Finishing touches

For me, the easy part of a project is getting started.

I love to pour over patterns, scribble notes in my collection of Moleskine notebooks, and choose the yarns that I will work with.

However, what truly distinguishes a superior project from a darn good one is the finishing touches.

In many written directions the elements required to correctly finish a project get short shrift.

An example of this the finishing directions for the Granny Square Sampler Afghan in Better Homes and Gardens Crocheting & Knitting.

While there are four pages of directions devoted to how to make the squares for the granny square afghan, the directions as to how to finish the piece reads as follows: Afghan assembly — following diagram on pages 88-89, whip stitch center motifs together first. Note: if squares do not fit as desired simply add another row of dc.

This is followed by directions for a border around the central squares, then the following:whip stitch the rest of the squares according to the diagram in the same manner.

While in one sense the directions are elegant in their simplicity, they are not accurate, and it is up the crocheter to figure out just exactly how the project will be finished.

I think the paucity of good directions for how to finish a project is, in part, due to the fact that finishing a project tends to be, in its own way, very personal, and it can be difficult, awkward, and lengthy to describe the process one goes through to finish a piece.

Another challenge faced when finishing a crochet project is that sometimes a good finish requires crafting skills that are not, technically, crochet.

Such was the case with my recently completed “taco wallet.”

Once I had the elements of the crocheted taco made, I needed to do the following: weave in ends, insert a zipper, and use a whip stitch to join edges and seams to complete and secure the shape.

While I am proficient at the art of weaving in ends, and dogged enough to be able do and undo whip stitching as needed to get the look I want, inserting zippers was another matter entirely.

While I have an extensive collection of crochet books both new and vintage, until I encountered Ms. Barnden’s book, Super Finishing Techniques for Crocheters, I I had yet to come across directions that were able to take the experience and skills of the author and through text and photos, successfully transmit that knowledge to me:

finishing techniques crochet book
Betty Barnden’s truly super finishing techniques for crocheters

I am happy to report that Ms. Barnden was able to break through my resistance to both sewing and zipper insertion and with the help of the instructions in her book, I was able to successful put a zipper into the taco wallet:

zippered crochet taco wallet
A zippered crochet taco wallet

Because of the construction of the wallet, made necessary by the shape of a taco, inserting the zipper was, of necessity, awkward, but with Ms. Branden’s truly Super Finishing Techniques for Crocheters at my side, I got the zipper in on the first try.