Weaving in Ends

Weaving in ends is a somewhat tedious but essential part of knitting.
The needle shows where I would weave in the end on this swatch of brioche stitch. © Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Weaving in ends in knitting is always a necessary step at the end of a knitting project. Even the smallest project has at least two ends: one at the cast on edge and one at the bind off edge. Larger and more complex projects can have many, many ends to weave in.

Weaving in ends is necessary to give your project a finished look and to keep those ends from getting loose and causing your knitting to unravel.

It's really not difficult to weave in ends, but it can be time consuming if you have a lot of them.

Before You Start Weaving in Ends

Make sure that you leave between 4 and 6 inches/10-15 cm of yarn wherever you will need to weave in ends. You can just eyeball this; it doesn't have to be perfect. You'll need a few inches, though, if you want to use a tapestry or yarn needle to weave in your ends, which is the easiest way to do it.

If possible, plan where your ends will go for ease of weaving and comfort in the finished garment. Start a new ball of yarn at the edge of the work whenever possible. Try to avoid placing a thread that needs to be woven in a conspicuous or uncomfortable place, such as the bottom of the foot of a sock or the middle back of a shawl.

Yarn ends can be woven in anywhere in a garment, but you'll want to avoid tying the ends together because that will leave a bump. (You can temporarily tie the ends together while you are knitting if you want, but untie any knots you make before you weave in the ends.)

Weaving Methods

It seems like every knitter has her or his own way to weave in ends. There is no right or wrong way to do it. As long as your process accomplishes the goals of weaving in the ends, you've done it the right way.

What are the "goals" of weaving in ends?

  • To hide the ends of the yarn, making it invisible on the right or front side. Where both sides show, as on a scarf, making the end as inconspicuous as possible.
  • To prevent the yarn from unraveling, potentially taking your project with it.
  • To make the project look nicer and wear more comfortably than it would with excess yarn lurking about.

Ask 10 different knitters how they weave in ends and you're likely to get 10 different responses. Here are some of the most popular:

Thread your needle and work the yarn through some of the stitches on the wrong side of the piece. Working through purl loops is the most popular, as the loops hide the extra yarn well. Some people work straight across a row, while others weave diagonally up for a few rows and then back parallel to the first row. Still others will work a few stitches straight across and then move up or down into the next row and work a few more stitches. Another option is to work straight up or down, staying close to the edge of the piece.

If your yarn ends are on the edge of the work stitching along the edge is another popular choice. Particularly if you're working a project that has seams, it's easy to hide the yarn ends in the seams (or even use the yarn ends to sew up the seams).

Use duplicate stitching. This is an embroidery technique that is often used as a way to decorate a finished knitted project. The yarn is stitched onto the work in exactly the same pattern that was used to knit the project, literally duplicating the knit or purl stitches in the finished fabric. This makes an incredibly strong weave that is invisible. This process doesn't work well with all patterns and is best with worsted weight or thinner yarn. Otherwise the duplicated stitches will look really bulky.

Choosing the right weaving in method for you is a matter of experimentation. Do what looks good to you and what you can accomplish easily. Many knitters hate this part, but it doesn't have to be frustrating. Just do what works for you, and that is the right way to do it.

Other Tips for Weaving in Yarn

  • If you're working on a big project or a project with a lot of stripes that will have a lot of ends to weave in, don't leave them all until you are finished with the project. The last thing you want is to have to weave in 50 ends in one sitting (which happened to me when I finished the Blue Lagoon baby blanket, which has color changes every four to six rows). There will be days when you're tired of knitting; this is a perfect project for those times. (Remember, too, that if you're changing colors and going back to the same color in a few rows, you can carry the unused yarn up the side of the work and save yourself some weaving.)
  • Check your progress on the right side of the garment as you work. Make sure that the ends are not peeking through to the right side. It's fine if they aren't perfectly invisible on the wrong side, but make sure they don't show on what will be the front.
  • If you're working on a project like a scarf or throw that doesn't have an obvious front and back, do your best to make the woven in ends as inconspicuous as possible. Hiding the weaving in the edge of the work is a good option.
  • Be patient. Weaving in ends can be a time-consuming process, but remember that with every stitch you are making your garment stronger and longer lasting. And just think, as soon as you weave in the ends, you can start enjoying your finished project!