Very few knitters like to weave in tails. In fact, I don’t know anyone who does. It’s hard to like this tedious and often time-consuming task when you are excited to put on your new sweater or to gift the cute colourful baby blanket to the expectant family.
Unfortunately, there is no way we can avoid yarn tails, especially when we work in a colour pattern. But we can avoid the overwhelming task of weaving in lots of tails if we hide them one by one as soon as they appear.
The simple way I’ll share with you in this tutorial works well with any project knit in any stitch pattern using any knitting style – English, Continental or Russian.
Here’s how it works (click here to watch every step in a video tutorial or, simply scroll to the bottom of this page to watch the embedded version of the video):
1. When it’s time to change the colour, attach the new colour by simply working the first stitch in a new colour (let’s call it colour B). Leave a tail about 10-20cm / 4-8″ long when you attach the new yarn.
There is no need to cut the yarn in colour A just yet. We’ll do it a bit later.
2. Pull the yarn in colour A a bit to make sure the last stitch worked in this colour is not too big.
3. Take the strand in colour A and the working yarn in colour B and twist them to the left at the wrong side of the work.
4. Now take the working yarn and work the next stitch according to your pattern. My swatch is worked in plain stockinette stitch, so I’m going to knit the next stitch, as you can see from the photo below.
5. Take the two strands again, bring them to the wrong side of the work if necessary, and twist them to the right.
6. Let go of the colour A and work the next stitch with the working yarn in colour B.
Repeat steps 3 – 6 until you knit six to ten stitches. The number of stitches depends on the yarn you are using. If the yarn is slippery, work more stitches. If you knit with wool, six stitches will be enough to keep the tail safely hidden.
Now cut the yarn in colour A leaving a tiny tail about 0.5cm / 0.2″. You can trim the tail shorter, but I prefer to leave it a bit longer to make sure the tail we’ve just hidden doesn’t unravel over time.
That’s it – one of the tails is hidden. Now finish this row and work all stitches in the next row.
When you come to the next right side row, it’s time to hide the other tail.
1. Work the first stitch in this row using the working yarn as usual.
2. Now pull the tail a bit to adjust the size of the first stitch worked with this yarn.
3. Move the tail and the working yarn to the wrong side of the work and twist them to the left.
4. Let go of the tail and work the next stitch using the working yarn. Be careful not to knit with the tail!
5. Twist the working yarn and the tail again at the wrong side of the work, but this time twist them to the right.
6. Work the next stitch.
Repeat steps 3 – 6 until you knit six to ten stitches (depending on how slippery the yarn is).
Then trim the tail and you are done. Both tails are safely hidden without adding extra bulk to the project.
Because we first weaved in the tail in colour A, and then (two rows later) – the tail in colour B, the colours don’t show on the right side of the work, and you can hardly see the tails even on the wrong side. See for yourself:
If you use this little technique to weave in tails as you work on a project, there will be only one tail to hide once the project is finished – the tail that appeared after you bound off all stitches and cut the yarn.
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.
Dealing with Unfinished Projects
Dictionary of Knitting Symbols and Abbreviations – E-Book
Eastern (Russian) Knitting Simplified
Knitting Collection #6
Simple Socks in Any Size with Any Yarn
Top-Down Hat in Any Size with Any Yarn