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Don't let your work unravel

Nearly completed yoga mat
Nearly completed yoga matCatherine Hill

Since I give crocheted and knitted gifts to my family, I get feedback on their quality. Last Christmas, I learned that some of my dish cloths and other kitchen items tend to unravel under heavy use and frequent washing. I had been simply been making hand knots through the last loop, occasionally tying the yarn tail through other loops as well. Martha Stewart's Knit and Weave Loom Kit suggests a better method, but I hadn't been using it because it meant extra items to carry in my crochet bag.

Now I've bought a little zip-up bag for the new items - a plastic needle and needle threader. You can use a metal yarn darner for this type of work, but the plastic needle is more flexible and easier to carry. One is included in almost every loom knitting kit. Martha Stewart does not mention needle threaders, but they are the best thing that ever happened to older folks and younger ones who wear glasses. I'll explain that with my photos.

Nearly completed yoga mat
Nearly completed yoga mat Catherine Hill

Nearly completed yoga mat

I did this the East Nashville way - use whatever yarn of the right weight you can find!  Here I've spread it out for measurement.  Getting 68 inches isn't easy when you have a 60 inch measuring tape!  This is plain, single crochet work, with no lacy holes or fripperies.

Needle threaders
Needle threaders Catherine Hill

Needle threaders

These are the needle threaders I swear by.  The one on the right is for sewing needles, particularly small-eyed ones for delicate cloth.  It also works for threading your sewing machine.  That thin wire contracts for the needle eye, then can be expanded to thread the needle.  Thread the wire, and pull the needle over it!

The larger threader is used for everything else.  I have put an embroidery needle on the smaller end; the larger is for multi-strand or yarn work.

First step
First step Catherine Hill

First step

I've marked the final loop in the yoga mat.  You can see I have snipped a length of thread and threaded it through the plastic needle.  This is my favorite plastic needle, from the Martha Stewart kit.  It has a HUGE eye, and I used the threader just for convenience.

Second step
Second step Catherine Hill

Second step

Now I have pulled the threaded needle through the last loop in the mat.  Now it is pulled really tight and ready for me to finish off.  This is a lot easier than threading through loops by hand , especially when you keep re-threading to make extra knots.  That practice doesn't make for a long life span for your object, anyway.

Last step
Last step Catherine Hill

Last step

This step I've marked as carefully as possible.  See how I have woven the needle THROUGH the loops in the completed work.  This is where a plastic needle comes in really handy.  It's so easy to push through a loop!

I usually wind up making an extra knot to tie off securely, but I haven't yet decided whether that is necessary or not.  When the yarn tail is woven into the work, it's less likely to come loose.