How To Finish Off A Knitting Project (For Complete Beginners)

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This blog post will teach you how to finish off a knitting project for complete beginners. 

As much fun as it is making a knitting pattern, you will reach the end of a project at some point.

You need to know a few basics, like how to bind off (cast off) to end the project, as well as weaving in the ends, seaming if needed, and blocking.

How to finish a knitting project

Completing A Knitted Project

Completing a project might be simple, like using a basic bind off stitch weave in the ends of the yarn, and be done, which is what happens with beginner projects like dishcloths or scarves. 

Other projects might include more work to finish off.

For example, when knitting a hat with straight needles, finishing it off will include sewing; using the mattress stitch, you will sew the two pieces of your hat together. 

Moreover, projects like garments will require much more hard work before you finish. 

A knitted garment might require seaming in multiple pieces, button holes if you want to add buttons, finishing any neckline or color, and more. 

Cast off edge
A project with a bind-off edge.
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Everything You Need To Know About Finishing A Knitting Project

How do you end a knitting project?   

Ending a knitting project involves completing the last row of your knitting project, securing your stitches, and finishing off your work neatly. 

Here are the step-by-step instructions  to end a knitting project:

  1. Complete your final row: Knit or purl the last row of your pattern as instructed in your pattern or as you have been doing throughout your project. Make sure to follow any stitch pattern or shaping instructions.
  2. Cut the yarn: Leave a tail of yarn that is long enough to weave in securely (usually about 6-8 inches or 15-20 cm). Cut the yarn from the skein or ball, leaving this tail attached to your work.
  3. Remove the knitting needle(s): If you’re using circular needles or double-pointed needles, slide the stitches to one end of the needle(s). If you’re using straight needles, remove them from your work.
  4. Secure the last stitch: Thread the yarn tail through a yarn to the needle. Pass the needle through the last stitch on your knitting needle(s) and pull the yarn through the stitch to secure it. This prevents your work from unraveling.
  5. Weave in ends: You’ll likely have two yarn ends to weave in: the one you just secured and any other yarn tails from color changes or joining new yarn. Thread each yarn end onto a darning needle and weave it back and forth through the nearby stitches on the wrong side of your work for about an inch or two, ensuring it’s secure and won’t unravel. Trim any excess yarn.
  6. Block your project (optional): You may want to block it depending on your project. Blocking can help even out stitches, shape your work, and improve the overall appearance. To block, wet your project, shape it to the desired dimensions, and allow it to dry.
spray blocking samples of knitting

How do you end a knitting project in the round?

Ending a knitting project in the round is slightly different from ending a flat knitting project because you won’t have a clear “end” or edge.

However, you can follow these steps to finish a knitting project in the round:

  1. Complete your final round: Knit or purl the final round as instructed in your pattern, ensuring you have the desired number of stitches left on your circular needles or double-pointed needles.
  2. Cut the yarn: Leave a tail of yarn that is long enough to weave in securely (usually about 6-8 inches or 15-20 cm). Cut the yarn from the skein or ball, leaving this tail attached to your work.
  3. Secure the last stitch: Thread the yarn tail through a yarn needle. Pass the needle through the last stitch on your knitting needle(s) and pull the yarn through the stitch to secure it.
  4. Weave in ends: In a project worked in the round, you may have two yarn ends to weave in: the one you just secured and any other yarn tails from color changes or joining new yarn. Thread each yarn end onto a yarn needle and weave it back and forth through the nearby stitches on the inside (wrong side) of your work for about an inch or two, ensuring it’s secure and won’t unravel. Trim any excess yarn.
  5. Hide the join (if necessary): If your project has a noticeable jog or gap where you joined the beginning and end of the round (common in circular knitting), you can use the yarn tail to tidy it up. Gently pull the tail to close the gap and use a small stitch or two to secure it.
  6. Block your project (optional): Depending on your project, you may want to block it to even out stitches and shape your work. To block, wet your project, shape it to the desired dimensions, and allow it to dry.
knitting cables in the round featured image

How do you hide the ends of yarn when knitting?    

Hiding the ends of yarn when knitting is an essential step to ensure that your project looks neat and that the yarn tails don’t unravel. 

There are several methods to weave in or hide yarn ends, depending on the type of project and the yarn you’re using. 

Here’s a general method for weaving in ends:

Materials you’ll need:

  • Yarn needle
  • Scissors

Steps to hide yarn ends:

  1. Thread the yarn end onto a yarn needle: Thread the loose yarn end through the eye of a yarn needle. The eye of the needle should be large enough to accommodate the yarn.
  2. Choose the path: Determine your path to weave in the yarn end. The goal is to work the yarn back and forth through the nearby stitches on the wrong side of your knitting, which secures it in place and hides it from view on the right side.
  3. Weave the yarn end: Insert the yarn needle into the wrong side of your knitting, following your chosen path. You can use the edge stitches, the horizontal bars between stitches, or both to weave the yarn. Try to follow the same color or stitch pattern, if possible, to make the yarn less visible.
  4. Work back and forth: Continue weaving the yarn back and forth for about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) or until you feel the yarn is secure. Avoid pulling the yarn too tightly, as it can distort your knitting.
  5. Trim the excess: Once you’re satisfied that the yarn end is securely woven in, trim any excess yarn with scissors. Leave a small tail (around 1/4 inch or 0.6 cm) to prevent the yarn from slipping out.
  6. Repeat for other yarn ends: If you have more yarn ends to hide, repeat the above steps for each one.

Helpful Tips:

  • For projects with color changes, it’s a good practice to weave in the yarn ends of one color along the path of the same color to make them less noticeable.
  • For yarns with particularly slippery or smooth fibers, leave a slightly longer tail when weaving in the ends to ensure they don’t work themselves loose.
  • Always weave in ends on the wrong side (the side that won’t be visible when you’re finished) to keep your knitting looking tidy on the right side.
seaming knitting

How to do the last stitch in knitting?    

How you do the last stitch in knitting depends on the type of stitch you’ve been working with and the pattern instructions.

Here are the general steps for ending a knitting project, considering the most common scenarios:

  1. Knit Stitch (Last Stitch on a Knit Row): If you’ve been knitting every stitch across your row, and you’re at the end of a row, here’s how to complete the last stitch:
    • Insert the right needle into the last stitch on the left needle from left to right.
    • Wrap the yarn around the right needle from back to front.
    • Pull the yarn through the stitch to form a new loop on the right needle.
    • Slide the original stitch off the left needle.
    • You’ve completed the last stitch in the row.
  2. Purl Stitch (Last Stitch on a Purl Row): If you’ve been purling every stitch across your row, and you’re at the end of a row, here’s how to complete the last stitch:
    • Insert the right needle into the last stitch on the left needle from right to left.
    • Wrap the yarn around the right needle from front to back.
    • Pull the yarn through the stitch to form a new loop on the right needle.
    • Slide the original stitch off the left needle.
    • You’ve completed the last stitch in the row.
  3. Pattern Stitch (Last Stitch on Any Row): If you’ve been following a pattern that involves a combination of knits, purls, or other stitches, follow the specific instructions for the last stitch on that row. It may involve knitting or purling or following the pattern as indicated.
  4. Ending a Row in Garter Stitch: The garter stitch is created by knitting every row. To complete the last stitch in a garter stitch row:
    • Knit the last stitch in the row as you would for any knit stitch.
  5. Ending a Round in Circular Knitting: When working in the round, the last stitch of the round is typically the same as the other stitches in the round. Follow the established pattern for the type of stitch you’ve been using (knit or purl) to complete the last stitch.

What do you do with the last stitch when casting off?    

When you’re casting off in knitting, the last stitch is treated slightly differently from the other stitches in the row.

Here’s what to do with the last stitch when casting off:

  1. Knit the first two stitches as usual: Begin by knitting the first two stitches of your row, whether you’re knitting or purling, depending on the stitch pattern you’re following.
  2. Pass the first stitch over the second: With the first two stitches on your right-hand needle, use your left-hand needle to lift the first stitch (the one farthest from the tip of the right-hand needle) over the second stitch and off the right-hand needle. You now have one stitch remaining on the right-hand needle.

How many ways are there to cast off?

There are several different techniques to cast off (also known as binding off) in knitting, each creating a slightly different edge or finishing effect. 

The cast-off method to use depends on your project and the desired result.

Here are some simple bind-off methods:

  1. Basic Bind-Off: This is the standard bind-off method. It involves knitting the first two stitches, passing the first stitch over the second, knitting the next stitch, and repeating until only one stitch remains, which is then cut and threaded through the last loop. This is the easiest method to bind off, perfect for novice knitters. Learn how to do the basic bind-off method with this step-by-step guide. Check out here – How To Cast Off Knitting For Total Beginners (Step by Step)
  2. Purl Bind-Off: Similar to the basic bind-off, but used when you’ve been purling across your row. Purl two stitches, pass the first stitch over the second, purl the next stitch, and repeat until one stitch remains.
  3. I-Cord Bind-Off: Creates a rounded and decorative edge. Knit two stitches, slip them back to the left needle, knit them again, and pass the stitches over. Repeat until the desired number of stitches are bound off.
  4. Lace Bind-Off: This method creates a stretchy edge for lace projects. It involves yarnovers and knit-together stitches. 
  5. Three-Needle Bind-Off: Used for joining two pieces together, such as shoulder seams. Hold the two pieces with the right sides facing each other, insert a third needle into both pieces simultaneously, knit the stitches together, and pass the first stitch over the second. Repeat until all stitches are bound off.
  6. Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off: A stretchy bind-off that is great for cuffs, collars, or any edge that needs extra elasticity. It involves a combination of knit and purl stitches, creating a very stretchy edge.
  7. Tubular Bind-Off: Provides a neat, professional finish often used for ribbed edges. It mimics the look of the ribbing and is stretchy. It involves working with both the knit and purl stitches in a specific way.
  8. Picot Bind-Off: Creates a decorative edge with small loops or picots along the bound-off edge. It involves creating yarnovers and knitting stitches together to form the picots.
  9. Russian Bind-Off: This is a very stretchy bind-off method. It involves knitting two stitches together through the back loop, returning the resulting stitch to the left needle, and repeating until all stitches are bound off.
  10. Suspended Bind-Off: A stretchy bind-off method that involves slipping stitches and passing them over other stitches.

Learn everything about different bind-off methods here – Cast Off Knitting Methods.

Can you continue knitting after casting off?    

No, you typically do not continue knitting after you have cast off your stitches.

Casting off (also known as binding off) is the final step in finishing your knitting project, and it is used to secure the last row of stitches and create a finished edge.

After casting off, you have effectively ended your knitting.

How do you end a knot in knitting?    

In knitting, you typically do not end a project with a knot.

Knots can be bulky and unsightly and can come undone over time, leading to your knitting unraveling.

Instead, you should use a technique called “weaving in the ends” to secure the loose yarn tails without creating knots.

Always avoid knots in knitting because they can create unwanted bumps and tension issues in your finished work.

How to finish a loom knitting project?    

Finishing a loom knitting project is similar to finishing a traditional one but with a few differences. 

Materials you’ll need:

  • Loom knitting tool (hook)
  • Yarn needle
  • Scissors

Steps to finish a loom knitting project:

  1. Complete your final row or round: Knit or purl the last row/round of your pattern as instructed in your pattern or as you have been doing throughout your project. Make sure to follow any stitch pattern or shaping instructions.
  2. Cut the yarn: Leave a tail of yarn that is long enough to weave in securely (usually about 6-8 inches or 15-20 cm). Cut the yarn from the skein or ball, leaving this tail attached to your work.
  3. Secure the last stitch: Use your loom knitting tool (hook) to knit the final stitch on the loom. Lift the loop over the peg and pull it through, securing the stitch.
  4. Remove your work from the loom: Carefully lift your work off the loom, making sure not to drop any stitches. If your project is large, you can use a knitting tool or a separate piece of yarn as a lifeline to prevent dropped stitches.
  5. Thread the yarn tail onto a yarn needle: Thread the yarn tail through a yarn needle. Pass the needle through the last stitch on the loom knitting tool and pull the yarn through the stitch to secure it.
  6. Weave in ends: You’ll likely have two yarn ends to weave in: the one you just secured and any other yarn tails from color changes or joining new yarn. Use the yarn needle to weave each yarn end back and forth through the nearby stitches on the wrong side of your work for about an inch or two, making sure it’s secure and won’t unravel. Trim any excess yarn.
  7. Block your project (optional): Depending on your project, you may want to block it. Blocking can help even out stitches, shape your work, and improve the overall appearance. To block, wet your project, shape it to the desired dimensions, and allow it to dry.
  8. Enjoy your finished project: Once you’ve completed all the above steps, your loom knitting project is complete! You can now admire your work and, if applicable, use or wear the finished item.

How to finish a knitted garment

Finishing a knitted garment involves several key steps to ensure it looks polished and ready to wear.

Here’s a synopsis of how to finish a knitted garment:

  1. Blocking (Optional): Before finishing, some projects benefit from blocking. Wet the garment with water or a blocking solution, reshape it to the desired dimensions, and pin it in place. Allow it to dry completely to set the shape and even out stitches.
  2. Weave in Ends: Use a yarn needle to weave in all yarn ends, including those from joining new yarn or changing colors. Weave the ends invisibly on the wrong side of the fabric, ensuring they are secure and won’t unravel.
  3. Seaming (If Applicable): If your garment comprises multiple pieces, like a sweater with separate front and back panels, seam them together. Use the mattress stitch or appropriate seaming technique to create neat, invisible seams.
  4. Buttonholes and Buttons (If Applicable): If your garment has buttonholes, create them according to the pattern. Then, sew on buttons securely in the corresponding positions.
  5. Neckline, Collar, or Edging: Finish any neckline, collar, or edging by picking up stitches along the edge and knitting or crocheting the specified pattern or ribbing. Bind off the stitches neatly.
  6. Blocking Again (Optional): After seaming and adding any final touches, you may want to block your garment once more to ensure everything lays flat and evenly.
  7. Finishing Touches: Check for any loose or uneven areas, and tidy them up by weaving in any remaining ends or making necessary adjustments to the fabric.
  8. Buttons, Zippers, or Other Closures (If Applicable): Attach any closures, such as zippers or snap fasteners, according to your pattern’s instructions.
  9. Care Label: Add a care label to your garment, providing washing and care instructions.
  10. Final Inspection: Inspect your finished garment for any imperfections or loose stitches. Fix any issues to ensure the quality of your work.
  11. Wash and Block (Optional): It’s a good idea to give your finished garment a final gentle wash and block if you still need to do this. This can help relax the fabric and improve its drape.
  12. Pressing (If Applicable): If your garment requires pressing, use a steam iron or garment steamer with a press cloth to set the final shape. Be cautious not to flatten textured or delicate stitches.
  13. Try It On: Before considering your project complete, try on the garment to ensure it fits well and is comfortable to wear. Make any necessary adjustments.
  14. Enjoy Your Finished Garment: Once you’re satisfied with the final result, your knitted garment is ready to wear with pride or a gift to someone special.

The finishing process is essential to give your knitting project a professional appearance and ensure it looks its best.

Following these steps will help you achieve a polished and wearable finished garment.

oversized chunky knit raglan sweater

​What is blocking? 

Blocking is a crucial finishing technique in knitting and crochet that involves wetting your finished project, shaping it, and allowing it to dry in a specific way to set the stitches, even out the fabric, and achieve the desired size and shape.

It helps transform your knitting from a crumpled and uneven state into a polished and beautifully finished item. 

Three primary methods for blocking a knitted project are wet blocking, steam blocking, and spray blocking. 

Each method is used to achieve different results and is suitable for various types of yarn and projects.

Here’s an overview of these three blocking methods:

  1. Wet Blocking:
    • Method: In wet blocking, you fully submerge your knitted project in water (often with a bit of mild detergent for natural fibers) to saturate it thoroughly.
  2. Steam Blocking:
    • Method: Steam blocking involves using a steam iron to apply steam to your project, which sets the stitches and shapes the fabric.
  3. Spritz or Spray Blocking:
    • Method: This more gentle blocking method suits delicate or small projects. You lightly spray your project with water using a spray bottle and shape it by hand.

Learn everything about the different blocking methods here – Blocking Knits – How To Block Knitting Guide 

Knitting Lessons

If you are a beginner knitter and need help with the knitting basics, check out the knitting lessons here – Knitting Lessons (With Video Tutorials).

There, you will find tutorial posts for all the knitting techniques a newbie needs to know. 

And if you need more video knitting tutorials, check out my YouTube channel here – Handy Little Me – YouTube.

Happy Knitting!

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