Finishes for Finish Free Knits

I just have to get this off my chest. It has been eating at me for far too long. Despite the book’s title, the seamless projects in Finish-Free Knits do actually require some finishing. In fact, every single project in Kristen TenDyke’s book has a subheading in the pattern that says “Finishing.”

I feel so much better now.

What finish-free knitting means in this context is that no assembly is required when making these projects. You won’t be mattress stitching side seams, trying to line up the hem and armholes just so, and you won’t be trying to seam in finished sleeves, either. Nope, neither of those tasks is found here; the type of finishing you’ll be doing is a bit less intimidating.


One of the first finishes you encounter in Finish-Free Knits is the instruction to “Weave in loose ends. Block to measurements.” This is a key part of finishing, because weaving in ends prior to blocking helps secure the ends in place. You should wait to trim the ends you’ve woven in until after blocking if you’re finishing a lace piece, though. When the lace opens during blocking, the end might pop out of the spot it’s woven into; waiting to trim the end lets you be sure it’s properly hidden. Just remember: weave, block, then trim.

The goal of blocking your finished garment is to relax the yarn, even out the stitches, and adjust the sizing. There are a variety of blocking techniques to choose from when your garment is complete. Whichever method you select, rest assured it’s worth the (drying) wait. As Tanis Gray says, blocking “takes your project from homemade to handmade.”


Many finish-free projects avoid seaming with the clever use of strategically placed buttons. Not only do these buttons keep you from seaming, but they can add a beautiful detail to a piece, too. In some cases, during finishing you’ll be picking up stitches for a buttonband and the buttonhole band as well. In those projects, simply line up the buttons with the buttonholes on the buttonband and stitch them in place.



Sometimes a tiny bit of seaming can’t be avoided, but in Finish-Free Knits, rather than joining two finished edges to create a traditional seam, you’ll bind off the stitches together using three-needle bind-off. Here’s how it’s done:

Place the stitches to be joined onto two separate needles and hold the needles parallel so that the right sides of the knitting face each other. Insert a third needle into the first stitch on each side of two needles (FIGURE 1) and knit them together as one stitch (FIGURE 2), *knit the next stitch on each needle the same way, then use the left needle tip to lift the first stitch over the second and off the needle (FIGURE 3). Repeat from *until no stitches remain on first two needles. Cut yarn and pull tail through last stitch to secure.



Raw edges on some necklines and armholes require extra attention to give them a professional finish. In many cases, to finish these elements you’ll pick up a set number of stitches and work in a pattern noted in the project instructions, such as ribbing, garter stitch, or picot edging. This results in a clean look that polishes off the finished garment.


Stitches are picked up along the neckline and armholes of the Harmony Dress (left) and finished with garter stitch ridges. The Serenity Shrug (right) features a picot edge detail.

Beyond these basic finishes, seamless knitting requires very little work once you bind-off. Do you have a favorite seamless project from Interweave? Share it with us in the comments and tell us about the finishing you did.

—Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books

For more great finishing techniques, check out these must-have resources!



  1. Luanne R at 8:31 am August 7, 2017

    I really object to the characterization of a three-needle bind-off as something other than a finishing technique. It is tricky, in particular working at not getting it too tight. It is at least as difficult and has as many steps as binding off and overcast seaming two pieces. Also, it creates a heavy, ropy, rigid seam that, to my way of thinking, is not attractive, especially on shoulder seams where it is used most often. Just because it is technically “knitting” does not mean it is preferable to seaming! Overcast seaming, done properly (i.e., not tight), lies flat, which a three-needle bind-off does not, and has an attractive look on the outside if done evenly. Thanks for listening.

  2. Barbara G at 10:53 am August 8, 2017

    I will ALWAYS choose the 3-needle bind-off to finish my shoulders. Even if the instructions say, bind off and sew the seams, I will put them on a stitch holder and do the 3-needle. My experience has been that the seams lays flat and looks great on the outside.
    So based on Luanne’s comment, it proves there’s no one way to do things – as long as you like how it looks.

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