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Let’s talk about weaving in the ends for projects worked in the round. Sock knitters have to do this a lot, and it’s hard to make it look good.

A key reason why it’s hard: When you’re knitting in the round, you’re actually working a spiral, so that end of the round sits one “row” above the start. This means that the top and bottom edges of the cylinder of stitches will always be misaligned.

This doesn’t look great at the cast-on edge, but it’s even worse at the bind-off edge because the stitches of the bind off lean in the direction of the knitting, pulling the first stitch towards the second, which makes a big gap.

You can see both top and bottom edges in this swatch:

I can offer some tips to make the result look better. Note that these swatches are all worked in ribbing, because that’s common for sock tops, hats, and mitten and sleeve cuffs.

The Cast-On Tail

For demonstration, I’m using the long-tail cast on, with some notes on other methods below.

When working in the round, I always start my long-tail cast on with a proper slip knot, and I always work the first stitch with both ends of the yarn. I find that this makes things better, even before I get to the weaving-in. Using a slip knot for the first stitch makes the first stitch the same height and shape as its neighbor, making the edge more consistent; working with both ends pulls things together a bit more, reducing the gap somewhat. When you do this, note that your tail is connected to the first stitch of the round.

Thread the tail onto your darning needle and bring it down through the knot of the slip-knot.

I’m using a contrasting color yarn instead of the real tail, so you can see what I’m doing.

Go across the gap and insert the darning needle up through the lower edge, so that you come up beside the first stitch. Go over the base of that first stitch, and back down through the lower edge.

Bring it across the gap, and then run it up into the knot of the slip knot.

Take it to the WS of the work, and you’re done.

In the image below, I haven’t quite neatened it up fully: as with Kitchener stitch, you will find that you’ll need to adjust the tension to make sure it matches the neighboring stitches. But once that’s done, it’s invisible.

For this photo, I did the steps just described using the real yarn tail. Voila: invisible.

Then see below for how to finish.

For other cast-on methods, what you need to do differs somewhat, but the principle remains the same. The key is to look at the very lower edge of the knitting, and work the tail back and forth over the gap, mimicking as best you can the path of the yarn in the cast-on edge.

For example, here I’m mimicking the edge of a cable cast-on.
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The Bind-Off Tail

When finishing the bind-off, pull the tail out of, rather than through, the final stitch. That is, when you’ve lifted the last stitch over, cut the yarn, leaving yourself about 4-5 inches/10-12 cm and pull it up, so that the tail comes out through the final stitch.

Keep pulling until the end comes through that final stitch.

Now thread the tail onto your darning needle.

Looking at the top edge of the piece, use the darning needle to take the yarn under the pointy-end of the first stitch in the chain, across the gap, from the RS of the work.

Come back across the gap again, and poke the needle back down into the center of the stitch where the working yarn is coming out, back in where you came out. Pull that through to the wrong side.

This creates a “bridging stitch” in the chain, making an invisible join.

Once again, I’m using a contrasting color yarn instead of the real tail, so that you can see what I’m doing.

If it’s a sleeve cuff, or something that’s not going to be stretched out, that will be perfect. All you need to do from there is weave the end in.

If it’s a sock top, or something that’s going to be stretched out, there’s one more step.

When stretched out, you can see there’s a gap below the bridging stitch.

To fill that in, turn the work to the WS, and use the darning needle to go under the stitches that are just under the gap: go under the left-leg of the knit column, and the right leg of the purl column, under the purl bump.

Snug this up.


My two favorite special-purpose bind-offs, Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off and the Russian/lace method can be handled pretty much the same way. Work Jeny’s as normal; for the Russian/lace method, it’s best if you plan ahead, and make a tiny adjustment to the final stitch. Once you’ve only got one unworked stitch on the left needle, bind that off normally and pull up and through.

Because both of these methods produce a chain of stitches at the top edge, you can create the bridging stitch described above, and then catch loops near the top in the back as required, to close up any below-the-edge gaps.

Finishing Up

Once you’ve got the join dealt with, whether for cast on or bind off, finish up by weaving the end down through a column of wrong-side knit stitches. To do this, run the needle down the right leg of the knit column, down for at least an inch or two (3-5 cm); and then come back up the other leg of the knit column.

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About The Author

Kate Atherley is a teacher, designer, author and technical editor. She’s also the publisher of Digits & Threads, a magazine all about Canadian fibre and textile arts.


  • Great timing for this helpful article! Today I’m assisting daughter with weaving in ends at the CO and BO ends of a fingerless glove. Thanks!

  • Last night at my ZOOM knitting night I wove in the ends of my BonJour Hi from Espace Tricot. I wish this had come one day sooner. The good thing is there is always another project and opportunity for your helpful instructions. Thank you.

  • It’s probably just me, but I found this a little hard to follow : a video on this subject would be great!

    • Sounds like a great idea! A video:)

  • Benn doing the messy bun version of these for years. Thanks Kate for helping me clean it up.

  • I wonder why the bookmark button has not shown up in the last two articles?

    • If you aren’t logged in to MDK, the bookmark button won’t show up. Log in and it will (this just happened to me).

      • Same.

  • Kate your tutorials are all so easy to follow and I thank you for that !

  • Been doing this for years. No one showed me how. I just figured it out for myself.

  • Thank you! I’ve been knitting for 56 years, grew up in Bavaria and in those days you learned to knit in 2nd grade! So the slip knot is a given however though with the rest I always kinda fudge my way through, yours is a very elegant way of finishing… This shows you it’s never too late to learn something new to you!

  • I just happened to have just a cast-on row for a second sock that I cast on before I went to bed last night. AND decided to rip it back so I could start with a proper slip knot, only to discover that is what I ALWAYS use! So automatic that I don’t even think about it… Thanks, Kate; love that starting with with both ends trick.

  • Been knitting Chemo Caps for years (great project for waiting rooms) and some of this will help. And some I’ve been doing already. Guess knitters are often logical thinkers… ☺
    One thing I’ve picked up is casting on 1 extra stitch at the end. Then do a simple overhand knot between working and tail yarns (keeps the last stitch snug). I then move the last CO stitch from the right needle to the left and start my round by knitting 2 tog. And follow your advice on knitting the first stitch with both tail and working yarns.

    • I know that many swear by the “casting on an extra stitch” trick. For me, I don’t use it, as moving the stitch from one needle to the other adds a risk of dropping a stitch. At sock gauges, it can be tricky to pick those up!

  • Even after logging in the save bookmark did not appear

  • If you work the first row after you cast on back across the stitches, then join into a round as you work the second row, you will eliminate the jog issue. You will still have a little gap to close up with your cast on tail, but the sides will align. I read this somewhere years ago, but can’t remember where. You will also have the opposite side of the long tail cast on showing on the right side which I prefer the looks of anyway.

    • Yup! Some love that technique. So many options! For me, I find that gap a little harder to tidy.

  • Glorious color. What is the yarn?

  • What do you mean that you work the first stitch with both ends of yarn?

    • I knit that first stitch with both the working yarn and the cast-on tail held together. Does that make sense?

  • I don’t have a Save icon on this one, even after I signed in.

    • Refresh your screen and it should work for you.

  • When knitting in the round how do you stop the first rows from twisting

    • My method:  lay the cast-on round on a flat surface and look at it VERY STERNLY. Check to make sure it’s not twisted. Then, work the first round in the round. Look at it again VERY STERNLY. If it is twisted, do this trick from Kate (scroll down to the video called Fixing a Twist):

  • What a timely post. The other day I had just finished blocking a top down yoke sweater. It looked gorgeous yet I was more than ready to put off the weaving in. For ages. I hate that part of the process.
    Imagine my surprise to find this in my inbox.
    Thanks for the advice and wise words. I have masterfully woven in all the ends and completed my beautiful sweater.
    Thanks for this addition to my skills toolbox!

  • Why is there no bookmark so I can save this article?

  • For socks I work the first 3 rows on straight needles then knit stitches across onto circular needles. I join up the mini side seam with the long cast on end. It’s a very neat finish. It saves the fiddliness of those first few rows at the same time, and accidentally getting in a twist. I’ve used this method on cowls to, but not much larger garments though.

  • I use to be able to save articles I liked. Now I can not find a way. Help. Thank You for you useful sitw.

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