’s common knowledge and not worth doing a full-blown tutorial on, but I figured that if I didn’t realize this was an easy option for hiding foundation chain screwups, surely someone else doesn’t know and could benefit from learning it as well.
If you’re anything like me, you probably lose track of how many chains you’re making when starting in on bigger projects . . . if you’re making a blanket, for instance, and you’re starting with a whopping foundation chain of 100 chains or 200 or even more, you’re bound to lose count at some point and either have to go back and tally them up, or just hope for the best and move on. And if you’re really like me, you’ll get the number of starting chains wrong anyway, even if you’ve counted and recounted, and you won’t realize the count is off until you’ve finished your first row and have extra chains dangling at the end.
I never knew there was a quick and simple fix for this. All along, I’ve been either ripping my work apart and starting over when I ended up with too many chains, or forging onward and trying to find a way to hide those extra chains by sewing them into the project (which makes for a bulky, awkward finish that probably no one but you will notice, but still—it’ll bug you). There is a better way. A MUCH better way. And if this is news to you, like it was to me, you’ll be kicking yourself for never realizing how easy it could be to get rid of those extra chains.
So you’ve reached the end of your first row. You have the correct stitch count, you’ve followed your pattern carefully, but curses! Extra chains! You don’t want to mess with the pattern to include them, but you don’t want to just leave them hanging there as a reminder that you miscounted your foundation chain. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Find your extra chains. You’ll have a knot on the far left, then however many chains you overshot your foundation row by. I have two extra chains here. Dangnabbit!
2. Grab a blunt needle and use it to loosen up the knot. Maybe you’ll be able to do this with your fingers . . . I can’t. Just pull that knot loose with the needle or your fingers, and undo it.
3. Now just carefully unravel those extra chains. They won’t just rip loose, like you’re used to when you have to pull your work out. Since you’re kind of working backwards here—from the bottom end instead of the top--you’ll have to manually unravel each individual chain.
4. Once your extra chains are pulled loose and you’ve reached the first real stitch of the row, just pull the yarn tail tight, and you’re all done! When you get a few more rows out of the way, you can go ahead and weave that tail in, and no one will ever know you messed up your foundation chain.
Simple, right? I can’t believe I’ve ripped out so much work in the past because I didn’t realize I could just undo the knot and unravel the chains. Totally kicking myself for all that wasted time, but hey, at least I’ve figured out a better way. And now that I know how easy it is to fix, I purposely add extra chains when making blankets just to make sure I don’t make the even more annoying mistake of having too few chains in the starting row. I’d rather go back and undo too many chains than try to make up for too few.
Is this concept news to you like it was to me, or is this Crochet 101 that you can’t believe I haven’t heard of before?