My friend Denny? She loves weaving in ends.  Loves. It.  All of her peers have used this to our advantage.  Barters, trades – casual arrangements, we’ve all taken advantage of Denny’s proclivity for finishing ends up in one way or another.  (In the past, we have even done things like strategically leaving a piece of knitting lying around with the ends showing. She can’t resist. She’ll weave them in out of reflex. It’s like a disease.)  Denny can’t tell you why she likes it, exactly.  She says it’s satisfying, she thinks it’s fast and fun, she enjoys the sense of closure it gives her to tidy things up and make them all nice.   Something like that.

I am nothing like Denny.  I hate weaving in ends.  I accept that it’s part of knitting, and I don’t hate weaving in ends enough to let it shape my choices – not like knitters who hate seaming enough to let it put them off a sweater knit flat, but I have it in the same category for fun as peeling potatoes or washing the coffee filter.  Something you have to do if you want to do something else.  Like have coffee, or potatoes, or a sweater.

Last night I was sitting there on the couch, tidying up a wee sweater that sort of materialized around here over the weekend.  My mum, who really isn’t the sort of mother who gives you choices when she wants you to do something, told me that I was going to be making a sweater for a baby who’s special to her.  Her friends hadn’t known what flavour baby was arriving, so they got a lot of yellow and green and white, and Mum’s only request was that the sweater not be baby colours like that.  This means that I was given carte blanche.  I could do anything I wanted, and I took full advantage of this to have a little fun.  I decided what I would do, that it would take two colours, and I called up The Purple Purl and told Jennifer that I needed two colours for a baby boy and she could do whatever she wanted, and that someone would be by later to get it.  She chose, Joe transported it home, and that night I started a sweet little sweater, and remember, I could do anything I wanted. What I wanted to do surprised  me, and got me thinking. What did I do for that sweater?

Stripes. Lots of them. Even pulled the work out and rejected six row stripes in favour of four row stripes, and then chose to cut the yarn at the beginning of every change because a) I think it makes the change point look better than carrying the yarn up without cutting and b) THAT WAY THERE ARE AS MANY ENDS AS POSSIBLE.

I sat there last night, weaving in end after end after end… and I was thinking that I hated it, and then I thought about it.   For a knitter who knows she’s not a masochist,  and says she hates weaving in ends,  I’ve  made some interesting choices lately.  Maybe, after more than a decade of exposure… maybe Denny’s getting to me.

102 thoughts on “Revealed

  1. You feel about ends as I feel about housecleaning. Except I don’t think anyone or anything will ever win me over. Love the glimpse of the sweater, though.

  2. Colors are lovely, looking forward to seeing it right side out. Yes there is something satisfying about working in ends. For me, it’s the big sign that something is finally finished – I finish fewer things than you do, so it’s a big deal for me.

  3. Ha! I have been starting at this entrelac wrap that I finished over the weekend, and all of the ends hanging out that need to be done. I’ve wanted to finish it SO BADLY, but now that the knitting part is done, I can’t seem to make myself move on to the dreaded next step. . .

  4. If, somewhere, there is the sort of mother who gives you choices when she wants you to do something, I have never met her.
    Mine certainly wasn’t ;o)

  5. I weave in my ends as I go, so I don’t have a kajillion standing between me and a finished object.
    Doing a half dozen or so at a time isn’t quite as bad.

  6. I’m weird, but I like doing things that other people find unpleasant as long as they aren’t bad for me. I like weaving in ends, obsessively finishing sweaters, and doing my Russian homework. I get a little thrill from the reactions people have to the fact that I enjoy these things.
    Fact is, maybe Denny is just using all of you to get her kicks. 😉

  7. I really, really, really hate weaving in ends. Yet, I too find myself making knitting choices that require lots of end weaving.

  8. I think I need to make the same decision re: ends–I’m doing a chevron-striped scarf for the fiance. And I really don’t like the way the colors are carrying up the side. At all. I understand that the backs of knitting rarely look as clean as the front, but it’s really bothering me.
    I think I’ll do it–cut, and weave in every few stripes. That’ll keep it from being miles and miles of six-inch bits at the end. If I can stick to the plan, anyway.

  9. I am one of those knitters that hates weaving in ends enough to consider knitting a pattern in the round or as one piece to minimize having to do so. There – I said it.

  10. I can’t wait to see the details on your baby sweater. My niece is having a baby in April and I have been looking for the perfect striped, raglan sleeve sweater to knit for him…I haven’t had any luck finding what I’m looking for. The peak you showed us has my hopes up that this might be the one for me.

  11. The sweater looks adorable. I like the way the chocolate brown contrasts with the blue.
    (If I’m wrong about the colors, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to think about my eyes going.)

  12. LOVE that baby sweater. You have inspired me! Fortunately my extended family is experiencing a rash of babies (hmmm… there may be a better way to say that), and I am the only knitter in the bunch. For some reason, hadn’t thought of stripes until I saw yours. Gorgeous!

  13. Could it be that after knitting miles of a garter stitch scarf (including Saddle Tan) that weaving in ends seems more interesting in comparison? Maybe it’s only temporary insanity…

  14. I actually don’t mind weaving in ends either. It nicely puts a punctuation mark at the end of my knitting. I know once the last end is woven in, I am done.

  15. I used to hate weaving ends. Absolutely and utterly. And then one day I had an epiphany.
    You do not have to leave all ends hanging.
    You can knit them in just like when knitting intarsia. (Pardon my lack of correct English vocabulary).
    Since then, I always catch loose ends in the next row and voila – no ends left at the end, except of the very last one. It changed my knitting life forwever 🙂

  16. In agreement. Weaving in ends has become a simple thing to do while watching TV at night. Something reasonably mindless. However, I just finished fingerless mitts with 2 row stripes, did NOT cut between stripes, and there were still plenty of ends to mindlessly tend to…

  17. I, too, hate weaving in ends but I don’t dislike it to the point that I won’t knit something. I also hate how long it takes me to finish anything but I still knit 🙂

  18. Sometimes it helps to get a glass of wine, put on a movie or a good long TV show, and just sit down and do the ends. At the end of the evening, you’ve been entertained (or made to think), and have a completed project to show for it.
    I also like non-baby colours for baby sweaters. Makes the baby look sturdier, I think.

  19. Great colour choices. The Purple Purl is an amazing store! At least it was a baby sweater. Can you image the number of ends if it were for Joe?!

  20. Beautiful sweater! My compulsion is to save all those little ends–don’t know why. I’m not a thrifty Yankee. But I use them for cheapo slip-knot stitch markers and even stuffing cat toys and toys with them.

  21. ” in the same category of fun as peeling potatoes or washing the coffee filter” oh, thank you for that line. I expect that it will cause small smiles to pop up on my face randomly throughout the day.
    That said, I am a big fan of either weaving ends in as I knit or at least weaving them in every so often as I go. I guess it is an extension of being taught as a small child to pick up after myself as I go along

  22. I’m with you on the ends Steph. I hate weaving in ends! And yet, there’s a striped shawl on the go (lots of ends), addiction to little baby booties in two or three colours (a dozen ends for the set isn’t bad, but considering how tiny they are…) I think I need to find a Denny to weave in my ends 🙂

  23. I sort of enjoy weaving in ends as the final step of a large project. It’s relaxing to sit and weave a couple dozen ends if I’m not rushed. Oddly I hate having two or three ends to weave on a small project, because something small should be finished quickly.
    The baby sweater looks like it will be simply adorable!

  24. I hate hate hate weaving in ends, and I suspect it’s because I always think I must be doing it wrong – there MUST be an easier, better, more clever way…

  25. chocolate and aqua is a really great choice for a boy or a girl in my not so humble opinion. I’m not sure I’d have come up with it, but I am going to keep it in mind.

  26. I feel the same way about log cabin blankets…so I’ve started weaving in ends as I go so there’s not many bloody ends when I finish. hahaha
    Katie =^..^=

  27. I actually like weaving in ends. I have knit a lot of intarsia and there is nothing like weaving in the ends to take something raggedy ass and make it look really sharp and finished. I also enjoy the cheap thrill of small scale achievement after the protracted labor of the sweater.
    I also use a chenille needle for the weaving in because the sharp point penetrates the fibers more easily. It makes it much easier.

  28. I almost always weave my ends in as I go along. I learned the technique from a class taught Sally Melville. She’s a great teacher, but learning that made the whole class worth every penny I had spent.

  29. If I move to Toronto will Denny be my friend? I despise weaving in ends. I made my first ever striped project last month only because the two row stripes in the round meant I could easily carry the yarn.

  30. I only dislike weaving in ends on some things, like lace and shawls.
    Plus I will sometimes knit my ends in as I go. Depends on the item I’m knitting though

  31. I like weaving in ends as much as Denny*… when my friend finishes a project she gladly hands it over to me for that part.
    *as long as they are the ends on someone else’s project… much less fun on my own. Rather like housecleaning. Another friend and I clean each other’s houses… much better than cleaning our own.

  32. Does the change point really look different? I haven’t noticed before, and, my dislike of weaving ends in, DOES cause me to carry color changes up the rows. I’ve got to agree with everyone else, those colors are gorgeous, for a boy or a girl.

  33. Ugh ends! I wouldn’t say I hate weaving in ends, but I would say it’s not my favourite thing in the world. Now you’ve got me thinking though … maybe I need someone who loves it as much as Denny. I think I should train at least one of my children. “Hey it’s fun, wanna try!?!” … hmmm.

  34. See I fin I’m not very good at weaving in ends therefore I’m not a huge fan of doing it. I’ve tried unraveling the plies of the yarn and weaving in each ply separately so they don’t work themselves out again but I find that too finicky. Anyone have any pain-free weaving tips?

  35. I don’t particularly like weaving in ends, at least on my own things, but I make a tidy little sum finishing sweaters for customers of a yarn store and that includes weaving in the ends, picking up 300+ stitches with #3 needles, hand sewing in 30″ zippers, etc. I just turn on the radio, jot down the time I started, put my mind somewhere else and go at it. If you leave long enough ends, they sort of weave themselves. But never wait until the knitting is finished! Do them as you go along.

  36. Will you send Denny’s address and phone number. I want to invite her to our next knitting night, lol. These people who weave in ends as they go leave me speechless–that’s the least rude comment I’m inclined to make. Love the striped baby sweater–so much cuter than an insipid pastel!

  37. I’m sure other people have already said it, but there are moms out there who give you choices when they want something?
    Who knew?

  38. Hi, Stephanie,
    What a pretty color combination. When do we get to really see the pretty sweater? Or are you hiding it so the mom doesn’t see it on the blog first? When my nephews were babies, I made them turquoise and sunny yellow 2-row stripe top down raglan sweaters. They were really cute in them with their blond mops of hair. Now one of them is a grandfather. He married a woman with teen-age kids and in 1 year went from carefree bachelor to married dad to grandfather. Wow! But he’s loving it. Married off the second kid this past weekend. We’ll see how long the second grandchild takes. Nothing like a grandchild to make your life great! I’m the totally besotted gramma with mine.
    On the knitting front, my big sister commissioned 2 shawls (a big fluffy warm one and a little soft sock yarn shoulder shawl)and a cell phone holder. The shawls each have a little pocket for a tissue or a house key when walking the dog. I’m just finishing up the ends today and I’ll get them in the mail this afternoon. I guess if you don’t get what you want for Christmas you can put out a commission. She sends me yarn throughout the year, too. So I don’t mind. Patternworks is her LYS.
    My aren’t I chatty today…
    Julie in San Diego

  39. That color combination always makes me swoon. What yarn did Jennifer send you? Sorry about all the ends.

  40. Oh my, I love the colors you chose. So bold and non-babyish. I may have to paint my room those colors…or at least one of the walls.
    And if by ‘interesting’ you mean ‘fantastic’, then carry on. How is the Who Scarf anyway?

  41. I’m not into weaving in ends, either, but do it anyway because I have to. Like as in, “I have to get my teeth cleaned.” I swear that if there is a hell for knitters, it would be a knitter sitting on a bump for all eternity just weaving in ends!

  42. I understand Denny perfectly, because I too like to weave in ends. I enjoy taking something messy-looking and making it neat.
    I also enjoy untangling masses of yarn-gone-wild. My knitting group loves me for it, lol!

  43. I salute your productivity! I’m knitting the 5 hour baby sweater and am about 1/2 done with about 8 hours so far. I want to be you when I grow up.

  44. Love the colors for non gender-specific baby garments. I used the same for a hat & booties. I also love that your mom can still tell you what to do.

  45. Steph– can you say why it looks better to cut the yarn at each stripe instead of carrying it up?
    Rookie Stripe-Loving Knitter!

  46. Four-row stripes. Exactly what I need to weave in on a hat before the post office closes at 5:00, given that it’s a day I have the car.
    Some baby is going to be very happy in that sweater! It’s beautiful!

  47. That you chose to knit a project with a bazillion ends though seeing yourself as a knitter who hates weaving in ends and did it all while sitting on the “couch” instead of on the chesterfield speaks softly of personal change, which is not a bad thing IMHO.

  48. Today was my day to sew seams and weave in ends on a baby sweater I knit two weeks ago, and then left in a pile on the sewing machine. I knew this day was coming, and I didn’t enjoy it one bit. Just getting out the darning needle gives me the fidgits, but I sewed and weaved dutifully. From now on, I weave as I go. Your sweater is lovely, and looks so soft and smooshy.

  49. When I saw the second photo, I was stunned for a second thinking that you had a magic end weaving tool that I would absolutely have to have. Then I realized it was the top to the Chibi tube. Just for a moment, I thought there was hope for me and my loose ends.

  50. I have been blessed with 2 friends who like to untangle yarn. This is a good thing as I apparently have not been blessed with the ability to keep yarn tangle free.

  51. beautiful colours, lucky baby.
    I use a CROCHET hook to pull ends in and out for about an inch or so, they stay put just fine, can’t be seen and no threading needles all the time.

  52. I am Denny. I weave in ends for free. I’ll also Kitchener anything that needs kitchenering. I have a friend who lives to untangle yarn spaghetti. We complement one another.

  53. Did you weave in the ends on the Dr. Who scarf? Sometimes that gets to me… a sort of rationalization if you will. For example: I just finished this huge scarf with all these ends to weave in. A tiny baby sweater can’t possibly be worse than that. It’s all relative.

  54. I’m stunned to see how many people on this blog enjoy weaving-in ends. I did not know that this type of thing existed in nature. Everyone’s sane, right?
    Now someone mentioned unraveling tangled yarn. I actually enjoy doing this. So I guess I belong to an unusual group, myself. LOL.

  55. I’m just finishing the Peerie Flooers hat and mitten set by Kate Davies. The hat took me an whole evening to weave in all the ends and I haven’t started the mittens end weaving (I’m almost done the second mitten). I lost count around 40 ends. I learned to be efficient – 2 to three stitches, trim, move on. It helps that it’s pure wool and grabby. I’d hate to do this with cotton or something more slippery that needs lots of weaving.

  56. There is another way for fair isle and skinny stripes. You can simply trim all the ends to 2-3 inches (you can be quite short with Shetland but would keep it longish with superwash) and then start at one end and PLAIT (or would you say BRAID in Canada) the ends together all the way down, adding each new end into to the shortest tail of the plait as you get to it. You can the tail neatly with the longest end somewhere around the top of the ribbing.
    Totally invisible from the right side, completely stable and best of all it takes a mere fraction of the time of weaving them all in. I have never had a plait come adrift. I think I still have one fair isle project in my cupboard, will try and upload a photograph tomorrow morning.

  57. After going through Sherry and Keely Stuever’s Intarsia workshop book, I am no longer afraid of or annoyed by weaving in ends–they do such a good job of teaching how to do it.

  58. Ah, nice. This calls out for an intarsia project next, doesn’t? Something in the Kaffe Fassett style should be right up your alley… lol.

  59. There is a special beauty in the zen like moment when you realise that everything has a purpose, and a calling, and each minute you spend can be imbued with love of the moment, and a care for both the task and the recipient.
    Then again there are moments when you just want to get on with it with the least possible fuss and the maximum effect.
    Both are valid.
    Sweater looks fun

  60. I just carried the colours up a striped cowl and If I had to do it all over again I think I’d opt for cutting the yarn at the change too.
    Good call. So how come we don’t get a nice shot of the finished sweater or is this semi stealth? Is it the lighting or is it more aqua than blue I do like the combination I’ll have to remember it.

  61. My sister is emphatically not a crafter, does not have the patience, but one thing she will do is methodically undo a jumble of jewelry chains. Necklaces, bracelets, the odd rosary, if it has links she happily sits there and shuffles around the chains until they bend to her will and come out separated and you have an honest-to-goodness jewelry wardrobe again.
    Love the colors of the sweater. Makes me think of chocolate and mint ice cream. But then babies always do look good enough to eat.

  62. Weaving in ends or untangling yarn is important work. Without such activities..all the world knitting would stop!
    For me; weaving in ends is problem solving/finishing. Once it is done…problem solved. I am not done till the problem is solved!

  63. I don’t mind the weaving in all, but I do have 2 toddler boy sweaters that just need the underarm seams done–for the last 6 months.

  64. I am not a patient person by nature. When my friend, Wendy, was pregnant, she found she couldn’t concentrate enough to work on her needlework or beading but had infinite patience. I went digging down in my stash and found this skein of gorgeous silk I’d bought that had immediately tied itself into a Gordian knot the instant I untied it.
    Wendy spent her entire pregnancy untangling that skein… One day, I’ll make her something from it 🙂

  65. Bent-tip yarn needles. Spendy little critters, but they make weaving-in so much more fun. :o) Just try it sometime . . . .

  66. Count me among those who hate weaving in a bunch of ends after I’m done knitting a piece. I’d much rather deal with them as I go along. Besides, it’s a lot easier to knit them in when you’re using a highly-textured (say, nubby, boucle, or chenille) yarn.
    So, have you finished weaving in the ends on the Dr. Who scarf, or have you kept Denny blissfully entertained for a few hours?

  67. I love that colour combination–always have. What a fantastic sweater.
    Denny stories always make me smile. I love the pictures you’ve posted in the past of Denny. It looks to me as if she exudes pure joy.

  68. I’m new to your blog and like to read it on my phone. Can’t seem to get a mobile version and have to keep readjusting the screen. Don’t have this problem with other blogs. Any ideas?

  69. I too love that blue-brown combo. And your dear friend Denny just helped me tonight, through the twittersphere, when I needed cake pan advice. I always enjoy her twitter feed. It feels like a hug.

  70. I find weaving in ends more tolerable if I do it immediately after completing a project- then there is no excuse!
    I am curious, however, about your preferred method of weaving in ends. Care to share a pic of the wrong side of your sweater?

  71. I used to be a weave-as-I-go person, and then I had to frog a project with ends already woven. Ghastly. I decided that leaving them to the end meant more work later, but it was worth it for insurance. The exception was a mitred square blanket (and in future? Larger mitred squares. Doing them at 1.5″ was too much).
    And I’ve have been rewarded yet again for obsessively reading comments. Amanda @ 5:59 PM, that suggestion about braiding ends? Pure genius. I’m definitely going to remember that.

  72. Ok, so it’s a baby sweater and not a garment for a full-grown adult…how bad can the yarn weaving be? Really? Not that bad. And you know weaving in loose ends goes much better which a glass of wine or a bottle of beer, just make sure any spills blend in with the yarn at hand. For example, DO NOT drink red wine while knitting something white or cream. That’s a disaster in the making at the first laugh or burp! First, there will be spills, then tears followed by curses of all sorts…and then yarn weaving will be the least of your concerns, just washing out wooly wine stain.

  73. Weaving in ends. When I had my shop I once gave a little class on the dreaded disease called “myendsin”. Every knitter and crocheter at some point will suffer from myendsin. But at least you get over it quickly.

  74. I find that I don’t mind weaving in ends if I’m watching a movie or playing a board game or something. And the bonus is that the ends get sprinkled on the bushes in the spring (with my grandson’s help) for the birds to use in their nests.

  75. I once offered my young daughter a penny an end to weave in the many ends of a multicolor sweater. It only worked once. She grew up to be as avid a knitter as I.

  76. I confess it. I choose projects at least partly by the type of finishing required (the less the better). Ends aren’t as bad to me as seaming, but I still hate them for exactly with the same irrational distaste that I feel for clearing snow off my car in the morning. It’s not hard or time consuming job, compared to shoveling, which I DON’T mind, but I resent the heck out of it anyways. I think it’s because knitting and shoveling are REAL jobs, jobs I take on knowing that it will be a project and expecting to take a while. Weaving ends is like the annoying little obstacle of a chore standing in the way of my fun that I forgot about until the last minute- got my shoes on and I’m all set to go…awww F*#$@ I still have to clean off the car/weave in the ends, dang it!

  77. First, as a woman beset by baby rabies, I love the baby sweater and I love the colors. I haven’t been in the knitting mood lately, even though I’ve been in the wanting to finish mood, and after I read this I had to go and knit a couple rows on the sleepy sack I am knitting for when we have another baby. (By the way, it’s very difficult to finish something if you don’t knit it. *sigh* (-:)
    I don’t care for weaving in ends most of the time, but I’ve discovered that if I let it sit for a while, I will get absolutely rabid about getting it done. By that time I usually have a couple things done and waiting and then I do them all at once.

  78. I have tried knitting ends in as I go but it spoils the tension, in a way that weaving in later doesn’t do. Luckily I don’t mind weaving ends in later.

  79. Our beloved Denny could get to anyone. She makes me work to be a better scratch cook, and to be more generous of heart and word. Our world could do with more Dennys, but luckily, she’s got enough for us all. I can’t imagine there is anyone who has met Denny who wasn’t instantly smitten with her.

  80. I must admit, I love weaving in ends! Like Denny, I find it to be a satisfying closure. However, I am a novice knitter and finishing something is rare and super exciting, so maybe that’s part of it. 🙂

  81. I dont mind weaving in ends. just means I’ve finished a project. yea! Love the colors! Asked my daughter what she would like in those colors for me to knit, now that I just finished her a hat. Wish I would have considered those colors. Oh well. On to the next project. I’m sooo ready!!! Cables!!!!

  82. I also LOATHE weaving in ends! I must confess I have an entire gallon zip-top bag of finished socks that only need the ends woven in. They have been there for A WHILE! *sigh* I did pull out one pair recently and got those woven in, I am also trying to finish weaving in ends on a pair of mittens that have been finished for probably a year. I am trying to make it a goal to weave in one end before starting knitting. I need an end-weaving friend!

  83. “Her friends hadn’t known what flavour baby was arriving…”
    Vindication!! I used this phrase in conversation recently and you would think I had three heads!

  84. Steph, you need to get the kind of darning needles that have the big plastic loop on the top. Can’t remember the brand but they come in a blue case. Way easier to thread (or Denny might be kind enough to do the whole thing for you. God bless her)!

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