Sunday, 10 March 2013

Gingham crochet rug - how to carry yarn and join new colours

I have written previously about crocheting in a gingham pattern.

The gingham rug pattern suggests that the ends be woven in as you work, to save weaving in at the end.   This is good advice.  However, the pattern does not give any details about how to do this, nor how to secure new yarn colours.  Also, the pattern requires that you cut one colour yarn at the end of each row, and join another colour at the start of each row.  This means that you have to use a slightly different method on alternate rows to join your new yarn colour.

As I found it all a bit tricky and there were few helps available, I spent some time working out how to do these things.   Once I had it, I thought I would share my technique for carrying the yarn invisibly and joining new colours step-by-step.  It should save you some time and ensure that you end up with a lovely reversible gingham pattern.

I am using cream, light green and a darker green for my rug.  The light green is what I refer to throughout as the 'continuing colour'.  By this I mean that this is the colour that is used in every row, whereas the cream and dark green are only used on alternate rows.

In the pic below, you can see the light green on my hook with the dark green end ready for weaving in.  (More detail on cutting the yarn and finishing the row later in the post).

Joining a new colour

You now need to join a new colour to your work.  You should always join the new colour after you turn the work, at the beginning of the next row.   

You start your new row with the continuing colour every second row.  The alternate rows start with a new colour.  This difference means that you need two slightly different methods to join new yarn.  Both joining methods are simple and straightforward, it's just that they differ slightly.  

If you will be using a new colour to start the row, use the first joining method described immediately below.  This is the case in the picture above, where my first colour of the next row should be cream, not the continuing colour of light green.  

(If you will be using the continuing colour first, you will need to join the new colour slightly differently.  In that case, see 'Joining new colour - second joining method', set out later in this post).

Joining new colour - first joining method

In the picture above, look at the second row from the top.  You will notice that to keep the pattern going, I must actually start working with cream before using the light green on my hook.  I therefore must join the cream yarn before I can begin the row.  Onward, first joining method!

Make a slip stitch using cream . . .

. . . put the slip stitch on the hook with the continuing colour (light green) . . .

 and pull through.  Make it snug by pulling the continuing colour yarn gently.

Carrying unworked yarn and weaving in ends

Below, I am about to start the new row.  As you can see, there are a number of threads to 'weave in'.  The cream working yarn is pulled out to the back, and there are three other strands laid over the work - the cream end, the dark green end, and the light green I need to 'carry' until I am ready to use it.

'Weaving in' is not complicated - you just lay the unworked yarn and ends over the top of the work, and work the working colour over the top of them.

Gently pull the work snug when you have finished the worked colour.  This hides the carried yarn and ends.

Now drop the yarn you have been working (cream)

Pick up the next colour to be worked (light green) and crochet the next stitches over the remaining ends and the cream yarn you were just working.  

Continue crocheting in this way, following the pattern, until you have crocheted over all of your ends.(At the stage illustrated below, I tend to push the last bits of the ends to the back for careful snipping at the end).   

Continue crocheting over the carried yarn to the end of the row.  

This method of 'weaving in' is practical, invisible, and saves many hours of actual weaving in at the end.  

Hint: To stop getting the yarn twisted as you work, you may find it helpful to always pick up one colour at the front and the other at the back.  

Finishing the row

At the end of the row, complete the final stitch then pull both colours onto your hook at once. 

Cut the non-continuing yarn (cream in this case), leaving a tail about 8-10 cm (4-6 inches) long.  Remove your hook from both loops and separate them.  Putting your hook into the non-continuing loop, pull the cut end through completely and tighten gently to secure.  

Put your hook back into the continuing colour loop, and turn your work.  The picture below shows the cream yarn secured and the hook in the light green yarn ready for turning.

Joining new colour - second joining method

Use this joining method if you will be using the continuing colour first on your new row (if not, see 'Joining new colour - first joining method' set out above).  

Although you won't be needing the new colour straight away, you must join it at the beginning of the row and 'carry' it until needed.  This saves a messy join mid-row and unnecessary weaving in later.

Finish the row and turn as described above.  You should have the continuing colour on your hook.

Now take the end of the new colour - in this case, dark green yarn - and using your hook, pull about 
8-10 cm (4-6 inches) completely through the loop.  Put your hook back in your continuing colour loop, and arrange the end of the dark green and the ball-end of the dark green so that they are sitting across the top of the work, ready to be woven in with the end of the previous row's cut yarn.  

Begin the row with the continuing colour as normal, but remembering to work over all the ends and the dark green.  Pull the carried yarn and ends gently to make the work snug. 

Continue as above, working over the ends and the carried yarn as before.  The picture below shows where I have started to use the new joined colour, which was joined at the start of the row and carried.

If you do the above, you will have a lovely reversible rug with no 'wrong side'.  Enjoy working your gingham!  

All are welcome to use this guide - just attribute to my blog if sharing - thank you!


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