Knitting Techniques: How to weave in ends

"Weave in ends." This instruction is in every knitting pattern, but do you know how to do it properly, so that the ends won't show in the right side of the knitting, and those pesky cut ends don't poke through to the front?

I'm here to show you how to weave in ends expertly, every time. There are three knitting techniques I use to secure ends: the simple diagonal weave, knitting in ends, and serging. I use the diagonal weave most often; here's how I do it.

Weave In Ends - Figure 1    Weave In Ends - Figure 2
Figure 1 Figure 2
Thread the tail onto a tapestry needle and thread the needle diagonally through reverse stockinette stitch, or whatever your wrong side stitch pattern is (Figure 1). Go through at least an inch of stitches. It's important to pick up stitches diagonally; this makes your weave invisible on the front of your work.

Change direction and go through about an inch of stitches in the reverse direction (Figure 2). Trim the tail to 1/4" or a little more.

Finally, use the tip of your tapestry needle to fray the end of the yarn (see Figure 2). This will hold the yarn tip to the back of the work.

After I've done all the the steps above, I stretch the area with the weave, just a little. This ensures that the tail isn't woven too tightly. If it is, you'll have a pucker on the right side of your work.

I always weave my ends in before blocking. Blocking locks those ends in place and they're less likely to want to make an appearance on the right side of your garment!

Knitting in ends is another way to hide your tails. I use this method when I'm knitting stripes that are several rows wide (too many rows to carry the yarn up the side).

Knitting in Ends

This is a nifty way to work in ends as you knit striped projects, or when you join a new ball of yarn.

Work In Ends - Figure 1    Work In Ends - Figure 2
Insert the needle tip into the next stitch on the left-hand needle, place the old color over the right needle (Figure 1; old color is dark), knit the stitch with the new color as usual, then lower the old color (Figure 2) and knit the following stitch as usual.

Continue in this manner, repeating steps 1 and 2 and then knitting one stitch normally, for about and inch and a half to two inches. Cut the old color, leaving an inch or so of tail. After blocking, you can trim the tails to a half-inch.

Note: This method works best on small-gauge yarns. It tends to elongate the stitches a bit in stockinette, so it's best used with fingering- through DK-weight yarn.

The Serger: This is actually my favorite way to deal with lots of ends on striped projects. I run my pieces through the serger (sewing machine that sews and interlocking stitch and cuts the edges at the same time), placing the needles on the selvedge stitch on the right side of work, with the ends sticking out to the side. Then I serge the edge. What you end up with is an edge that's seamed with an interlocking stitch, which traps the cut off ends of the tails. It's really nifty, although I won't say I wasn't nervous the first time I did it!

Weaving in ends is one of the few skills you'll need after you watch from Kristen TenDyke's video workshop, Finish-Free Knitting Techniques. Check it out today!


P.S. Do you have a weaving tip to share? Leave a comment and share it with us!

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