Fine Finishing: Those Pesky Tails (by Gwen)

Filed in Uncategorized by on January 6, 2012 3 Comments

In continuing this week’s theme of Q&A, particular tips and tricks I thought I would discuss my thoughts on dealing with tails.  With a new Great Dane puppy, I have to deal with a crazy tail a lot, but that is not what I am talking about here!  I am talking about the start and end of each skein in your knitting.

Like Kellie, I don’t consider my self particularly clever, but I do consider myself lazy.  And sometimes lazy is the “mother of invention” too!  So here are a few ideas when is comes to dealing with tails:

  •  In all cases, no matter which technique I use I don’t trim my ends too closely if I am making something for personal use.  No one is going to see the inside and I think a little more “end” helps keep it secure.  Otherwise I trim fairly close, but tug on the fabric first to emulate wear and tear before trimming.
  • Whenever possible, I weave my tail in as I go.  I use this technique a lot when I am working on an entrelac project.  Although you can use a cool technique as shown in the video found about midway down the page, my way is not quite so slick.  I just wrap my tail over my working yarn and then knit the stitch.  If I have two tails, I alternate between the two.  Hopefully this will give you an idea.
  •  If the fabric will allow for it, I sometimes just work a few stitches with two strands, one of the old skein and one of the new skein.  There is a double thickness for those stitches, so this won’t be feasible in every situation, but can be use more than you might think!
  • If I am actually working the tail in with a sewing needle, I prefer to use a SHARP tapestry needle called a Chenille Needle.  This allows me to pierce the yarn as work the tail through the wrong side of the fabric.  This also helps ensure that the tail does not “pop” through to the public side of the work.  I work through a few stitches in one direction and then the other, verifying that I have not distorted my work on the public side.
  • When binding off in the round, I run my final tail under and around the first bound off stitch and then back down where the tail first came out.  This helps maintain a look of continuity.  Then I weave in the end as described above.

In honor of FINISHING techniques, I will add a lovely turquoise colored Knit Kit into the prize package for our Comment and Questions Contest.  We have loved seeing what you have to say, so keep the comments and questions coming.  I would love to here how you choose to manage your tails!!

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