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!

Cheers,

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

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Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

21 thoughts on “Knitting Techniques: How to weave in ends

  1. When knitting a striped garment like a scarf, I change to the new color a few stitches in from the edge, then cut the old color leaving a long tail (about 6 inches), I then start the new color while weaving the old color along the back as you show in the above drawings. I can'[t draw very well, but it leaves ends to be woven in at 2 different point of the knitting a few stitches apart from one another. I found this cuts down on any bulk that may develop along the edge.
    Hopefully this is clear.
    Marion Corron

  2. I usually weave in ends similarly to your first method, but often do it in a straight line across a row; I will try your diagonal technique.

    But the big difference I do: I use a sharp needle for weaving and only pass through about half of the reverse side of the stitches I’m weaving through, which makes it even more invisible on the right side. This is especially important with heavier yarns such as DK or worsted weight.

    I once made a complex striped sweater that had a million ends to weave in at every seam! Intense. I mostly wove them up & down the seams after joining the pieces, and it took forever. I was worried that the resulting seams would be bulky, but because the yarn was fingering weight baby alpaca/silk, it all just disappeared after being lightly steamed. Whew. But having a serger would have saved me hours of work…I will remember that technique.

    Karen Morris

  3. When I’m changing colors on a project I almost always go with duplicate stitch on the back side of the fabric to weave in my ends. If I’m joining a new ball of yarn to my project I typically go with splicing or a Russian join to cut down on the number of ends I need to weave in.

  4. I use the Russian join when ever possible. I feel it gives a clean join with no tails to deal with later in the project. But then, I do mostly lace knitting and weaving in ends just doesn’t work with lace.

  5. I use the Russian join when ever possible. I feel it gives a clean join with no tails to deal with later in the project. But then, I do mostly lace knitting and weaving in ends just doesn’t work with lace.

  6. I use the first 2 protocols. But also use a few other techniques. With multi-strand yarns I often split them on both the old and new yarns. Then knit with 1/2 the strands from each ball (the old and the new) at least 6 stitches. If the yarn is slippery I will leave some tail and weave in the reverse direction a few stitches. With the remaining strands, I will knit them in your second protocol. Great way to handle a project with many ends.

    However, still looking for a good way to finish the ends of yarn like cotton especially on a lace pattern. I find the ends really want to undo themselves. Any tips would be appreciated.

  7. I usually duplicate stitch on the wrong side, about 4-5 stitches one way then go down or up a couple of rows and do a few stitches back the other way. My tails don’t show, and even I have a hard time telling where my ends were woven in.

  8. Whenever possible, I use the tails to sew the seams together. Otherwise I weave the ends into the seams or into the knitting itself much like you have describe above.

  9. Regarding the use of the serger, you don’t state whether or not the serger blade is engaged. I’m planning to use the serger, but to make it less “scary”, I’ll dis-engage the blade ~~ the yarn end can be encased in the over-lock stitch for the desired distance and a quick snip with a scissor later can remove the excess.

  10. Regarding the use of the serger, you don’t state whether or not the serger blade is engaged. I’m planning to use the serger, but to make it less “scary”, I’ll dis-engage the blade ~~ the yarn end can be encased in the over-lock stitch for the desired distance and a quick snip with a scissor later can remove the excess.

  11. I thread the cut end (about 6-8″) onto a tapestry needle and then, working on the wrong side, I follow the pattern of the stitches for about 1″ in one direction, go up a row and back in the opposite direction. If it is a stockinet pattern, the stitches are easy to follow. If not, sometimes the cut tail may be worked simultaneously over two rows. Amazingly, unless it is a particularly bulky yarn, the stitches don’t look “fat” or show on the opposite side. I knit a lot of scarves and wanted the finished look to be the same on both sides. Weaving ends tended to make a ridge, at least the way it was taught in most books. By following the pattern of the stitches themselves, the ends became almost invisible. With extra bulky yarn, I have unwound plied yarn and followed the pattern of the stitches with each separate single. Hiding that last cut end was tricky, however. I like the idea of fraying the end. Thanks.

  12. Because I also crochet, I almost always have a crochet hook within reaching distance. So I run the hook backwards on a diagonal to the yarn, hook the yarn and pull it through, then do the same thing back the other direction. Don’t have to thread a needle this way! :-) On lace, I can use a small hook to weave the yarn in-pattern.

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