How to weave in ends in knitting (while you’re still knitting the project)

Color blocking and stripes are a fun and easy way to add a little visual interest to your knitting projects. Color blocks in a scarf take if from ordinary to magical, because we all know who wears a very famous color blocked scarf. But all that joyful color can belie the finishing process. So let’s talk about how to weave in ends in knitting while you’re still knitting the project.

So what’s the biggest issue with how to weave in ends in knitting?

The issue is the amount of finishing that’s required at the end of the project when we add in color blocks or stripes. Every time the color changes, there are TWO tails to weave in. And if you a making an oversized scarf with several color changes, this very quickly adds up to HOURS of finishing at the end. I’ve even known knitters who just wore the piece with the ends unwoven, because they lacked the patience to weave them in.

But what if there was an easier way to deal with all those ends?

See why weaving in the ends as you knit is such a game changer?

And who doesn’t want a game changer in their knitting?

In the samples pictured above, you can see how many tails are at the end of a project. These are small bookmarks, and at the completion of knitting, I’m faced with 14 separate ends to weave in. Oy. That’s a LOT of ends! What if I told you those four projects are all identical and the two on the left had all the ends woven while I knitted and then I snipped them off for blocking. The two projects on the right actually have the ends already woven in. I left them hanging so you could see the amount of work I’ve saved myself at the end of the project.

How would you like to get to then end of your project and only have the cast on and bound off strands to weave in? Yeah. I told you it was going to be life changing.

Ends neatly woven in while still knitting.

When do you use a technique like this?

Full disclosure. This technique doesn’t work for every stitch pattern. It will only work when you are knitting the stitches on the right side of the fabric (like for garter and stockinette), and that allows the working yarn to be in the back of the work where you will lay the tails over the working yarn as you knit. You essentially tack the tail behind the working yarn as you knit the row. This gives a smooth finish to right side of the fabric unlike holding the tail with the working yarn which sometimes gives enlarged looking stitches.

More full disclosure about using this technique to weave in your ends

Something else I will have to be upfront about in terms of following this technique is that it is not perfect. You can see where the yarn tails are tacked up behind the working yarn on the fabric wrong side. Your right side is seamless and perfect. But if you look closely you can see the weaving of the tails, unlike following standard instructions for weaving in yarn tails. But to me, this is no big deal. The amount of finishing time this saves me at the end is worth it. If you make a couple of these scarves for your kids for Christmas, you could just about knit a whole other scarf in the time it takes to weave in that many ends by hand at the end of the project.

So, I’m going to leave the decision up to you about what you will or will not accept in your knitting. For me, this is worthwhile. You can actually consider taking on that Dr. Who scarf now, because you won’t have all those ends staring you in the face when you bind off the project.

Here’s the video I made to showcase the technique. Give it a try on a sample, and let me know what you think. It’s a little fiddly until you get the hang of it, but it’s only for a few stitches.

Thanks for dropping by today! Lovely to see you, and I hope you enjoyed this description and video of how to weave in ends while you’re knitting the project.  If you are new to the site, please sign up for my email list so you never miss an update from me. The pattern notes for this over sized color block Scarf are coming out next week, so I know you will want to see that! Sign up for those email reminders today so you are notified when the post publishes!

portrait of the author in her kitchen

Hi there, I’m Patty.

Sewist, Baker, Maker

I love figuring out new ways to use pom poms, where I can stash more fabric, and I’m always wondering what to bake next…chocolate or lemon? When not dreaming up new things to make (or bake), I love riding my beach cruiser on the Boardwalk, escaping to mid week movie matinees, and planting new things in my tiny but mighty container garden.

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