I’m prepping for the final Building Blocks clue on Friday. I think this shawl is going to be very wearable! I want it done ASAP so I’m weaving my ends today!
I think finishing is an exceptionally important part of the knitting process. I don’t sweat the small stuff…unless it’s a finishing detail. Sloppy work at the end can ruin a gorgeous piece of knitwear. I’ll stay off my soap box but really, a well finished garment is a beautiful thing.
With that in mind, I’ve added a new tool to my finishing arsenal…Needle Felting! I’ll explain that bit later. First, the steps leading up to it…
Weave your ends in. I use several different techniques, in several different scenarios. That’s a whole topic unto itself. I duplicate stitch when it can but it doesn’t always work out. This is Knitter’s Choice, use which ever end weaving method you prefer!
Cutting Your Yarn
Tip 1: Always cut your yarn at an angle.
This trick helps keep the end of your yarn in place. I hate ends that pop out where they don’t belong. A tapered end helps minimize that!
Think of it like cutting flowers. Cut at an angle to increase your surface area. With flowers it allows more water to be absorbed. They stay fresher, longer.
With yarn, more surfaced area means there is more yarn to be pulled out from under the stitch holding it down (the last stitch it was woven through.) So those naughty little ends are more likely to stay where you put them when cut at an angle.
That said: If you are very literal, my photos do not show the actual spot I cut. This brings us to…
Tip 2: Leave a Tiny Tail.
Here’s my tail before I cut, the yellow line highlights where I will cut. It’s an angle, following the twist of the yarn. I always try to go with the grain. That gives you a lovely tapered end. If you go against the grain, think of the way a pom-pom pops open when you cut it…that’s what you get. It defeats the purpose of tapering the end because the whole thing goes cattywampus.
So, we’re cutting at an angle, going with the grain.
Placement of the cut is the next thing…leave a little bit of tail when you cut. Notice how my cut is not right up against the stitch. I’m leaving a little nub of an end.
The idea here is when the fabric shifts and moves, your end will move with the fabric but not pop out of place, inevitably landing on the public side of your fabric.
Seriousleeieieiey, that makes me crazy.
Now, final step…
Tip 3: Needle Felting
If you aren’t familiar with needle felting, that needle is super sharp and it’s got barbs along the edge. You stab the fibers and the barbs blend the fibers, causing their natural scales to cling and stick together. More stabbing means more blending of fibers, gradually shrinking the whole thing down into a tight bit of felt.
I’ve used needle felting to make little critters, flowers for hats, decorative embellishment type stuff. I don’t see any reason it can’t be a functional part of my finishing process though. Since I’ve started doing this, my ends stay put. It doesn’t take many stabs–10-12 on each side.
Each side is an important detail. Start with the wrong side of your fabric first. As you stab, you’re carrying fibers through your fabric to the front. You’ve gotta flip it over and stab those fibers back to the wrong side.
Done! Here’s what the back looks like…
You may notice a little fuzziness. Things are muddled, some of the stitch definition is lost. It’s the back…who cares? That end is staying put. It is never showing it’s ugly head on the right side of my shawl. That’s all I care about.
I will caution you to stab with restraint. 10 Stabs, 15 MAX! There is a point where you will start to see stitch distortion on the right side. It probably won’t get noticed. It’s a minor thing but we’re scrutinizing details today. Don’t over stab.
Here’s my right side, no sign of foul play, no ends, no over stabbing, just a beautiful edge waiting to be picked up for an epic Clue 4!! I’m looking forward to Building Blocks Clue 4! I have a feeling Stephen’s got a big finish planned!! I’m kind of excited for an instruction that says pick up 768 stitches! LOL!
I will certainly keep you posted!