Last Monday, I shared a photo step-by-step to get you started making a sweet little granny stripe baby blanket (you can find that post HERE). Today, I want to show you two neat little timesaving tips you can use while you’re working to speed things up and save yourself a lot of weaving in at the end. I HATE weaving yarn tails in at the end of a project—it is absolutely, positively, definitely my least favorite part of crocheting. So these two tricks will help cut down on the amount of tails you end up with at the end. Big win in my book.
Timesaving Tip #1: Crocheting tails in as you go
This is a nifty little method to incorporate the tail as you’re crocheting, so you won’t have to sew it in later. If you do this little trick, you can weave the tails in while you’re working, and it’s just as secure as it would be if you waited until the end of your blanket and sewed it in as you normally would. I love being able to cut out that step.
Okay, so here we are, ready to change colors for the next stripe of our blanket. We’ve joined in the silver yarn and chained 3 to begin our next row. To work that silver tail in as you go, pull the silver yarn tail to the front of your work and use your thumb to hold it down snug against the first 3 double crochet cluster of the previous row.
Begin your next double crochet as normal—you’ll be working right over the silver tail, trapping it under the stitch. But don’t finish the double crochet just yet—stop halfway through the stitch (you’ll still have 2 loops on your hook). See how the stitch is worked right over the silver tail?
Now bring the silver tail up and drape it over the silver working yarn, from front to back. I hope this is clear in the picture below . . . this process was a little difficult to photograph. (And I tried 3 times to shoot a video and they were all disastrous, so photos it is.) To summarize so far, the silver tail went underneath the double crochet, and now, halfway through the double crochet, it is coming up and over the working yarn. Hold the tail at the back of your work for now.
Finish your double crochet stitch as you normally would, by grabbing a loop of the working yarn and pulling it through the two remaining loops on your hook. The silver tail should now be coming out of the halfway point of that stitch—see how in the picture below, the tail is coming right out of the middle of the double crochet?
To continue from here, drape the silver tail over the working yarn again, this time bringing it from back to front over the working yarn (the opposite of what we did in the previous step when we draped it from front to back). So it’s now coming up and over the working yarn, and should be pulled forward to the front of the work again. By draping it over the working yarn as we work the stitch, we’re carrying it up along with the stitch as it’s made, essentially weaving it in, just like we would at the end if it were just a dangling yarn tail. Hold it down snug with your thumb against the next 3dc cluster of the previous row.
Now we’ll just repeat what we did already from the start—work the first 2 double crochets of this 3dc cluster right over the silver tail. Stop halfway through the third double crochet.
Repeat the front to back, then back to front draping process that we did before. Bring the tail from front to back over the working yarn, finish the stitch as normal, then bring the tail from back to front again over the working yarn. The yarn tail will always go underneath all three stitches of each cluster, then it will be draped and carried up with just the final stitch of each cluster.
Continue this process until you’ve run out of yarn tail. It’s best to stop when the yarn tail is underneath the stitches rather than mid-stitch. See the picture below—the little stubby end of the silver tail is coming out of the sixth dc cluster of the row, and instead of trying to carry it up into the final double crochet of the cluster, I just left it there. And since it’s been carried under and up and through all those clusters, it’s just as secure as it would have been if I’d waited until I was finished with the blanket and sewn it in. Neat, huh? Having fewer tails to sew in really makes me happy.
Timesaving Tip #2: Carrying colors
Another super easy trick is to eliminate many of the yarn tails altogether by carrying the colors up the side of the work instead of cutting them at the end of each row. This really only works if you’re planning to do a border around your blanket, which will hide your ‘carried’ yarn. If you’re not going to add a border, I wouldn’t recommend this. And this works best if you’re doing short stripes (like my blanket with two rows in each color), and only switching back and forth between two colors.
So here we are at the end of our silver stripe, ready to switch back to blue for the next stripe. But wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to cut the blue to rejoin it, and cut the silver to join it in again for its next stripe? So many tails to weave in. I hate tails so stinking much.
So let’s not cut anything. Instead, we’ll just bring our blue working yarn up and pull it through the silver loop already on our hook.
You have to be quite careful with your tension here. Pull the silver yarn snug, and play around a bit with the blue yarn to see how it looks if you leave that yarn you carried too loose (it’ll gap open against the side of your work, and be harder to hide effectively with a border later), and how it looks if you pull it too tight (it’ll make your blanket pucker and scrunch up if it’s pulled too tightly). You want it to be just snug enough that the edge of your blanket lies flat without the carried yarn looking too loose.
Now you’ll make your chains and just continue crocheting normally. See how the blue yarn that we carried up is lying nicely against the edge of the work?
Let’s fast forward two rows . . . here we are, ready to switch back to silver. We’ll do exactly the same thing we did before. Bring up that silver yarn that’s dangling two rows down, and pull it through the blue loop already on your hook, and continue working normally.
So at the end of each color stripe, just bring up the other color yarn and begin working with it again without cutting anything. One side of your blanket will have all the carried yarn along the edge—see how at the end of each color, you can see the other color being carried along?
That’s why I wouldn’t recommend using this little trick unless you’re adding a border to your blanket. When we add our border, we’ll crochet right over those carried yarns, and you won’t even be able to see them anymore—perfect!
Next week, we’ll finish it up when I share the tutorial for the cute scalloped border!