Blog Posts tagged Tips



Below are 5 tips for weaving in ends on your hand knits that are beyond a simple "how-to"  (here's my "how-to" video, if you're looking for that). Everyone does it a little differently, and there are probably 100 different techniques. My favorite way is to thread the end onto a yarn needle and use the duplicate stitch on the wrong-side, but obviously there are many variables that effect the way I do this and contribute to the success of the outcome.


1. Do a little planning. With garments that involve seaming, you can easily hide ends in the selvage, stitching up along the edge then backstitching a little to secure the end. For this reason, it's best to join new yarn at the beginning of a row. Try to pay attention to the amount of yarn that is left as you begin each new row. Also, if you will be sewing a seam, you can strategically place a very long end and use it for seaming, which eliminates two extra ends, and leads to the next tip.

2. Leave long tails. whether it's at the beginning middle or end of a row, you always want to leave enough of a tail to thread one of those giant yarn needles, plus a few extra inches. 8 inches is usually enough. Use your long tails to attach embellishments, sew seams or for closing the top of a hat.

3. Block your knits after weaving to smooth everything out.  It's not always easy to weave ends into smooth fabric textures. Some of your stitches might end up looking a bit distorted but a little blocking can work wonders. Wet-blocking will yield the best results. I cannot stress the importance of blocking enough.

4. Split plies for bulky yarn. This is one of my favorite tips. If you are using a bulky weight yarn, it can be difficult to hide your ends. If your yarn is plied, you can split the plies apart and weave them in separately. Similarly, you can grade, or taper the yarn as you weave it, trimming the plies as you go.
Splitting Plies of Thick Yarn

5. Fake the duplicate stitch by doubling your yarn when you join a new
ball. This is a great time saving technique for finer yarns, and especially useful when working in the round. When you have about 10" left on your ball of yarn, join the new ball leaving about a 6" tail. Work 8 stitches holding the old and new yarn together, then drop the old yarn and continue the round (drop the ends on the backside). On the next row, work the doubled stitches normally. When it comes time to weave in these ends, all you need to do is trim them close. For extra security, I usually run the tail through a few purl bumps to keep the ends from creeping out on the right side.

Sometimes it is possible to avoid weaving in ends by splicing the ends of two strands together. This works best with especially fuzzy yarns that are able to felt.


Someone recently asked me why they shouldn't just tie a knot, trim the ends, and call it a day.

Knots aren't terrible, but they don't always stay tied and can be uncomfortable to the wearer. Also, they have a tendency to float to the right side. Knitted fabric can be very fluid, especially if you're using slippery yarn.  Over time, the knot can pull and distort the stitches around it. If you weave in your ends, a knot is totally unnecessary.

Cotton yarn- It's especially difficult to hide the ends of cotton yarn, but you can almost always split the plies as in tip #4 and get a nice looking result.
Chunky Single ply yarn- You might still be able to divide the ply in two, but if not, you can weave the end in tightly, trim the end at a long angle to taper it, and then stretch the fabric to pull the end into the stitches. Some people actually secure the ends of very chunky yarn with sewing thread and a sharp needle. I've never had cause to try this, but it's worth mentioning.

Do you have any little tricks you’ve picked up along the way? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

This is part of my ongoing “5 tips” series. Future topics will be swatches, and substituting yarn, and reading a pattern. Please let me if there is another topic you would like to see me write about.

The simplest definition of "blocking" is the application of moisture to your hand knits to effect some kind of change. The process might also include heat, steaming, and stretching, but at the core, it's just wetting then drying. The most important thing to know is that blocking will often result in a change of gauge and a smoother fabric texture.

Below are 5 tips that might not be obvious if you're new to the block (pun absolutely intended)
Five tips for blocking your hand knits from
1. Block your swatches the same way you block your finished thing. Write down the gauge measurements before and after to establish a working gauge. This lets you know if you're on track as you knit your garment. I also like to use small swatches to try out different blocking techniques. If you're knitting with a superwash yarn, and you intend to wash and dry your finished thing in a machine, no blocking is necessary, but you should absolutely wash and dry your swatch to determine the correct gauge for your pattern.

2. Wait until its totally, completely, bone dry. If you try on a garment before its dry, you might accidentally stretch it out or deform all the shaping you did in the blocking process. Blocking sort of locks the stitches into place, but not until all the moisture evaporates.

3. Use a fan. Some fibers are very absorbent, and can take forever to dry. It's absolutely legal to speed the process by placing the piece you're blocking in front of a fan.

4. Block to your own measurements. Your knits become very malleable when they are wet. Use this as an opportunity to further tailor your garment. Use pins to shape and stretch areas that could use a little more room.

5. Use different blocking methods for different purposes. I use wet blocking for most everything, but sometimes all you need is a little bit of steam from your iron to get your stitches to lay flat. It's also possible to combine the two methods if you really want to stretch out your stitches, like maybe for a lacy shawl. Applying a little extra steam to something that you are wet-blocking seams to lock the stitches into place better. It should be noted that applying steam or heat to your fabric will drastically reduce it's elasticity, and shouldn't be used on areas like ribbing. If you never intend to wash your finished thing, a light spritzing of water from a spray-bottle and a few pins might be just the ticket.

Do you have any little tricks you've picked up along the way? I'd love to hear them in the comments below.

This is part of my ongoing "5 tips" series. Future topics will be weaving-in ends, swatches, and substituting yarn. I would love to know if there is another topic you would like to see me write about.

Apr 23, 2015

Do you ever wonder what lurks in the nightmares of a knitwear designer? The villain that haunts my dreams isn't a vampire or werewolf. No, this is a different kind of monster—silent, almost invisible, and completely harmless. It's the common clothes moth. I've battled this tiny but formidable foe, at times felt powerless, but eventually took my place atop the evolutionary ladder.

To commemorate my trials and triumphs and to perhaps help a few of my darling readers, I declare this last week in April Clothes Moth Awareness Week here at Knit Darling. Whoo hoo! So pull out all your woolens, and let's get down to business.

Why should I care about clothes moths?
Moths will eat your clothes, and that should scare you. Well probably not all your clothes, just the ones made from silk, feathers, and animal fibers (i.e. wool, alpaca, angora—all my favorites). They will also eat your yarn, which should be even more terrifying if you're a knitter.

Who is at risk for clothes moths?
Desert folk, mountain folk, city folk, and prairie folk alike—almost everyone except for sterile bubble folk are at risk for a moth infestation.

How can I protect my garments from moths?
Simple: keep them clean and store them in plastic. Personally, I love travel size Space Bags for accessories, and vinyl zippered bags for sweaters.

When the weather gets too warm for sweaters, it's time to take action. Carefully inspect any at risk items for signs of moth damage or eggs. If you suspect moths, wash or dry clean the items before storing them away. It also helps to keep your house really clean because hair and food crumbs can attract moths. Moth eggs are kind of like dry sand, and are easy to vacuum away.

How do I protect my yarn stash from moths?
Like garments, I recommend storing yarn in plastic gallon(ish) size bags. Smaller bags like this help organize your yarn collection, as well as quarantine an infestation that might have come with the yarn. Inspect every skein of yarn you buy for evidence of eggs or damage. Damaged yarn will be frayed in areas, and the eggs look kind of like cookie crumbs.

What do I do if I suspect my yarn stash has moth eggs?
A few years ago, while I was working on my book, I experienced a small moth infestation in one of my (many) decorative yarn baskets. This was especially horrifying because I had been spending every waking/non-day-job-working hour knitting samples for my book. At the time I wasn't really storing ALL my yarn in sealed containers, so I felt a little like moth eggs were covering every surface of my apartment—a moth time bomb in a decadent wooly smorgasbord. Whether or not this was actually the situation, is beside the point.

Of course I couldn't easily wash every skein of yarn, so I had to find an alternative. I did a ton of research, and learned that I needed to interrupt the moths' lifecycle. Unfortunately, Moth traps only catch adults. To really be effective I also had to kill the larvae and eggs, which can lay dormant for years. Here are some methods that I recommend:

1. The fastest, easiest solution is to bake the skeins in a warm oven—about 2 hours at 150º F. This is so low, that you don't even have to remove the yarn labels. Be warned, your house will smell like hot wool while you do this, so think twice before inviting your MIL over for lunch.

2. Similarly, if you live in the south and own a car, on a really hot day you can throw the yarn in the back seat to bake in the sun for a few hours.

3. Freeze the skeins for several days at 0º F, remove for one day, then freeze again for several days.

4. Vigorously shake and brush the skeins to destroy fragile larvae and eggs. Though, if you find larvae in your yarn, it's way too late. That yarn is pretty much garbage.

If this hasn't scared you enough, check out my Moth Facts graphic below, and share it with your friends! They will think you're really cool for doing this, trust me.

I wish these little creatures didn't scare me anymore, but they most certainly do. I literally have had nightmares about them—in the past week. Writing this post has been cathartic for me, but I also hope it will inspire you to take moth-preventing measures. There's almost nothing sadder than tossing skeins and skeins of beautiful yarn, or worse yet—a hand-knit sweater, into the garbage.

Do you have any great tips for managing these pesky creatures? Well that's just wonderful! Please share your wisdom in the comments section below.