Whenever I talk about Free Form Crochet to other crocheters, they all bring up the dread part of yarn work: Tails!
They are correct, there are a lot of tails to contend with when doing Free Form work. I am not terribly fond of weaving in tails myself. Years of working as a designer have taught me some patience with the task.
Way back in the mists of time I remember learning to embroider and my Grandmother telling me that the back of your work should look as neat as the front. Seemed like an impossible task at the time, but it became something I strove for with all my making. Whether I am embroidering, sewing, crocheting or knitting.
I actually find crocheting to be the easiest to create a tidy back to my projects. As a rule the fabric creation has enough body to it that there are always good places to tuck away the tails. When I weave in ends I always pick one side of the project to be the “right” side and look at that side after I’ve woven in my needle to be sure it doesn’t show. I use a bright silver colored needle because it is easy to see a glint of it on the right-side if I’ve woven wrong. I also try to weave my tails in different places on the scrumble so I don’t create a stiff or thick spot.
In Free Form there is also the option of using the tails to sew pieces together. In the scrumble above I wove in all the ends, but left 2 of the longest at the edges to use later when I am joining them to others in my final project.
This photo is the same scrumble from the back after I finished weaving in my ends. This is also the same scrumble that you see from the back in the very first picture.
I was left with quite a pile of tails after I finished the weaving in for all 3 of my little scrumbles. I save these bits to use as stuffing for dimensional projects. When they are wool or mostly wool I also save them as filler for my needle-felting projects, or to use to add color to the outside of those projects.
Other ways I’ve seen Freeformers deal with tails: Tie them together using knots and cut off close to the knot (You want a good tight surgeon’s knot if that is what you chose), or bring the tails to the front of their work and use them as design elements in the finished project.
There really are a lot of choices in Free Form for dealing with tails, they don’t have to be a terror. I hope you will give Free Form a try, for me it is the pinnacle of “Zen” crochet. A bit like coloring with color pencils.