This is the end

One of the commonest technique questions in the shop is how to finish off the ends on a piece of crocheted or knitted work. So we thought it would be useful to provide a tutorial for this (all those carefully worked Christmas presents deserve it!).

A neat and careful finishing-off starts right at the very beginning of the work. Leaving nice long ends – about 15cm or so – makes the process much more comfortable (though if you haven’t done so, you’ll find a hack for dealing with short ends at this link). Generally speaking, putting your weavings-in along seams or edges works best, so plan to have your ends there.

The best tool for the job is a yarn needle with a blunt tip, such as the Chibi being used here. Sharper needles can catch unpleasantly on the yarn.

Rather than going over and under stitches, it’s a good idea to go through them. In other words, use the needle to skim the end right through the centre of the yarn that makes up the knitted or crocheted fabric.

This has two purposes. First, it makes the weaving in invisible from the other side of the work. Second, it means that subsequent stretching, washing and wearing of the finished object will hug the end ever tighter within the stitches, holding it firmly and stopping it from escaping.

Continue weaving in through the stitches until you’ve gone about 4 centimetres. At this point, one might be tempted to declare the job done, but why not take a moment to make the finish even more secure? You see, there’s some chance that the pesky end might wiggle its way back out along its path, but we can circumvent that.

Turn the work, and skim again for 4 centimetres (or so) in another direction. This could be perpendicular, diagonal or parallel to the first pass – here, we’ve opted for parallel.

The pesky end is most unlikely to wiggle its way back out along its path, turn a corner, and then wiggle its way back right to the start, and that makes for neat secure ends.

When you’re done, it’s time to snip off the end up close to the work…

…and admire the neatness of the finished result – pretty as a picture even on the wrong side:

And on the right side, the finishing off is completely invisible:

And that’s how you can treat all your ends – the cast on, the cast off, all your joins from new balls of yarn, all your ends from sewing your garment together. What’s more, if you ever need to undo one, they’re easy to find and easy to unpick.