As days warm up, we are more likely to be knitting and crocheting with cotton and other plant-based yarns. Depending on the pattern you are working, you may find yourself with a few yarn ends that don't stay where you put them. Unlike wool yarn, plant-fibres don't stick to each other. It is common for the yarn ends to fray and to wiggle their way to the right-side of your garment. Oh no!
These photos are of the finishing of the Vanier V-neck Sweater, crocheted in Cascade Ultra Pima dk. The technique described for securing the yarn ends works in any knitted or crocheted project, as long as the yarn is a plant-fibre (cotton, linen, bamboo, or rayon). The plant-fibre can be blended with a bit of synthetic or animal fibre--just test first to make sure it is strong enough and stays secure.
First, see how the 100% cotton yarn tends to separate and fray after just one blocking? Over time, this end will likely work its way from the wrong-side to the right-side, and no one likes that.
So here's one way of dealing with those pesky cotton ends. Start with the tail trimmed to just 3" or 4". It doesn't have to be too long.
Use a tapestry needle to weave the end just one-half inch away from the very edge of the work.
Remove the tapestry needle and twist the yarn tail to open up the plies. Separate the yarn into 2 strands. In this case, the Ultra Pima has 4 plies, so I separated into 2-ply strands. Depending on the yarn you are using, separate into two halves.
Using the tapestry needle or a crochet hook (my tool of choice), pull one strand under and through just one stitch. Now, the strands are on either side of a stitch. This anchors the knot you will tie in the next step.
Tie the two strands together using a simple overhand knot. Pull the knot very tight. Take care to prevent either strand from puckering the crocheted or knitted fabric. Tie another overhand knot and, again, pull very tight. The tighter you pull, the smaller and more durable the knot will be. You may need to test your yarn to see how much stress it can bear. Ultra-pima, and most cotton yarn, is very strong and can take a very tight knot.
Use sharp scissors to trim both yarn strands very close to the knot. If you made a tight knot, it will stay tied for the life of your garment. If you are uncomfortable that the knot will come untied, you can put a drop of Fray-Check (a liquid available at most fabric stores) on the knot. It, basically, glues the knot together.
Can you see the knot in the picture? Give this technique a try next time pesky cotton or plant-fibre ends are getting the best of you. You can see the finished Vanier V-neck Sweater in the shop.