When you're just starting out in crochet, some things can seem confusing but really just need a little bit of explaining on the why and how. Turning in crochet can seem perplexing. (Which way? Does it matter?) And fastening off in crochet even more so. Understanding how to turn in crochet and how to fasten off in crochet will help make your time crocheting more efficient, and result in a project that looks professional and consistent.
Here are some helpful tips on turning in crochet and fastening off your work.
Turning in crochet
It may not seem like it matters, but turning in crochet ought to be done consistently each time. That is, you should be turning the same way every time you turn to the next side. The turn creates a neat edge, which is important if you are joining two pieces or seaming garments.
When you reach the edge of your piece, chain one stitch. This is the turning chain. Yes, you can chain after you have turned but it's really much easier and less awkward to do so before. Also, by chaining before you turn it is less likely your chain stitch will get twisted.
You must create a chain stitch before turning in order to elevate your stitches. If you are working a piece in single crochet, you will chain 1 stitch before turning. This single chain represents the height of the single crochet stitches you will work along the next row. If you are working in half-double crochet, chain 2. Double crochet stitches require 3 chain stitches at turning.
Turn your piece from right to left in a clockwise motion. If you are more comfortable turning in a counterclockwise direction, just make sure you are consistent. The turn is going to make a little bump along the side of your work, and again, we're looking for uniformity.
Fastening off in crochet
When you're finally done with your work and ready to fasten off, do not make a chain stitch at the end of your row. Cut your yarn after you've made the last stitch and pull it through. Make it snug, but not overly tight, and weave it back into your work.
By doing this you're ensuring that you're final stitch remains a full stitch. I use to cut the yarn and pull it through the final loop on the hook, but this creates a little knot and doesn't allow you to maintain a clean, finished line along the top edge of your piece.
After fastening off, weave your ends back through your work to hide them. This is done by essentially tracing the stitches with your yarn tail in one direction, and then back in the direction from which you began.
Learning about finishing techniques for many crafts is what will help turn your finished project into something polished and professional looking.
If you're looking to improve your crochet finishing skills, check out Craftsy's Crafty Crochet Embellishments. This class, taught by Linda Permann, is suitable to any skill level. It covers many basic stitches, pattern reading, and other techniques used to begin your project. She also covers finishing techniques, such as weaving in ends and blocking.