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Loose Ends Are Not the End

Updated: Mar 20

Cold weather! You can finally wear your favorite sweaters. Or perhaps you're getting ready for that special event (probably over Zoom this year), and you don one of your favorite sweaters. Excited, thinking of the evening ahead as you look in the mirror, and... What is that piece of yarn sticking up? No, this can't be falling apart already, can it?

Unless you've had mice, no, probably not. It happens occasionally, especially with hand-knitted or crocheted sweaters where ends were woven in manually instead of sewn into a seam and cut like fabric, that sometimes the tails work their way out into the light of day.

Don't toss your sweater! This is a super easy fix. All you need is a needle with a large eye (a yarn needle or even a big-eye beading needle), or a crochet hook, or even just a paperclip. This is even easier than sewing on a button!

Fixing your sweater with a needle

Chances are that if it's just a short tail of yarn, you won't be able to thread the needle beforehand, but you can thread the tip of your needle under yarns in the back of the sweater (or sock, as shown to the left).

If you do this diagonally through threads, as shown in the first picture above, there is a lower chance that stretching the sweater will pull the tail out again. Even pulling the tail to the inside of the sweater means that it won't show when you're wearing it and will be nice and safe on the inside.

Fixing your sweater with a crochet hook

This is a nice, quick fix as well. All you need to do is grab a small crochet hook and fish the yarn end to the inside of the sweater. If it's a longer tail, like at a collar or cuff, you can also use the hook to pull the tail through a stitch on the inside to secure it a little better. Easy peasy.

Fixing your sweater with a paper clip (or other wire)

Clippy to the rescue!

Seriously, though, if you are at the office or you just don't own a needle or a crochet hook, no problem! Grab a paper clip, a twist tie (like I'm using in this picture), a bobby pin, or any other wire that can be bent, and use it just like the crochet hook above. No special skills needed. And your lovely sweater is back to looking its best!

Bonus: Pilling and lint

Some of my favorite old wool sweaters often get pills in areas where there is a lot of rubbing. For me, this is under the arms and down the hips. This happens when short fibers shed from the sweater and join up with other short fibers and make little felted balls.

But you can shave those! Back in the 80s, we had little battery-powered sweater shavers that were made to deal with these. I don't know if they still make those, but there is no need to spend money on those! You can simply use a disposable razor.

Gently glide the razor along the area of balls on the sweater. You don't want to press too stiffly, or you may cut the actual sweater. The little balls should catch, and the razor will cut the individual fibers holding them to the sweater. Once you're finished, voilà! Your sweater looks clean and new again.

Did this help you save a treasured fibery item? Let me know in the comments!


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