At the End(s)


After Years of Failure, Knitter Proves That She Can Be Taught

PORT LUDLOW, Washington, April 13th, 2018

In a Stunning reversal absolutely nobody was expecting, this morning Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, upon finishing her Russell Street shawl-scarf thing, had only fourteen ends to weave in, out of a total of about fifty-eight (58) for this project.

“I can’t even explain it” the knitter said, while looking visibly pleased with herself. “Everybody talks about how they’re going weave in the ends as they go along, but I actually did!”

As told to this reporter, at the outset, Stephanie looked at this project and realising that there were so many ends, was able to look into the future and see that (as she so eloquently put it) “this was going to be a total %^%$#-show.”  At regular intervals throughout the knitting of this accessory, she then stopped several times and worked on a bunch of the ends so that it wouldn’t all face her at the conclusion.  “I could just tell” she exclaimed, shaking her head incredulously “that if I left them, if all of those ends from all of those mini’s were staring me in the face when I was done, that I’d put it off until later.” (Here, this writer did not ask if the “later” that she was speaking of was actually that thing Stephanie does where she shoves mostly finished knitted stuff into closets for seven years rather than do a little bit of finishing work.)

“I just told myself that I wasn’t going to be that kind of knitter this time…” she said, while blithely ignoring that she has yet to weave in the remaining fourteen ends. “I can’t believe this happened. I made a commitment, and I followed through.  Do you see this? I actually wove in ends as I went along. This doesn’t really happen. I’m like a unicorn.”

When last seen, she was entirely smug, an emotion she scarcely deserves, since she’s really only just done what she was supposed to all along, and fourteen ends remain.


106 thoughts on “At the End(s)

  1. Yes I understand completely.
    I just finished darning in ends on a baby sweater otherwise completed five years ago – yes, now for intended a completely different baby.
    I have since learned the Russian join! It is fabulous and I can’t live without it now. I watched a Rainey Sisters video.
    You can still wear that scarf this weekend given the current Toronto weather.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Russian join has been a lifesaver for me. For both time and sanity. Yes it takes a bit of time to join a new skein and can be fiddley when you are working on changing colors at the end of the row. But ‘in the end’ it really is worth it to only have to weave in that one strand after binding off.

      • Can I ask how you join two colors at the end of the row? I love Russian join but haven’t been able to figure out how to plan so that it looks right.
        Thank you ~

  2. My first afghan, striped mohair in the dimple shale pattern. Knit when I was 17. Used it right away. Darned the ends in when I was … oh, 28 or so. There were lots of ends. I didn’t feel like it. (PS: still using it; I’m 63.)

    • You are my new best friend!

      There is an unfinished patchwork quilt started when I was 16. I’m very nearly 55. There’s hope yet!

      • The afghan I made when I was 13 is coming up right after yours! (I’m 55, too.) (To be fair, I only discovered it when clearing out my parents’ apartment.) (But to be absolutely fair, that was five years ago.)

  3. Is there a deadline for weaving in ends? My 20 year old afghan is still waiting. I lived in California and didn’t need a wool afghan so made one in cotton. This 10 pound bohemouth is still unfinished….

  4. When knitting Foxpaws, I learned the author’s technique for weaving in (basically, knitting) the ends in as you go. With changing colours every two rows, it would have been an unimaginable task to weave them in after. I’ve used it often since and have never looked back.

    Good on you!

  5. When I saw your Russell Street – I cast on too and can happily say that, I as well, have woven in some ends as I went along! What a great feeling even though there are more to come. Being smug (sort of) is a great feeling! 😉

  6. Coupled with the fact that the project was started as soon as the yarn for it entered the house, we are compelled to inquire:

    Who are you and what have you done with our Harlot?

  7. Wait, so, first actually knit this when intended and then you even woven in the ends as you went along?! This seems bizarrely impossible. This scarf must be magical or you’ve possibly been possessed by aliens. Either way, can you send a little my way? I could really, really use the space in my stash closet currently being held by unfinished (or un-started) projects.

  8. Congratulations! That’s something I rarely do too, and I’m always so happy when I do something smart along the way.

  9. Wow. This project must be magical to stay at the top of the “this is next pile” so it really *was* next, and on top of that you took care of ends as you went along. I am stunned.

  10. I just hold the end as I knit or purl the row and it just disappears as I go. Unless it is mt starting to finishing I rarely have to weave in an end.

  11. I just know that the minute I darn in my 100th end, I shall discover a humongous mistake that require me to frog the whole project. So I leave them all to the end, because ripping back when the ends are darned in is a huge pain.

  12. Ok Steph, now you’re just getting scary…

    First… you go and knit the yarn you bought that you said you would knit as soon as you were done with your WIP…

    Now, you’re going and WEAVING IN ENDS as you go along! What is the world coming to?????

    That being said, I am happy for you though, that shawl is to die for! Someone may have to go and buy the pattern then use the odds and ends and minis that she has been hoarding….

  13. I’m stunned. You started this immediately, wove in the ends as you went along, and finished what you started? WHERE’S STEPHANIE?

    This tells me that: a) the yarn is super good, b) the pattern is super good, c) I need to start on this really soon with really good yarn because clearly this project is exactly as enticing as it looks, and it looks pretty damned enticing.

  14. Calm down. Yes, weaving in so many ends as you went along is a BIG accomplishment. However, there are still 14 ends left. Calling them “tassels” won’t make any difference. Start weaving.

  15. I have a sweater coat project ready for a Spinoff Magazine rare-breeds competition (Wensleydale wool.) It just needs the button band done and then I can meet that 1998 deadline.

  16. Hmm. That reminds me….lol.
    Can’t wait to see the finished pics. Sam better find her way to the house or Elliott is going to be modeling. Or maybe Meg wearing Russell Street holding Elliott.Although I could see this walking out the door with Ken or Cam too….

  17. Interesting point: the best weaving-in needles are in fact hand-carved from unicorn horn. Unlike the slippery metal ones (on pilgrimage to magnetic north?), they don’t mysteriously disappear.
    Actually, mine is buffalo bone (or so the woman who sold it to me said…), but it has nonetheless consistently failed to disappear. Remarkable.

  18. LOL!!! Great post! Looking at a snowy mid-April weekend and the laughs are most welcome! Also, I like the colors in your shawl (-;

  19. I knit a hat, Fisher, several years ago. It wasn’t until I had worn it a few times that first winter, that I noticed there was an unwoven end up near the top. It’s still there. 🙂 Probably always will be, unless I donate it in a couple of years. I’d weave it in if I was donating it. LOL

  20. Thank you. Thank you for what you do. At the end of a very Alexander day, (as in “Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”) and you made me smile. Thank you.

  21. I’ve just had a terrible day (with a real crying bout and I’m not like that actually) and this piece really brightened it up a little. This is why I read your blog, thank you so much for your humour and your positivity!

  22. I love this post! I’ll bet every knitter who read this felt like it could have been written about him/her. It made me laugh out loud! Thank you!

  23. I have a sweater in the closet, knit sometime in the mid-80’s, with ends still hanging inside Did not stop it from being worn as there is plenty of room inside the leg-O-mutton sleeves for them,

  24. Although I don’t understand how your lever knitting system works, it seems like the unicorn horn could be put to some magical use that lets you knit even faster!

  25. I laughed, then cursed at my own stupidity vs the striped sweater I knit a year or, uh, possibly two years ago that come autumn will be too small for my daughter, even tho I’ve been pretending to weave in ends for weeks.
    I even knit it huge bc… and what did I do wrong to get such weeds for kids? I swear my grownup kid was like bonsai in comparison. Pity I didn’t knit anything but the mandatory northern Norwegian winter socks back then.

  26. Well. Congratulations Steph! You saved your sanity and your project. We, the blog, are proud and honored that you have performed such a feat. Now. The rest of us need to follow this sterling example!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. At Madrona I was taught a nifty way to knit multiple colors without leaving those tell-tail ends, which I practiced, learned, did not use, and have now forgotten. I think it is written down somewhere tho….


    Knitter claiming to be the Yarn Harlot has been revealed to be an impostor, as evidenced by a blog post in which she describes using the yarn she just bought AND weaving in ends as she knit.

    Knitters worldwide are on the lookout for the real Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, last seen at DFW Fiber Fest.

    Franklin Habit is being questioned as a “knitter of interest.”



  29. I have a scarf I knitting around 15 years ago (my first lace!) that has yet to be BLOCKED. Just blocked. And it’s lace, worsted weight, but still lacy. Can’t wear it that way. It’s marked as “finished” on Ravelry. (Is that lying?) But I’ve an experience with the NOT weaving ends on Campus Scarf from Scarf Style. I knew I should weave them in but didn’t know how. Still don’t!

    Anyway, will you please, please, please do a tutorial on how to weave ends in as you go? I’ve checked the internets, but you really are the best at knitting tutorials…

  30. LOLLLLL!!!!
    Since the thought of knitting a sweater sends me into the corner of the room with all the accompanying wimpering and gnashing of teeth – and you sit there changing patterns, adjusting sizes and generally making me feel totally inadequate –
    Thank you for always helping me to feel a part of this great community – in the end.

  31. Weaving in ends… I have only heard of this mythical feat! I think this deserves a medal. It’s certainly not something I’ve achieved recently. I bow down to your prowess.

  32. On UFPs I am up there with the best/worst of you.

    But on more than one occasion I have turned up at a knitters house without my knitting and simply woven in her ends! Mind you she’s a very special friend. (1) because she’s lovely (2) because for a few years she was the owner of my LYS. On the other hand shoulde loses points because before she opened her shop I was a uniform knitter without stash. By the time the shop closed I had SABLE!!!

  33. I’ve just revamped my life, meaning, my folks are 8 hours away and need [extended] help now, sometime for months. So instead of quilting, I’m taking up knitting. I’ve just finished Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini (I was allured by the idea of someone actually writing a book about their knitting adventure for a year – how could it be interesting – but it was.) Now I’m on to the Knitter’s Life List by Gwen Steege. You all (yes I live in Kentucky) are a source of knowledge in technical jargon! Russian Join?!? I never would have known to look for it. I just love your blog AND the people that comment. I learn so much. Thanks!

  34. I am so envious of the fact that you are at Port Ludlow and I am not. Please post many photos…. and, have a wonderful time with those two other glorious women.
    I also wanted to thank you for the link to the Vegan Ham blog. at the beginning of the year, I stopped eating meat and helpful recipe sites are such a joy.
    the scarf is magical!

  35. I know things have been difficult for you lately. I am watching my mom slowly, cruelly erode away due to Alzheimers. I am so grateful for your wit; plain and simple you make me laugh, a rare thing for me these days. Thank you. Please know you touch lives and it matters. Pattye

    • Bless you and your Mom. Just remember that the Mom you knew is trapped inside all those plaques. Spend quiet time together and you will get glimpses. It is a very hard road but try to keep positive memories of your best moments.

    • I pray for courage and strength for you, serenity for both of you. This is such a cruel disease for everyone. And Leslie is right, sometimes just sitting quietly, holding hands if possible, will bring you glimpses of the Mum you remember. Hold tight to every good memory.
      Chris S in Canada

  36. Why not get rid of those 14 ends by promising yourself a glass of wine for every 2 you weave in … who knows, it might change your feelings about weaving in!!
    My confession: there is a baby sweater waiting for my first ever (sort of) steek — necessary because the damn neckhole came out too small and this is the only way it’s ever going to be wearable. I’d say it’s been there for a year now … swop you for those ends to weave in????

  37. Steph, or should I say, newly born Unicorn, Thank you for this. It was just the sort of motivational, uplifting thing I needed this Monday morning that is also a snow day. In April. I’m sure you or someone you know, felt the storm too. (I have a feeling you were travelling for it).
    Anyways, Thank you. “I am like a Unicorn” shall be my mantra for the week.

  38. You made me chuckle with this one. At one point I had 11 socks in my knitting back waiting for their ends to be sewn in…. Since then I have tried to channel the mighty Denny (who must be so proud of you)

  39. Nah, I can top the lot of you! When I was a kid in high school I did a bead necklace stringing project with my mom, and all I had to do to complete the necklaces was thread the string ends back through the beads, dab some glue on the knot and trim the ends. I boxed them up for later. A couple of months ago this project box was opened during a bead bracelet project with my daughter, and within an hour I had finished off the necklaces and was happily wearing them. Time from start to finish? FORTY YEARS including a cross-continent move. As for weaving in knitting ends, I think of them as an invisible embroidery challenge and I don’t really mind them.
    Touch the clock! Of course!

  40. I have left the weaving in of ends for when I’ve had too many glasses of wine to properly knit any more, but am not yet ready to put down the yarn. Works pretty well, and I have only murky memory of weaving in the ends the next day 🙂

  41. That’s TWO knitting unicorns (the first being the next item actually being next). WHAT IS HAPPENING? Happy for you and hope this is a trend!

  42. Looks like there’s lots of methods for tending to ends as you go…spit splicing, Russian join, knitting in…would love to see an article about the varied techniques and when to use a particular one. Maybe showcasing your new scarfshawlwrapthingy on The Worlds Top Knitwear Model. Or the cute understudy that’s getting way more press.

  43. My salvation for weaving in ends is my knitting group. If I try and knit anything more complicated than k or p rows, I end up by having to frog it all. Weaving in ends is a perfect job (that I hate doing) for Group Knitting. Unfortunately, I don’t produce a finished project every week as I mainly knit sweaters.

  44. I belong to a group that meets two afternoons a week and has Show and Tell at tea time. It’s hard to knit, teach, talk, and drink all at once, so I save my loose ends for knitting group and try to get them done in time for Show and Tell. Another member is a frugal New Englander who uses leftover millimeters of yarn to stuff toys, and all my snipped off bits go across the table to her. The group thinks I should do the ends as I go, but I like my system.

  45. Now I know why I didn’t weave in the ends of my cowl as I went along. The Yarn Harlot channeled that energy!

  46. I have been knitting an Afghan for each of my children (4) and finally working on the final one. I wove in the ends as I went along. The body is now complete including all ends hidden. It feels wonderful! Working on the braided edge and hope to finish by mid-July!!!!

  47. The meme going around IG with the ugly little creature from Lord of the Rings that says, “We must weave in the ends, but we HATES it!” always makes me laugh even though it creeps me out. Sometimes I set a timer so I’ll do just 15 minutes of it. If it’s not finished in 15 minutes, I’m far enough along that I just go ahead and finish.

  48. I absolutely adore your blog posts! They’re so inspirational! I love what you do, and the things you post is exactly the kind of things I’m interested in.

  49. Congratulations! (even if you do have 14 ends left I’m sure there’s an airplane flight in your near future) Enjoy the extra time with those new grandchildren.

  50. omg, it’s so true. Weaving in, or dealing with, ends as you go along. You feel like such a HERO when you’re done. And so precisely the occasion you should have a public announcement made that you’re so great. Which you are. And I am. When we deal with ends.
    lol. I’d love to be interviewed on how great I am when I do this. Like a friggin athlete coming off the field. Geez, dunno. Just brought 110% to it, right?

  51. Laughing, laughing, laughing. This applies to SO many things in life and how we finally get so much done. The mess around us may look like we’ve been abducted by aliens, but only 14 ends left – you can do this!!

  52. I feel you on the ends.
    There has been a bag of crochet squares (crocheted by the mother of my Mom’s best friend, who has since passed- the mother, not the friend) waiting to be assembled into a blanket glaring at me from behind my chair for the better part of a decade. This week they finally got put together and I am working on the border. I am crocheting over as many of the ends as I can as I do the border so that I have fewer to deal with.
    I also have another crocheted afghan that has been assembled except for the border for the same length of time. The devil is in the finishing.

  53. You! Are so busy that your busy-ness puts me to shame! I love to read your posts and look forward to all your news. Wishing you happiness in this next party and don’t worry if the sweater is not ready. That youngster will not notice that a sweater comes along next week. I like the look of that yarn.

  54. Such a funny post. I tried the spit slicing or splicing method…whatever it is. I thought it was just great, but then it came undone after I had knit about twenty -five more rows on my shawl. It was right in the middle. I don’t use it anymore, because it makes me too nervous. Bad memories…Thanks for your blog. I made your Unoriginal Hat pattern today, and am thrilled with it. It’s way too small for me, but will make a very nice gift for someone with the right size head. I plan to knit another on larger needles. Such a fabulous, quick knit. Thanks for the pattern!

  55. My name’s spinfile-names.dat spinfile-lnames.dat but everybody calls me spinfile-names.dat. I’m from columnspinfile-address_data.dat-1. I’m studying at the college (1st year) and I play the spinfile-instruments.dat for random-3-10 years. Usually I choose music from the famous films :).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.