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Peaks and valleys. Sunshine and shadow. On the road trip that is a colorwork project, one of the moments that pegs the meter on emotion is the moment you face a drift of loose ends. Here, I share five ways to get on with this. One way even involves another craft project.

Method Number 1: Weaving


Old school. Maybe you’ve already begun a project, and you’ve been doing the simple act of dropping one color and adding another when the time came. I know: I was so carefree too, once. Knitting this way is definitely the fastest way to go, but in the long term, you pay a bitter, sour price:


The Ditch of Poor Planning: a raggedy line, with holes and warbly bits and whatnot on the front, a wilderness of ends on the back. Weave in the ends using a tapestry needle, paying attention to where the holes and warbly bits are, crossing an end over a hole before weaving it in on the far side of the hole to mimic what happens when you strand a yarn. This method requires a fair amount of futzing and generally faking it up.




The ditch is gone, but it’s a lot of work to get to this point.

Consider the alternative methods below.

Method Number 2: Spit Splicing

Spit-splicing is kind of hardcore. It totally eliminates ends, but it involves slurping on your yarn. As you arrive at the moment when a new color is required, take the end of one color of yarn and the beginning of the next color, and slurp on them to get them wet. Or dip them in a cup of water if your aim is sanitation. Line up the ends so they overlap each other, in opposite directions, for about an inch. Rub them together hard and fast between the palms of your hands. Heat and friction bond the ends together, and all of a sudden you are knitting with a new color of yarn.

This method means a fiddly minute every time you swap out a yarn, but it gives such a smooth transition and lack of ends that it is clearly a good way to go. If you don’t mind slurping on your yarn. (Below, the dark line is the stitch that marks the end of a round. There are splices all around that line, but the pattern is so nutty that you can’t see where the various colors swap out.)

Method Number 3: Knots


So simple: take two ends, tie a double knot, trim to a half inch or so. Done. There are some who believe knitting should never involve making knots, but I am not one of them. This totally works, and you never have to thread a tapestry needle.


This moves right along. Knot, knot, snip. You can shop Zappo’s while doing this. You can order a refrigerator.

Method 4: Braiding

I have not personally attempted this, but I discovered Kerin’s craft project-within-a-craft-project, and it looks like fun. Create a braid of ends down the seam, tie a knot at the end, and trim it to an inch or so. Here’s her tidy video.

Method 5: Nothing

A friend who is a great knitter goes commando. Maybe she trims the ends down to an inch or two, but mostly she just leaves the ends as God intended them to be: free to wave in the breeze, unfettered and liberated. We should all be so unbound!


  • I decided to braid the ends on a baby hat, only I did the braiding on the RIGHT side as a decorative item. My braids are actually more like a column of “tails” along the hat from top to bottom. I sometimes braid a little pigtail on a hat to identify the back from the front of the hat.

  • Apparently the great and talented Kaifeng Fasset never sews in his ends…..

    • Kaffe Fasset – predictive text doesn’t always make sense!

  • I use the magic knot method and use a needle to drag it right where I want it. It’s a double knot and you cut the ends right off.

  • I’ve used the Russian join. Basically looping the yarn around each other and using a needle to weave each yarn into itself. Not a good description but plenty of tutorials on you tube…and no ends.

    • Except if you are like me i never get the join exactly where i need it and it looks horrible. Lol

    • Similar to the Russian join, but without the need and time for a pesky needle, I work out how much yarn is needed to knit six stitches, then when I’m six stitches from a colour change I ‘hook’ two colours together leaving myself the amount of yarn I need for those six stitches, doubling each colour back on itself, then carry on knitting, dropping the shorter end of the new colour after six stitches of the new shade. The colour change is clean and immediate, the ends are secured and all it leaves to do is a trim before blocking.

  • I am currently spit splicing on my fair isle project. Why didn’t I know about this before? I love that my tension stays even across the color change.

  • If it is ends I don’t havr issue of knotting and weave or spit splice. As it was put to me was never knit the knot. Knotting to secure is perfectly fine

  • I would rather weave them in as I go.

  • I’m looking at the back side of a log cabin (blanket) with plenty of color changes… tempted to go, as you say, “Commando!” ((@@,./’;,./’;

  • I’m near swooning in a dead faint at the thought of knotting!

  • Thanks

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