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Amy Solovay

Tying Knots — Your Opinions, and a Poll

By October 29, 2010

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Jessica says,

"Can someone please explain why everyone says I'm not supposed to tie knots in my crochet? I tie knots all the time, and my projects turn out fine. What am I missing?"

Fascinating question, Jessica. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'll give you my opinion.

When I was a kid, I used to tie knots in all my projects too. I didn't know any better. I was taught how to crochet, but wasn't taught many of the finer points, like how to change colors correctly. I figured many things out on my own.

When I was sixteen years old, I taught myself to knit using library books. The second knitting project I attempted was a multicolored fair isle shawl. I tied zillions of knots in that shawl. While I was knitting it, it didn't occur to me that the knots would all a) be visible on the back of the work, and b) be uncomfortable when I wore the shawl. I learned several important lessons there. After that experience, I vowed to break the knot-tying habit -- and I did.

So that's my story. I no longer tie knots, and I am happier with my work that way.

When I was a kid, I used to think that tying knots gave my project extra security. Nowadays, I prefer to leave extra-long tails of yarn, and I weave in the whole piece, or close to it. I cut off very little.

I'm sure Jessica isn't the only one who is curious about the reasoning behind the no knot-tying rule. Anyone else want to share their experiences?

While we're at it, let's do an anonymous poll. Spill it -- do you tie knots in your crochet?

Comments

October 29, 2010 at 12:11 pm
(1) LizM says:

Knot it, knot it, knot it!

With time , planning, and careful knotting the knots with be neither seen or felt in a finished piece. I still leave long tails that I weave into the piece rather intricately as this helps ensure the knot stays where I want it to stay and no yarn ends are ever visible.

October 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm
(2) Tammy says:

Like you, I used to knot before I knew better. The pieces turn out so much better when you don’t knot! No lumps!

October 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm
(3) Potter Beth says:

For me, it depends on what I’m doing. I use crocheted elements in some of my sculptural work, so I knot those. I do *not* want shipping and handling to make joins slip, even a little bit, and I’m usually using embroidery floss which is more slippery. Like Liz, I also leave tails and weave them in, too.

When crocheting wearables, I usually join without knots and (since the first few times long ago) have never had a problem even with projects that have gone through the wash multiple times.

October 31, 2010 at 1:01 pm
(4) Amy Solovay - Crochet Guide says:

Thanks so much to everyone who has taken the poll so far. I must confess that I am surprised at how many “knotters” are among us. Interesting!

Also, thanks for the comments, Liz, Tammy & Beth. I really appreciate the insights.

October 31, 2010 at 3:30 pm
(5) LizM says:

It is funny Amy but I get so much animosity from random crocheters over knots when I meet someone while crocheting in public. I’ve seen pieces knotted very badly before and I can only guess that is where the animosity comes from. Personally, with most anything I make I’d dare someone to be able to find one of my knots. Most of the time even I can’t find them after I’ve put the piece down for more than 5 minutes.

November 1, 2010 at 6:57 am
(6) Kate says:

It depends what I’m working on and with what yarn or thread. Like Liz, I am quite adept at hiding knots. Something that I find particularly frustrating is when I find there are knots in the yarn I am using – not a rare occurrence by any means.

November 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm
(7) Peggy says:

I never knot when crocheting. Knotted ends can come out, particularly when cut too short. All ends should be 6 inches long and then weaved into your work.

November 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm
(8) Barbara says:

I have tied knots for most all my projects, and I too, seem to hide them well. But I have recently discovered the “Russian Join” method and am seriously liking not having to weave in all those ends in the 2 colored baby blanket I am currently making!
But I agree with Kate and the frustration of finding tied ends in the middle of a ball of yarn. I would always re-cut and re-tie, just to be sure they wouldn’t unravel.

November 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm
(9) Shellie says:

Like Kate, it depends on what I’m using. Regular worsted weight yarn never looks good if I leave a knot. I usually attach the next skein (section of yarn) like I would add a new color. However, if I’m using an eyelash yarn, I just tie the new piece on with a knot. I’ve found that the eyelash tends to “hide” the join. :)

November 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm
(10) Angela says:

I used to tie nots in everything. Then I was told it was BAD, so I stopped. Then I made an afghan for my daughter. I adapted a cross stitch pattern of Dumbo into a single stitch afghan where each stitch on the cross stitch pattern equaled one single. I dropped and picked up colors without knotting. the finished afghan was about 200 stitches across and 300 rows in length and looked gorgeous on her queen size bed. Then I washed it and the yarn became much softer and more slippery. She woke up one morning to discover that her foot had made a nice sized hole in it where some of the colors were dropped and picked up. I couldn’t fix it. We were both heart broken. Now I don’t know if I didn’t leave a long enough tail or if I didn’t use a small enough needle (I usually use an I for worsted weight yarn), but I’m not taking any more chances. I’ve gone back to knotting.

November 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm
(11) Debbie J says:

I don’t ever tie knots. If you enter contests, you will probably not win any placement if there are knots in your work. From previous experience, judges prefer no knots.

November 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm
(12) Barbara in Fl says:

Knots can poke their way to the surface and spoil the lovely look of your work. I tie a single knot while thework is inprogress and then weave the ends in two directions when the work is finished. This way the ends are stable while I’m still crocheting, but they never come loose when it’s in use. I once tied a knot and weeks later found it had come loose and raveled undone in the middle of the sweater!

November 1, 2010 at 5:26 pm
(13) Angela says:

I tie knots in all my afghans and have never really had a problem. I think it would be a little more difficult to hide knots effectively in clothing, because, as stated earlier, the knots can rub against skin, making it uncomfortable. I think the key, whether you tie knots or not, is to make the ends long enough to really weave, weave, weave into the project. I think we tend not to want to “waste” yarn by leaving long ends to weave in, but it ends up being better in the long run. If at all possible, I’ll do my knots at the end of rows or rounds and leave long tails to weave in. When changing colors often, I don’t knot, because it’s just too ugly.

November 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm
(14) Jeanie says:

TYING KNOTS IS JUST A BAD IDEA. NOT ONLY DOES IT MAKE A BUMP IN YOUR WORK WHERE A BUMP SHOULDN’T BE, BUT EVENTUALLY AFTER WEAR AND WASHINGS ON YOUR PROJECT, THE KNOT WILL EVENTUALLY COME UNDONE. IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT TO WEAVE IN YOUR THREADS. I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO WEAVE IN WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED IN CASE YOU NEED TO UNRAVEL FOR ERRORS.

November 1, 2010 at 5:46 pm
(15) jean220 says:

I havent tied knots in my crochet projects in years, But I am making an another afghan for my son and I know that he will be yanking and pulling it, trying to cover up his 6`4″ frame, so I am weaving in the yarn tail, and tying a very tiny knot hoping that it will secure it more.

November 1, 2010 at 6:04 pm
(16) DonnaB says:

I make knots, but not big honkin’ knots – just one double knot, at the end of the row, if I can. I leave long ends and I work them in – I’m a belt AND suspenders crocheter. And, yes, I’ve had the experience where I’ve followed the rules, left out the knots and woven the ends and then had the nice afghan unravel – no more!!

November 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm
(17) Marilyn S. says:

Instead of knotting, you weave in the ends! You can’t just leave them hanging—a lesson learned the hard way.

November 1, 2010 at 6:09 pm
(18) Marilyn S. says:

I hate to use this kind of logic (logic?), but if you wove in ends and they came out, you didn’t do it properly! I learned how to do it properly on crochetpartners (now a yahoo group) and never looked back :-)

November 1, 2010 at 6:11 pm
(19) Marilyn S. says:

My comment #18 was in response to #10 ;-)

November 1, 2010 at 7:15 pm
(20) Linda Rohland says:

I always tie knots on my crochet and knitting…..when i did weave them in, my niece called me and said that the “strings” were on the outside when she washed them….i told her this was natural on handmade items and just to tuck them back in !!!! Weaving them in does not keep them from coming out;
what am i doing wrong ?

November 1, 2010 at 7:26 pm
(21) BillG says:

I have been crocheting for a number of years and have made afghans, blankets, mittens, hats, scarves, slippers, a vest and a sweater and never have I used a knot. Even when I run across a knot in a skein of yarn, I either untie it or cut it out.

I learned to crochet from friends and books and never learned to knot in a way that would appeal to me.

November 1, 2010 at 7:26 pm
(22) Deb says:

I sew my ends down into the project with thread that matches the yarn. I make sure you can’t see the tiny little stitches I put in but I know the ends will be secured through wear & tear.

November 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm
(23) april smith says:

I did knot in the beginning, but I did a granny afgan and after two years every center of every square of the blanket came undone so now I do the pick up and it turns out much better, I dont have to worry that it will come out in the wash.

November 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm
(24) Jean M says:

If I tie a knot I am tempted to cut the yarn close to it. Then it may come apart when I wash it. I could leave long ends when I tie a knot, then weave in the ends. But now I have a bump in the fabric. I prefer to tie a loose knot, then when I am finished, pick it apart and weave in each end. That way no one will ever know I had to join yarn, it will all be smooth.

November 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm
(25) Ramona Zeiler says:

I tie knots on every crochet piece. When my 3 year old son was napping he untied many of my knots in a granny square quilt, so when ever I do a piece for a small child I tie my knots twice. My son and daughter-in-law received a throw for their wedding. After washing it we had to go back and retie the throw. Yes, I leave long tails, that I hide.

November 1, 2010 at 8:30 pm
(26) BJ Strickland says:

Absolutely I knot! I agree with other posters – I use knots carefully and weave in long enough tails that they don’t come out or make a bump. I’ve crocheted for over 40 years. Even when I know where I put a knot, there are lots of times when I just can’t find it! I also use a type of sailor’s knot that I learned from a book of knots many years ago. Very secure, small bump. I’m happy and so is the wearer/user of the item.

November 1, 2010 at 8:46 pm
(27) Melanie Morton says:

This is another “personal preference” thing. If the material is thin and I’m concerned about slippage or hiding the ends, then I may tie a knot. If the material is thick and I feel comfortable that I’ve “hidden” the ends well, then no knots!

November 1, 2010 at 8:57 pm
(28) Martie says:

I never knot but instead weave in long ends making sure to double back so it stays secure. A technique I learned years after being taught to crochet. No problems now!

And yes, people are very passionate about ‘their way’ being the correct way. :)

November 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm
(29) Joanna says:

I’ve had a problem with granny square quilts coming apart when I have not used knots. I’ve followed the suggestions of using a crochet sewing needle to bring the yarn forward and then back, and it’s supposed to hold. I find that it doesn’t, especially in a much used quilt. So, I tie knots. Then can’t be seen, and they hold.

November 2, 2010 at 7:49 pm
(30) shelly says:

I belong to a knit/crochet group that donates all our work to charity and this is what they recommend. Please do not use knots.Instead use 6″ tails woven in to the item. It appears that after laundering, the knots make the yarn weak. It becomes a stress point and eventually it breaks and unravels. Many of our blankets and shawls are for chemo patients, hospice, and nursing homes where they are laundered frequently.Hope this helps you decide.

November 2, 2010 at 7:56 pm
(31) Robyn says:

I never used to tie knots but now the bought yarns often have a knot in the ball so I figure if it is good enough to PAY for knots I can make them too! I hate it when things unravel …. new clothes with buttons that have to be stitched on immediately etc… So knots are a crafty gals best friend I reckon!

November 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm
(32) Stella says:

I use knots in my crochet pieces sometimes. I, too leave a 6″ tail that I crochet into my piece. “ToKnot or not to knot” is a personal preference.

November 6, 2010 at 8:59 am
(33) Sue A says:

When joining yarns, I always tie a square knot, leaving at least 4″ tails. Square knots (Right side over left, then left side over right) do not come undone and can be pulled tight enough not to make a lump in the fabric. I weave in the ends using a very random weave.

November 6, 2010 at 11:20 pm
(34) kate says:

I always knot, my items turn out beautiful. You just have to hide them well. I tried the weave method ,but my project ended up falling apart. If I take the time to crochet something I want it hold up a long time. Kate

November 8, 2010 at 1:02 am
(35) Gertrude Carter says:

I tie knots because I just started learning to crochet. On some points I am using the try-it out method. I have a crochet advisor who checks my work, gives me pointers,and
sometimes makes me unravel(: ( ),but it’s all worth it.

January 24, 2011 at 11:54 am
(36) Jeannie says:

I think it’s silly to be so uppidy about whether or not someone ties a knot in their craft. Does the craft look pretty, did you enjoy making it, did the person receiving it, love it? If yes, then regardless of whether or not you KNOT it’s a success.

PS – I knot.

January 25, 2011 at 9:34 am
(37) Amy Solovay - Crochet Guide says:

Thanks for all the great comments, everyone. All these insights are so helpful and interesting.

Sue, thanks for the info about square knots.

Good points, Jeannie. There are no “crochet police,” and I agree with you that success is in the eye of the beholder.

October 17, 2011 at 10:15 pm
(38) Emily says:

Hi Everyone,
I’m just learning to crochet and am a week into my first project. I had no idea you weren’t supposed to tie knots and have already tied three :( They look terrible and I did not leave long ends (one or two inches)… is there any possible way to hide them? Anything at all???

October 4, 2013 at 8:06 am
(39) Donna Clements says:

I learned how to knit in 4H when I was 15. Obviously, I learned only the basics, and what I know today, I have taught myself through magazines, and obviously again, that really only took me so far, which is not very far at all, since I have yet to try short row, fair isle, and bobbin knitting! I have never had troubles with weaving in when it comes to KNITTING my fabrics. The trouble comes in when I am color changing and when finishing off int the middle of a row because my skein ran out, or when doing medallions, even when I am NOT doing a color change. I never used to have things come undone in the wash. I used to be a really good artisan. But then, due to raising 4 children as a single parent, I let my needlework fall by the wayside and, after, geez, 30+ years, I picked it back up, and now I’ve had some of my work come undone in the wash. That sucked as I had tons of hours into that piece. I can only hope the other garments I gave away as gifts has held up! So grateful I found this page!

November 25, 2013 at 11:19 pm
(40) Amy Solovay - Crochet Guide says:

I just wanted to update with another comment here, because I’m still getting bunches of emails from people who find this poll and want to know how to weave in their ends securely. Here’s a link I recommend on this topic:

How to Weave in Ends (Plus Info on How to Avoid Having to Weave in Ends.)

Like I mentioned above, I don’t tie knots in my own work. But my opinion is, if you are going to tie knots, the thing to do is to tie the knot but still leave a long enough tail to weave your end in, and then weave it in securely. That way, you’ll have a lot of extra security, and hopefully the knot has a lot less chance of failing, because it won’t have as much stress on it as it would have if you just leave a short tail and cut the yarn close to the knot.

Hope the links and the additional info prove to be helpful!

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