How to Fix Unravelled Yarn Tails in a Finished Project

No matter how hard we try to hide the tails, if the yarn is slippery, the tails could pop out of their hiding spots after we wash the project. Suddenly our once impeccable hat, scarf or sweater gets a hint of a “distressed look”, and that’s not something we planned for or something we like.

So, what do we do when those pesky tails get out and ruin the look of the project?

First of all, we don’t panic and do not discard the project. We spent quite a bit of time making it, and we are going to fight for it, right? 🙂

Here’s a relatively simple way to tame the loose ends and make sure they never sneak out of their hiding spots again.

If you are a visual learner, click here to watch it in a video tutorial.

STEP 1

Inspect the work and transfer all loose strands to the wrong side of the work. If the fabric is loose, you can do it with your fingers. If the fabric is dense, use a crochet hook. Click here to watch how to do it.

Now pull the fabric sideways to make sure the tail is long enough to accommodate for the stretch. The most common reason why tails pop out is that they are shorter than the stretched fabric.

STEP 2

Now take a sharp sewing needle and a piece of sewing thread in a colour that is close to the colour of the project. If you have some leftover yarn from that project, use one ply of that yarn instead of the sewing thread. Thread it into the sewing needle. 

STEP 3

In this step, we’ll sew each unruly tail firmly in place. The sewing part takes about one minute per tail, so reserve a few minutes of your time to take care of all tails. 

It’s totally worth it, and soon your project will be neat and tidy again 🙂

To make sure you clearly see how to sew in the tail, I’ll use a piece of thread in a contrasting colour. 

3.1 Run the sewing needle through the yarn tail for about 2 cm / 1″ to the point where the yarn tail sticks out of the work. Pull the thread just enough to hide its tail in the yarn. Secure the thread in place. Click here to watch how to do it.

3.2 Now we are going to seam the yarn tail to the closest stitch in the fabric. Align the yarn tail with the “bump” of the closest stitch. If the wrong side of the work looks like stockinette stitch with no “bumps”, align the tail with one leg of the closest stitch.

If the yarn tail is too puffy, twist it, so it looks more like a solid strand than a tassel.

Make two stitches to attach the yarn tail to the fabric – make the first stitch from the bottom of the tail to about two-thirds through it, and the second stitch from the top of the tail to about two-thirds through it in the other direction. This way the two stitches will overlap and hold the tail in place no matter how much the fabric is stretched or how often it is washed in the future.

To better understand how to make those stitches, watch this part of the video tutorial.

3.3 Now secure the thread again and run the needle through the tail for about 2 cm / 1″ from the point where we attached it to the fabric.

3.4. Cut the thread and trim the yarn tail.

Repeat step 3 to secure every unruly tail in the project.

Now you can be confident that the tails will stay put no matter what. You can also use this technique to secure each tail right after you weave it in. This way you won’t have any nasty surprises each time you wash the project.


If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:

“Neat Side Edges” Book

Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.


Happy knitting!

Maryna Shevchenko - www.10rowsaday.com

Let’s be friends on GoodReads 🙂

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