How To Maintain Dreadlocks With A Crochet Needle
When it comes to dreadlocks, many people want for them to look perfect but don't want to keep paying for a professional to maintain them or want to be able to keep them looking neat in between visits to have them done. Whilst the idea of crocheting your dreadlocks may sound complicated or you may think that you need prior skills within the craft, this is not the case. Crocheting dreadlocks is one of the easiest ways to keep their form and you can do so as often as you feel is necessary to gain the level of perfection that you are looking for with your dreadlocks. If you do not have a crochet needle already then you can find them in all good craft stores and they are not too pricey. Personally, I use needles between 1.75 and 2.0mm, but you can buy a selection and see which one you find works best. You may want to find a sturdy metal crochet needle, since weaker materials tend to bend on the handle as you are working with them and will eventually break.
Using The Crochet Needle
Select a dreadlock and find a section which needs some work doing to it (it is better not to do the top of your dreads at this stage, just until you have gotten the hang of the technique). Find where there is a loop or a tuft of hair sticking out of the dread and push your crochet needle through you dreadlock around this point. Once you have done this you can simply grab the hair within the hook of the needle and pull it back through. A way that I find works much better, however, is to gather the loose hairs and to twist them around the end of the crochet needle that is pushed through the dreadlock. Once you have done this, pull the needle out gently through the other side.
When you pull the needle through the loose hair will go with it. For shorter loops or tufts of hair this will mean that they will be pulled inside the dreadlock and will therefore not be seen any more, making the dread neater. For longer loose hairs, however, you will find that you have actually pulled them through to the other side of the dread. Don't fret - this doesn't mean that you've done it wrong, this just means that the hair is long enough to pass through the entire width of the dread. To continue neatening simply push the crochet needle in through the opposite direction and repeat the twisting of the hair around the needle, pulling it through the other side again, until it is completely tucked away.
Making Sure That You Don't Damage Your Dreadlocks
When hair is wet it can stretch to three times its natural length. This means that if you crochet your dreadlocks within a few days after they have been washed then you risk damaging them, since the hair may stretch as you pull it and then snap when shrinking back to its natural length. Snapping the hair may lead to your dreadlocks breaking, or even falling out, so it is important to ensure that they are fully dry to the centre before crocheting them.
Similarly, you do not want to be snapping the hair whilst you are doing the crocheting. You should be able to hear a loud snapping sound if this is the case, as well as possibly finding snapped ends in the hook of your crochet needle. If this is happening to you then try not to pull the needle through the hair with so much force and see whether being gentle stops the snapping from happening. You may also find that the hook of the needle that you are using is causing this to happen, in which case you will need to buy a new crochet needle in order to avoid damaging your dreadlocks.