My health is preventing me from working at the moment, so I'd like to use my time to help sick kids feel better, not with pills, but with crochet. Follow my journey on my blog ~

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tutorial: Braided tails that won't come loose

This is probably going to be my simplest tutorial yet - crafters rejoice, because it could be for knit OR crochet projects! Woohoo!

Here we have a fine example of a polyester-puffed pachyderm.  

Let's rewind a bit.

Here are the pre-assembled pieces.  The legs are the important part.  Before assembling your critter, make sure each leg has a long tail attached.

If you prefer to sew your animal together with separate threads, use a separate piece of yarn to sew each leg on.  Trust me, this is important.  These four yarn ends will eventually become the magically anchored tail!

When your animal has its limbs attached, use your hook or yarn needle to pull the tail ends of yarn through the "back end" as seen in this photo.  Make sure they all come through the same place.  In this tutorial, I needed extra yarn to sew one of the legs, so I had to make do with only three.

Ideally, you use the shortest length to tightly wrap at the base of the tail, so the other three pieces of yarn are pulled snugly through.  This will stop the braid from being pulled back into the body.  Once you've wrapped the yarn, simply tie a knot at the base of the tail (try to keep it underneath so it doesn't show) and tuck the yarn end back inside the body.  (If you end up with three pieces, skip this step).

Braid the three remaining pieces of yarn.  At the base of the braid, use the longest remaining thread to wind tightly at the bottom, this will keep the braid from coming unraveled.  Tie a tight knot on top of the wrapping.  Using a yarn needle or your hook, carefully weave the end of this thread back up through the braid, and pull it into the body so the end is hidden.  This keeps the braid extra secure.  Fray if desired.

If the third yarn end is too short to weave back through, that's okay - a knot really should hold pretty well.  It sometimes makes one of the three strands stick out a bit, as you can see in the photo on the left, but it's not obvious unless you're looking for it. :)

Notice that if you leave a long tail at the end of each leg for this purpose, you don't have to go back and weave in any ends later - just make your tail and you're done! This is also much easier than making a chain stitch tail, which can look awkward and be tricky to sew in place securely.  Bonus, it holds the legs on tightly and you don't have to worry about them getting loose or falling off.

To make a thicker tail or to make one without using yarn ends, cut six (or nine, or any multiple of three) lengths of yarn in the desired color and at the desired length.  Use your hook to pull them through two stitches that are centered on the back of the body.  Separate into sets of three, braid, and tie off as described above.

Please let me know if you have any questions or anything is unclear with this tutorial, I'd be happy to help!  My Google+ comments for my blog seem to be broken, but I do receive e-mails if you comment, and I'll respond by e-mail and fix anything that needs to be edited.  Thanks!!


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