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There are loads of tips and tricks and “right ways” for weaving in ends, but Jen and I have fallen in love with the duplicate stitch method.  This technique is often used on the right (public) side of the work to add details like names on a holiday stocking or small pops of color in areas where stranded colorwork or intarsia just aren’t appropriate.  Used on the wrong side however, duplicate stitch results in ends that are well secured and nearly invisible.  Thank you, Master Knitting Program!

Let’s give it a try!  Here’s the Admiral’s Knot Halter tank top (by prolific Boston designer Ashley Rao) I’ve been working on as part of our FAL this month.  It’s a nice bright aqua color, knit in Tahki’s Cotton Classic, and has several ends to weave in!  First, I’ll take a good look at where my ends are located and how they lie.  Let me explain: if you start your new yarn like I do, by simply leaving a long tail of the old and beginning to knit with the new, you’ll have two ends headed in opposite directions with a small gap between them.  Weave the wrong way and this will become a hole!  We’ll aim to weave the ends in opposite directions, closing the gap and avoiding a weak spot in the garment.
Tails Causing a HoleNote that the tails are pulled away from each other, causing a hole to form.     Tails Crossed to Avoid HoleTails crossed over each other, preventing a hole and strengthening the garment!

We’ll be weaving in the first end heading towards the left, following (or duplicating) the pathway of an existing row of stitches.  It’s a serpentine pathway, weaving in a looping, predictable way that you’ll soon get used to!

First, be clear on which row you’re duplicating.  It should be located right where the tail is attached.  Following the pathway of the first purl bump, we’ll swoop up and to the right.  Gently tighten, taking care that your tail doesn’t jump to the front of the work and become visible.  Now, curve down and to the right.  Gently tighten.  Again, head up and to the right.  Gently tighten.  Now, curve down again and to the right.  Continue in this manner, gently curving with the existing row of stitches for approximately 2″.  Gently stretch and smooth your knitting, then cut your tail close to the fabric (note that the key here is gently).

When weaving towards the right, simply reverse the procedures listed here.  You’ll be moving to the right while swooping your yarn needle up and to the left, then down and to the left.  It’s a bit like going forwards one step, then back half a step.  Remember to take your time, and as with any new technique, practice is key!

Finally, here’s a shot of the whole serpentine pathway, worked in white scrap yarn on my aqua sweater for contrast:
Duplicate Stitch Contrast ColorFor further reading, check out Theresa Vinson Stenersen’s article on knitty.com or see Kathryn Mates’s article in the February-April 2008 issue of Cast On, available for free in the members only section at tkga.com.