Crochet Seams Image from a Tutorial at Grumpy Girl
Earlier this week I did a book review of the great crochet finishing techniques book by Betty Barnden. As I mentioned then, this book starts off with Barnden’s “10 Golden Rules for a Great Finish”. They’re smart instructions so I thought I’d share what they are here (but in my own words).
1. Use the right tools for the job.
This is a rule that I’ve found to be true for every hobby and every aspect of life. It’s all just easier when you have the right tools for the work. In this case, that means that you have enough yarn in the right dye lot for the project that you’re working, the crochet hooks you need, any additional notions you require such as buttons and some extra tools like scissors and a measuring tape.
2. Check gauge when you begin.
If you want to make an item that looks like the pattern that you’re working from or a crochet item that fits a particular size of person then you want to make sure that you’re making the right size. This means checking your gauge and adapting it to the pattern or the fit that you want before you’ve actually gotten going on the project. Taking the time to do this at the start of the a project is designed to prevent time-wasting later on.
3. Crochet consistently.
The idea behind this rule is that you want to make sure that each stitch looks like the one before it and is neither tighter nor looser than what you’ve been working throughout the project. This is sometimes tough if you’re working on a large project because each time that we crochet, we may crochet a little bit differently because of the way we’re sitting, how stressed we feel at the time or how tired we are. Taking a close look at your stitches to make sure that you’re crocheting consistently throughout the project is worth your time for a smart finished product.
4. Crochet carefully.
Count your stitches. Count your rows. Double-check that the pattern repeat you’ve now memorized and are working automatically is actually correct. Make sure that the pieces that are supposed to match (such as the sleeves) actually do match.
5. Track your progress as you crochet.
How many times have you set aside a crochet project in the middle of working it and then not been quite sure what row you needed to start on when you returned back to the crochet pattern? How many times have you taken a crochet hook out of a project, forgotten what hook size you were using and then started in the middle with a hook that was too big or too small? Taking notes as you crochet helps to prevent these problems that can completely ruin the finished product.
6. Plan ahead for the finished product.
For example, if the finished item is going to be a set of motifs that need to be joined together then you may want to leave enough yarn on each motif to use for the joining. A smart way to help you think ahead is to get in the habit of reading a crochet pattern all the way through before you work it.
7. Don’t be sloppy with your WIP.
I’m guilty of leaving a WIP hanging around randomly throughout my house but I don’t have pets or kids and I don’t leave my work in the kitchen so usually it’s not a big deal. People with more chaotic households may want to put their WIPs in bags or storage bins to prevent damage as they’re working.
8. Critique your work as you go.
Take a pause at various points throughout your crochet project and ask yourself if it’s going the way that it’s supposed to. Be honest with yourself even though it is hard. So many times we keep on working a project when we know something’s not quite right because we are too close to it and don’t want to rip back our work. Critiquing as you go using an objective eye will help you obtain more perfect finished products.
9. Assemble carefully.
Nothing can ruin a good crochet project faster than improper assembly. I know this from experience because I always like the actual crochet process and hate the assembling. That’s actually why I don’t typically work projects with lots of motifs and strongly prefer seamless construction projects. I know myself. Why do perfect crochet work if you’re not going to be just as careful in your assembly? So learn how to do your seams correctly and how to join your motifs and take your time on this stage for a good finished crochet product.
10. Add that final touch.
Your product is completely crocheted and has been carefully assembled. Now is the time to really finish it with that last little touch. It might be a decorative edging, a great button closure or a bit of fringe. That depends on the project and your personal taste.
I think the important thing to note here is that the actual finishing techniques that wrap up a project are only one tenth of the work required to make the product look great in the end. The planning and careful crocheting of your work throughout the process goes nine tenths of the way towards making a great finished object!