Tying Up Loose Ends

I am working on a crocheted blanket which will have one hundred and twenty-eight motifs joined together when it is finished. The pattern is stretching my capabilities a little, but so far I have been able to figure it out.

Image from Mary Maxim Tear Drop Throw pattern

Today I realized that, while I enjoy making each motif, I don’t much like the final step which is to weave in the loose ends at the back. Each time the pattern changes colour, I fasten off one yarn and join in another. When I have completed each motif, I have six ends of yarn to tie up and weave in.

I wonder why I don’t take pleasure in this part of the process. It may be because it requires close attention to the threads I am weaving into. Or, it may be cause I have to use a needle instead of a hook. Or, it may be because I have to put the needle down and pick up the scissors each time I cut off an end. Or, it may be because I can’t watch TV and do this at the same time.

Once I started wondering about all this, I thought about the expression “tying up loose ends” and how many uses we have for it. It can be applied to finishing a project, mending or ending a relationship, or attending to details of any kind.

There are all sorts of loose ends that we should tie up and they could be material, legal, or emotional. This month I have tied up loose ends in submitting my tax return, sending condolence cards to bereaved family members, signing condo sale legal documents, packing up items to take to the thrift store, and finishing the reading of a couple of books.

My sister-in-law’s son is currently taking care a lot of the legal and official minutiae that must be attended to with respect to his grandfather’s death. That involves a lot of loose ends, and I am very glad he has taken on that role. I know it is a long process and beset with red tape of many kinds.

Those are the kind of loose ends that no-one likes to think about because they are more nit-picky and frustrating to tie up than the yarn ends on the backs of crochet motifs. They carry an extra burden in that they are fraught with emotions and memories, which makes the process even harder. Added to that, legal language, government rules, and documentation requirements make it a difficult endeavour.

Once the ends are all tied up, though, the feeling of satisfaction is profound. It’s done, and it feels right. From then on, we can choose to only look at the good side. The loose ends are nicely tucked away.


  1. I admire your taking on a big project like this. I’m sure it will look beautiful in the end with all the ends tied away. Somehow it reminded me of a course I took in grad school about interpreting tests like the Rorschach ink blot test and other tests where people were asked to interpret ambiguous pictures. As an aside, the prof, who was an experienced clinician, remarked that whatever the client talked to you about, whether the weather, his garden, her opinion of a movie she had seen, or the news-they were actually talking about themselves. As well, any project you are working on ends up being an expression of your current existential problem. And we all have a current existential problem we are working on. I have thought of this so often over the years, and seen examples of it. What do you think of this idea?

    1. That is interesting, Barb. My purpose in starting this project was simply to keep myself occupied while housebound because of the weather. I really don’t need another blanket! I will have to think about the wider philosophical implications, but at the moment I cannot think of an existential problem that I could be working on. Now you’ve got me wondering.

  2. Ooh,I like your thoughts about tying up loose ends. In the literal part, I sometimes don’t get a knitting or crocheting project done as quickly because of all of the sewing. I have avoided granny squares, because they have to be sewn together. I like your friend Barb’s observations, basically that everything is projective. I am thinking it might not represent an existential problem in that it’s problematic, but an existential step, or a point in a process. It’s fun to consider. I get to consider why I hate tying up loose ends! Fun stuff!
    And quite the pretty project!

    1. I suppose that by the time we reach a good age we all have some loose threads left to resolve in relationships, unspoken words, unresolved conflicts, and so on. Today I was remembering some unkind words that someone said to me 30 years ago and wishing I had said something strong and wise in return, but I didn’t. That kind of loose end never gets resolved.

      1. Yes, lots of loose threads in our lives; some can get tied up, some won’t. Maybe that’s the nice thing about our craft projects; we CAN tie them up!

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