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How To Join Yarn in Knitting

How To Join Yarn in Knitting

zachary delorenzo |

You take your ball of yarn, needles, and other knitting paraphernalia, find a comfortable spot to sit and get ready for a couple of hours of relaxation and privacy. You start stitching, manipulating the needle in one hand and holding the yarn in the other. But before you know it, you’ve run out of yarn and need to join a new one. What now?

Adding a new ball of yarn and joining the new thread with the old one can be a mind-blogging task for beginner knitters. But joining yarn is easier than most people think. There are several different techniques to join yarns when knitting and we lay eight of the best methods in this article. 

8 Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

There are many ways to join old and new yarn when you're knitting or crocheting. Some methods are better suited for certain types of projects than others, so it's important to choose the right one for you.

Tie a Knot

When you're ready to start a new ball of yarn, the easiest step is to tie knots. This will secure the end so that it doesn't unravel as you're working with it. Simply take your old strand of yarn and tie it to the new strand. 

While this is the easiest way to join two strands together, it’s also the least recommended because the knot will be visible, showing up as a lump in your finished piece.

Create a Slip Knot

To join a new ball of yarn using the slip knot method, start by holding the end of the old yarn in your left hand and the end of the new yarn in your right. Cross the two ends over each other, then take the end of the new yarn and put it over the top of the old yarn. Now take the end of the old yarn and put it over the top of the new one. 

You should now have a loop formed by the old yarn and another loop formed by the new yarn, with the two being crossed in the middle. Take hold of both loops of old and new yarns and pull tight. This will form a slip knot which you can now use to continue knitting or crocheting as normal.

If you're finding it difficult to hold two yarns in one hand, you can also make the slip knot using two hands. Start by holding the old yarn ends in your left hand and the end of the new yarn in your right. Take the end of the new yarn and put it over the top of the old yarn, then take the end of the old yarn and put it over the top of the new yarn. Now hold on to both loops with your left hand and use your right hand to pull the old yarn loop through the new yarn loop. Finally, pull both loops tight.

Magic Knot

To join a new yarn ball using the magic knot or fisherman’s knot, start by holding the two dangling pieces of yarn together, with the end of the new ball of yarn on top of the working yarn. Make a loop with the new ball of yarn, and tie it around the working yarn. 

Then, take the end of the new ball of yarn and put it through the loop. To tighten the knot, pull on both ends. You can trim the ends of the yarn if necessary. This knot is a great way to join new yarn tail if you don’t want to have a lot of ends to weave in later.

Spit Splice or Wet Felting 

The spit splice or wet felting method is one of the quickest and easiest ways to start a new ball when you've come to the end of a skein. Here's how to do it:

  1. Start by wetting the end of the feltable yarn you're working with, as well as the beginning of the new ball. This will make it easier to felt the two ends together.
  2. Next, take the two ends and rub them together vigorously between your palms until they start to felt.
  3. Once the ends are felted together, continue working with your yarn as usual. The join will be virtually undetectable when you've finished knitting!

If you don't want to wet your yarn, you can also use the spit splice method to join new and old yarn. Simply take a small amount of saliva on your finger and rub it over the two ends of yarn you want to join. Then, rub the two ends together between your palms until they start to felt. Once the saliva has dried, the join will be strong and invisible.

Overlap Join (Knit Double)

Joining yarns using the overlap join or knit double method is quick and easy, and it produces a nearly invisible seam. This method is especially useful when working with variegated yarns, as it eliminates the need to cut and tie the ends of the old and new balls.

To join new yarn strands using the overlap join method, simply hold the old and new balls of yarn together and knit double stitches with both yarn strands. Then, drop the tail end of the old ball and continue knitting with the new one. This joining method is also known as the knit double method, as you are essentially knitting two stitches with one strand of yarn from each ball.

Weave in the Ends

Weaving in the ends of yarn is a great way to join a new ball of yarn in your project as it helps tidy up any loose ends. To weave in the ends, you need to:

  1. Cut a length of yarn from the new ball, leaving a tail that is long enough to weave in.
  2. Thread the tapestry needle with the yarn tail. Just a bit of tension is perfect.
  3. Weave the right needle in and out of the stitches on the edge of your project, being careful not to pull too tight.
  4. When you reach the end of your knit project, weave the tail back through the stitches in the opposite direction.
  5. Trim the yarn, leaving a small tail.
  6. Pull the tail to secure the end.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 for each new yarn skein you add to your project.

Russian Join

To join yarns using the Russian join method, first thread the end of the new yarn through the eye of a needle. Then, thread the needle through the loop of the old yarn, and pull tight. Finally, snip off any excess yarn.

This method is a great way to join yarns without creating a bulky knot. It's also useful if you're trying to avoid adding any extra length to your project.

Alternate Stitches

The alternate stitches method is one way that can give your knitted project a nice, clean look. Here's how to do it:

  1. Cut the tail of the old ball, leaving a 6-8 inch tail.
  2. Hold the tail of the new ball and the old yarn together, making sure that the two tails are facing the same direction.
  3. Insert your hook into the next stitch on the project, yarn over, and pull up a loop (two loops on the hook).
  4. With both tails still held together, yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook.
  5. Cut the tails of the yarns so that they are about the same length, and you're finished!

What is the Best Way To Join Yarn in Knitting?

There are several ways that you can join yarn in knitting. The best technique will depend on the project you are working on and your personal preferences as well as the pattern and type of fabric used. Need some good value yarn? Check out our clearance page for yarn sale opportunities!

The most popular way to join yarn is to simply tie a knot at the end of the new piece of yarn and then continue knitting with it. This method is quick and easy, but it can create a lump in your knitting. If you are working on a project where aesthetics are important, you may want to avoid this method. When you stop knitting, you may notice that the project doesn't look very good.

The other common way to join yarn is to weave the ends together. This creates a much smoother join and is less likely to come undone than a knot. However, it can be time-consuming and may be difficult to do if you start knitting with multiple colors of yarn.

When you get to the point where you change colors, you should finish the last stitch on the row you're working on. New color usually gets added at the beginning of a new row. When you add a different color, don't cut the original color yarn. You can leave it hanging loose where you left off.

If both options aren't ideal for you, explore the other techniques we laid down in this article and find the method that you are most comfortable with!

No matter what method or specific stitch you may choose, attention to details is essential. If you still find it difficult to understand how to join old and new yarn in knitting, you can watch some explanatory videos on our YouTube channel.

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