Thursday, February 16, 2012

Changing yarn colors or joining yarn in crochet.

Delicious Patons wool
I have so many unfinished projects stashed around my house that I sometimes forget and use one project's supplies for another. I also have a problem with buying too much yarn. Not that I cannot calculate how much I will need, but I just can't say no to "one more skein" when I buy. I end up making a "stew" project every now and again just to use up the remainders of some great yarns. (As if they would go to waste sitting there in the basket. Hmmph.)

Making a tote with some leftover bits.
This use of bits and pieces means I have to join yarn ends a lot in a purse or tote bag. I know there are purists out there in Craftsville that would stone me for saying this, but... I tie knots when I join yarns. I hear the gasps and feel the cold shoulder of being shunned. Thats ok. There are many different ways of finishing a project. If there weren't, we would never have heard of those three little pigs and their different houses.Fortunately, there is no big bad wolf to come along and eat us if we crochet our bag in a different way.

That said, I want to show you how I join yarns. This is for a bag or purse only. Joining yarns in a wearable project DOES require a bit more smoothness and no knots. Anyone who has ever worn a sweater with a knot on the inside feels like the princess who tried to sleep on that irritating little pea. It drives a person batty.

The steps are simple to follow as long as you know something of crochet already. This join is done in sc or single crochet.
Crochet to the end of a row with the first color. (In this case, it was the last bit of the variegated wool and a knobbly yarn whose manufacturer I cannot remember. I just wound up the last bits to keep them organized.) I have one loop of the first color still on my hook. The joining yarn (two strands of Patons wool) is ready to crochet in.
With one loop of the original color on the hook and holding both yarn tails in my hand, I draw up a loop in the second color and pull it through with a slip stitch. It looks as if I am beginning a chain. I do this to avoid having one post of the first color in my new row.
One I have connected the two yarns via slip stitch, I approach the tails. I begin by tying the two together to stabilize them while I finish crocheting. With the bag project, I can just tuck them inside while I work. If I was changing colors a lot or if I had a lot of tails, I would wind these around a yarn bobbin to keep them from tangling while I crocheted. This is fine for now.
I turned the bag over to continue working in the round, now with my new color on the hook.
Crochet as normal, sc in every stitch to continue pattern.
I love the subtle shift when joining multiple strands this way. The two strands of the first part of the bag mixing with the two new strands makes me feel accomplished. And its just neat.

After crocheting as many rows as the pattern calls for, fasten off as normal. You will need to go back and take care of the loose ends from the join. I use a blue plastic yarn needle for this. No particular reason to use plastic over metal. I simply have more of these stashed about in my crochet basket.

 Thread the tails onto the needle and weave into your project in a way that does not show easily.

I hope this makes joining yarn a bit less intimidating. There are many videos in Internetsvania from the great citizens of Craftsville (totally made up place that exists in my head where everyone crafts and you can borrow a cup of mod podge from your neighbor as if it were sugar) that will show you how to join yarns. Some folks have their own way of doing it. I was never taught how and simply fumbled til I found what works for me. Practice multiple ways until you find your most comfortable and dependable way.

Please leave a comment if this was helpful to you (or if you are the Big Bad Wolf and need to tell me I am doing it "wrong") because I appreciate all feedback (even wolfie criticisms that are huffed and puffed).

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