Before I model the over-dyed lace sweater from the previous post, I need to complete the finishing process by weaving in the ends.
The most commonly used method is the regular weaving in. This is the way most people are taught to finish up and usually it’s the way that people think of when they are figuring it out on their own. I usually prefer to work in the ends as I go along, and where I can I will generally use the overlap method, which means that you will work five to seven stitches with the old yarn and new yarn held together. Perfect when you are doing rows and rows of stockinette in the same colour. You could also use a split-slice join, but that will only work with feltable yarns.
If you are joining different colours, there are a couple of methods to work in the ends as you go. There is the work intensive Russian Join, or the back-join which is very similar. Sock-Pr0n has a great pictorial tutorial that shows the overcast method that is brilliant when you change colours and can’t use the method above. It basically encapsulates the loose ends as you knit by wrapping the working end around the loose end. Which makes no sense as I write it but will become clear if you follow the link. It’s a bit tricky to get your head around, so I only use it if it’s absolutely necessary. Sometimes it helps if you see the same thing explained a different way, so here’s another article at TECHknits.
Once the ends have been worked in, it’s time to snip. The length of yarn you leave will depend on the composition of the yarn. Woolly and feltable yarns can be cut off quite close to the fabric as the will felt with wear and washing and become very secure. More slippery yarns may work themselves out from the fabric over time, as will smooth yarns. It is recommended to leave a longer hanging yarn so that it won’t work itself loose. There is also the option of using a small amount of non-water soluble glue, like superglue, to make something like a little ball on the end of the yarn so that it can’t pull through. It’s also a great idea to pop a little glue on the ends of yarn that may unravel with time.