Interweave Yarn Hacks: Avoid Yarn-Tail Knitting

Have you ever accidentally knit with your yarn tail instead of the working yarn you’re supposed to knit with? It happens more often than we’d like to admit! This feels even worse when it happens on the second or third row, all because the tail and the working yarn were close enough together to trick you. It can be super frustrating to have to go back and re-knit that part with the actual working yarn.

Why might a tail be left long after a cast-on? There are a couple reasons. First, some patterns specify that you make sure to have a tail for finishing that will need to happen later, such as seaming. Secondly—and this may be more particular to just a handful of people (like myself!)—sometimes the length estimated for the long-tail cast-on method might be way off, and much too long. I’d rather have a tail that’s too long than get to the last cast-on stitch and run out, so I often purposefully overestimate the length needed. And because I am frugal about yarn, I want to keep that yarn there rather than cut it. In case I have to go back and start over, or I end up unraveling that project in favor of a different one, I don’t want to whittle away at my total yarn amount if it could potentially affect me later!

So, if you are trying to keep your long tail when you start your project, there are a few things you can do to avoid accidentally knitting with that tail, and make sure you knit with your working yarn. The first idea is to use a bread tie! Those little things are handy for some seriously random reasons. To use the bread tie, simply take the end of the yarn tail, put it through the little hole, and wrap the remaining amount of yarn around the tie, essentially rendering it a bobbin. When you get to the end of your yarn length, put the yarn back through that hole, and it will keep the whole thing from unraveling on you.

Secondly, you can do basically the same thing but without the bread tie. Just wrap the yarn around a couple fingers and when you get toward the end of the length, secure it by wrapping your little bundle that you created with the rest of that yarn. It’s super simple!

Do you utilize other methods to make sure you don’t knit with the yarn tail? Let us know, we’d love to hear about it!

Happy Hacking!

The Yarn Hacks Team


Less Mistakes = More Projects!