19 April 2012

Trimming Yarn Extensions to Look More Even

Yay, I finally got a chance to edit this photos! Now I can share how we trim our yarn extensions to give them a more even look. This step is not absolutely necessary, but I've had several people ask about how I get the yarn all the same length on the ends, so I thought I'd do a bit of an explanation. I'm sure others have different methods for doing this, but this is what works best for us.

First off, I always do the extensions longer than what we're going to use. For these extensions I cut the yarn really long, and then did the twists about two inches past the final desired length. In this case, my plan was to knot the twists at the same length as her natural hair. I began by doing my first twist at the nape of the neck, which happens to be the area where her hair stretches the longest. I did my yarn twist, making certain that I extended the twist with yarn-only two inches past the length of her hair. Two inches usually gives me enough wiggle room to make trimming adjustments without cutting into her actual hair. Then I make sure that all subsequent twists are at least as long as the first twist, even if her hair is finished much earlier in the twist.

A little side-story on the photo above: Do you have a little girl who wishes she had really long straight hair (like Rapunzel long)? Well, letting Boo deal with this length for just one day (the day I actually put them in) pretty much cured her of that desire. She had problems with sitting on her "hair," zipping it up in her pants, going to the bathroom, pretty much every normal thing she regularly does. By the end of the day (when we trimmed them) she told me she never, ever wants really long hair again! [Please note: Do not let your child run around with hair this long unless you can be absolutely certain that she will not be pulling out a plug; it is very easy to do because they are not used to the length. Pulling out a plug can cause scaring and permanent hair loss. Boo only moved about with the yarn long and loose like this while being carefully supervised during breaks, to eat, and to use the restroom. The hair was braided into a large braid and pineappled atop her head for the periods of play during her breaks.]

Alrighty, back to the instructions. After all of the yarn extensions are completed, I trimmed the excess non-twisted yarn, just to get it out of my way.

I then found my original "longest hair" twist (it helps if you mark this when you're first putting them in so you don't have to weed through all of them trying to figure it out). I just put a loose, bright-coloured terrycloth pony O right above the knot.

I then go through and tie off knots that line up with the knot on the marked strand. This works just as well if you're planning on putting in beads. The knots are flexible and can be retied before committing to cutting, so I will tie them all and then go back and retie a few and make adjustments as needed.

Then I trim all of the yarn off right below the knots for an even look.

To make sure that the hair falls at an equal length next to her face as it does in the back, I do some sideways trimming. When all of the extensions are gathered in the back, the sides will be slightly shorter and form a small U pattern.

Before cutting the opposite side, I line up the bangs to make sure that they're even on both sides of her face, and then work my way toward the back again.

It's not necessarily the way the way that I would trim straight hair, but the pre-tying of the knots really takes all the guess-work out of the trimming. Once all of the hair is trimmed, you can finish the ends however you like.

We chose to leave the knots in, however, now that the hair is all the same length we could just as easily have added beads and they would have all lined up. We will not be adding them this time around because I trimmed the extensions all the way up to her natural hair and I like to avoid using rubber bands on her natural hair (I prefer the yarn to take the brunt of them).

So there you go. Again, this is absolutely not necessary and if you're pressed for time (as putting yarn extensions in is a long process) it can easily be skipped. But if you want to take some time a day or two after you put them in to even them out, this is a great way to do it. It does add a few extra steps, but overall leaves a more finished look.