How to weave in ends as you go

A step-by-step tutorial on weaving in ends as you knit – the probably easiest and fastest way to join a new yarn in knitting

Are you sick of tapestry needles and weaving in ends? To be sure, a lot of knitting projects require more than just one ball of yarn. And at one point or another, you end up with all those dreaded tails tangling down. But there is a super easy solution, you can weave in ends as you go.

a swatch where someone is joining new yarn with the weave in as you go method

This method to join a new yarn works without knots and without a tapestry needle. You can use it for all feltable fibers that are slightly fuzzy (so your standard sheep wool, alpaca yarn, etc). It’s very easy and quite efficient on top of that.

The only problem is that it will be a bit visible on the wrong side. So, it’s probably not the best method for reversible projects. Here the spit splice or the Russian join might be a better option for you.

how to weave in as you go in knitting shown on the backside of a swatch

Anyway, let’s show you how to weave in ends as you knit.

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Instructions: How to weave in ends as you go

someone weaving in ends as you go in knitting on a swatch

This joining method requires a rather long tail. So, when you notice your yarn is almost too short to hold in your hands, you can start right away.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Instructions

  1. 5-8 stitches before you need to change yarn, pick up the new yarn and place it in between your working yarn and the knitting needles.

    trapping the new yarn in between needle and working yarn to start the weave in as you go technique
    Note: This can be at the beginning of a row or round or in the middle. It doesn't matter
  2. Knit one stitch using the old yarn. This will trap the new yarn on the backside.

    knitting one stitch to trap the tail of the new yarn
  3. Knit one more stitch and wrap the new yarn around your working yarn clockwise once.

    wrapping the new yarn yarn around the old working yarn clockwise
  4. Repeat step two 5-8 more times and wrap the new yarn around the working yarn with every stitch. The slicker your yarn, the more stitches you should knit in this manner.

    contuining wrapping the new skein around the working yarn for 5-8 more stitches
  5. Pick up the new yarn from underneath, and knit one stitch trapping the old yarn in between.

    picking up the new color from underneath so it traps the tail of the old yarn
  6. Knit one stitch and wrap the tail of the old yarn around the working yarn clockwise once.

    wrapping the tail of the old yarn around the new working yarn
  7. Repeat step 6 for around 5-8 stitches and then continue knitting as normal.

    repeat wraping the tail around the working yarn for 5-8 more stitches
  8. Cut away the excess yarn on the wrong side with your scissors. You may want to wait with this step until you blocked your finished project or you washed it the first time. That way, there's less of a chance that the ends will peek out later on.

    trimming the ends with a pair of scissors to finish the weave in as you go technique

Notes

If you are working with a slippery yarn, you could twist the tail around the working yarn a full turn. This will create a much more secure join but will also be a bit more noticeable on the wrong side.

Wrapping the yarn around one full turn for a more secure join

Weaving in as you go to join a new color

If you want to join in a new color, for example when you want to knit stripes, then you can adjust the instructions ahead. That’s because you will need the old yarn a couple of rows above again. Here’s what you can do instead

Step 1: Simply knit one stitch with the new color.

knitting one stitch in the new color

Step 2: Wrap the tail of the new color around the working yarn clockwise once.

wrapping the tail around the working yarn to weave in as you go

Step 3: Repeat step 2 until you secured the tail (around 5-8 times depending on the friction of your yarn) and continue knitting as normal.

continuing weaving the tail around the working yarn with every new stitch

Tip: You can join the new color with Twist and Weave for an ever better join before you weave in as you knit (so instead of step 1).

Again, this method will work great for all slightly fuzzy yarns. Don’t do this with cotton, silk, or a slick superwash yarn. In these cases, there’s no way around using a more traditional joining method and weaving in ends the regular way. That’s because the tails will come undone a tiny bit with every stretch. And if you repeat that often enough, you end up with a hole.

For wool and other animal fibers, this won’t happen. The two yarns you joined will felt together over time. There may still be a tiny tail hanging out but it will stay that way and is nothing to worry about.

Some people will also use this last technique to join in a new ball and weave in two tails at the same time as they go. It’s really the exact same principle. You just wrap two tails at the same time instead of one.

weaving in two tails as you go at the same time in knitting

While it is certainly super easy, my problem with this technique is that it isn’t all that pretty on the wrong side.

weave in as you go with two tails at the same time seen from the backside

For non-reversible projects where you join a new ball in the same color, it probably won’t matter, I guess. Still, I wanted to present you with the neatest version in my opinion first.

Anyway, that’s how to weave in ends as you go in knitting. Comment below in case you still have a question.

weave in as you go the easy way - a step by step tutorial

2 thoughts on “How to weave in ends as you go”

  1. How can I alternate cakes of hand-dyed yarn on a project without creating wonky stitches or leaving gaps? As I am changing cakes, I do not have any tails to weave in, but twisting the yarns together is leaving noticeable tight spots, with some looser stitches. Tia.

    Reply
    • I am not exactly sure I understand your problem? If you know how to do fair isle, then that’S what I would do. Knit for about 10 stitches alternating between the two cakes.

      Reply

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