Thursday, March 7, 2013

All those ends!


The time has come for me to sew a big wooden bowl full of striped snakes into a blanket.  I love how weird that sounds.  This part always takes forever, which, when sewing together my knitting, means more than an hour, because I don’t like doing it, but I’m trying to get all zen about it.  Needle in, needle out, breathe!  It’s working, but there are a lot of strips and it’s testing my patience.  I’m using mattress stitch and a neutral gray yarn to seam all those long strips together, and then I will (you betcha) block the living daylights out of this thing, to make it lie flat and be organized and tidy and drapey.  Then I will knit on the edging.  More on that later. 


I know what else you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “Are you insane?  The ends on the back of that must be madness!!!”  They’re not.  I knit them in as I go, and then there’s nothing to do at the finish but snip off all the tails.  Here’s what the back looks like:


I didn’t use a tapestry needle to do that, I worked them in as I went.  I think this is what the stranded knitting experts in the Fair Isle style and tradition do when they’re dealing with long floats—they just tack them down as they go by, weaving the yarn they’re not using into the back of the stitches.  I promise, I find all that just as confusing as you do.  I took about sixty-two pictures of this process, because this is a really great trick and so handy to have in your arsenal.  Okay, here’s how it works:

I’ve just finished working the orange stripe, and have started on the next, which is red  On the first row, I will weave in the tail of the orange yarn. The tail goes over the stitch I’m about to knit.


I wrap the red yarn to make the stitch…


…and then pull the orange tail up out of the way.


I complete the (red) stitch.  The tail doesn’t get knit into the stitch.


On the next stitch, I hold the orange tail down and away, towards the back, and wrap the red yarn over it.  This is where it gets tacked down.


I knit the stitch as usual. 


I keep alternating those two steps—holding the tail across the new stitch for one, then holding the tail down and away for one—until it is sufficiently woven in; a couple inches or so. Then I purl back, and on the next right side row, I’ll do the same thing with the start tail of the red.  Tidy, and invisible from the front of the work.


At the end, I just clip the ends off and it’s over.  No arduous hours of weaving with a sewing needle.  Well, until it’s time to sew it all together.  Aargh! 


  1. Now it all makes sense! I had no idea you were making a blanket - I just thought you really liked Doctor Who length scarf's and knitted them for the pure joy of it - what a banana I am! This is going to look absolutely fab when it's all put together - gold star for you! x Jane

  2. Hi, Seriously!!! What a great tip!!! Now I just have to train these OLD stupid fingers to hold and pull and guide as I go, but seriously, a great tip!!

  3. Wow. Beautiful! I am just learning to knit so this looks a little overwhelming :) But inspiring!

  4. OMGosh!!!! That is absolutely the best Kristen! I'm seriously not sure if I could pick a favorite of your blankets. They are all so awesome with all the colors. Love it!!!!

  5. A M A Z I N G!!!!!!!!! Oh Kristen...... Its heavenly!!!!
    So looking forward to your big ta da!!!

  6. Thanks for sharing that technique. i have a pile of afghan squares that is 4 years old. I need to man up and seam them soon...

    1. Why not break it down over a few sessions of your normal routine - that's what I do.....I've been crocheting a Navajo-style blanket for my son which involved lots of stepped triangles and squares crocheted before assembling into the pattern (which needed sewing, not crocheting - no ridges on the back, you see - ) and then the edges and seemed gargantuan and half way through I got fed's two years later and I decided to do 15 minutes on it whilst I'm at my current projects, and the blanket is near completion...forward momentum, dear girl, gets you there :)

  7. It's going to look amazing!
    I keep putting off knitting or crocheting anything that needs sewing together!!!

  8. All I can say is...WHOA! Blanket- amazing!

  9. This is a great helpful tip, thanks Kristen. Can I just ask, do you first make a knot with the red and the orange before you weave the ends in? I do this, but it makes an ugly bump and I wonder if it's right (still fairly new to knitting!). Your blanket looks so soft and snuggly, and I just want to soak in all those colours!! Wendy :)

    1. Nope, no knot. Just loop the new yarn over the needle and go. :)

  10. It is gonna be great. Hang in there! Jo x

  11. I can wait to see more...I am already in love with those stripes!

  12. What a beautiful blanket this will be! I love all the colors and you are quite adventurous putting this all together! I CANNOT wait to see the finished blanket!

    When I have ends - I just crochet them in as I go too. Right now I am working on an afghan where I do not cut when I change colors - just pull it up to the next row... I am loving that technique - the only challenge is not getting it all tangled!

  13. Love the blanket, and that is exactly what I do with my ends, I try to do it with crochet too if I can.

  14. Wow, I didn't know that! Thanks!

  15. Here I thought you were making tube socks or something.
    Of course it's a blanket ... how silly of me.
    Looks like a great knitting tip. Anything is better than weaving in all those ends. That blankie is going to be a beaut!

  16. That is going to be a gorgeous blanket. I appreciate the tip, now if I just knew how to knit...

  17. That is such a good idea! I love stripes but hate sewing in ends. I won't even think twice now, I'm going to stripe everything!

  18. Can't wait to see that blanket when it is finished!

    When I learned that trick to weaving in ends as you go, I wondered why they hadn't awarded a Nobel Peace Prize to the person that developed it (or at least made the You Tube video that I watched). I know that it has made many peaceful nights in my house! GREAT pictures on your tutorial--very clear and easier than trying to pause a video at the precise second you need to see something!

  19. Love all these colourful rectangles! glad for you that you don't have to fix all the ends, still looks confusing to me but I don't knit so it would!

  20. A lot of work! But very nice!
    I want to see the final result!
    Kisses from Catalonia!

  21. Boy, I with you putting blocks or stripes together something I don't like either. I do love all your blankets so unique! Thanks for the tip on the ends.

  22. thank you!!!!!
    love your blanket!!!
    xxx Ale

  23. Can't wait to see the finished blanket! Lovely colours...

  24. Clever lady :)
    Ends are my worst thing. Even more than seaming. I love this shortcut!!

  25. I'm sure I will love this post once I get to knitting :) thanks for sharing!