One of the most important parts of crochet—yet the most overlooked part—is finishing off, or rather learning to weave in the ends. When my Nonna taught me to crochet way back in 1974, there were two things she told me that continue to reverberate in my head:
1) The back of the piece must look as good as the front, even if no one else is going to see it.
2) Finishing is what makes your piece shine.
She also taught me a foolproof way to weave in ends without the possibility of having them pull out with wear and washing. I have a ripple blanket typical of the 1970s I made when I was 12, and with all the use and washing, the ends are still hidden. They have lasted 40+ years so far.
How I weave in ends
To weave in ends like Nonna taught me, follow these steps:
1) Always end off at the end of a row, no matter how much yarn you have left to complete a portion of the next row. In the round, still, end off at the end of the round. Be sure you have 6 to 8 inches of a tail to use for weaving—no less.
2) Always work up and down through the rows, never across the rows. Working across the rows can cause the fabric to ripple, and the weaving will be very noticeable.
3) Always work on the wrong side of your project.
4) Using a steel needle that is the correct size for your yarn, slip the needle under two strands of yarn; when you get to the third, split the strand. (Yes, you read that right.) Then again, slip under two strands, split the third. Repeat this until you have woven through 1 to 2 inches. (If your yarn has silk or some other slippery fiber, you may want to go farther; 3 to 4 inches is not uncommon.)
5) Pull the tail through tightly, but not so tight to ripple the fabric. Pull the fabric when you are done to smooth out any bumps and further hide the woven tail.
6) Now go back the same way you came using the same slip two, split one technique. When splitting, if you can find it, split the yarn you wove through in step 5 at least twice.
7) Ending at the same place you began with a split, pull the tail through tightly, being sure not to ripple the fabric. Pull the fabric to smooth out and remove bumps and further hide the tail. Give just a gentle tug before you clip the remaining tail off and smooth again to hide the end in the fabric.
Be patient: it takes practice. But when it’s done right, not only will the tail not come out, but you won’t have a huge noticeable bump in your fabric. In fact, no one will know it is there.