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How to Add a New Skein of Yarn When Knitting: The Best Methods

One of the most important lessons any novice knitter has to learn is how to add a new skein of yarn when knitting. If you’re working on a very large project that requires more than one skein of yarn, this will be a crucial step. Additionally, you may want to use a different color or achieve a different texture, both of which will also call for a new ball of yarn.


At first, adding a new skein of yarn might seem like a big task, especially if you’ve never done it before. But don’t get discouraged – there are several quick, easy, and effective ways you can do this without having to give up on your project halfway through. Let’s take a look at what they are.


Tools and Materials Needed

The precise tools you’ll need generally depend on your chosen joining method. Some techniques for joining a new skein of yarn actually don’t require any additional tools other than what you’re already working with – the skein of yarn you’re currently using, the skein you want to join, and a pair of knitting needles. Some techniques, on the other hand, call for an additional tapestry needle and/or scissors.


How to Add a New Skein of Yarn: Best Methods


Method 1: Weave in as You Go

The basic idea behind this method is to hide the loose end on the other of the project (inside of a sweater, bottom side of a pot holder, etc.) without extra tools or knots. About 5 to 8 stitches before you plan to join a new ball, pick up the new strand and put it between the current strand and your needles. Knit a stitch with the old yarn as you normally would while trapping the tail of the new one on the backside. Continue knitting for the next 5 to 8 stitches while wrapping the new strand around the old one clockwise. Now, continue knitting for another 5 to 8 stitches using the new yarn while trapping the old one and wrapping it around the new one clockwise. Finally, drop the old strand, cut off the excess, and continue working as normal.


This method is excellent for textured yarns, but it’s not the best choice for more slippery fibers. It will also be noticeable on the other side and may cause itching or discomfort in clothing garments


Method 2: Fisherman’s Knot

Fisherman’s knot, also known as the magic knot, is another method that doesn’t require any extra tools (other than scissors). This is basically two overhand knots joined together. Place the two tails you want to join; let’s call them strand A and strand B, parallel to each other and pointing in opposite directions. Pick up strand A, put it over strand B, and then pull it under strand B (think of the first knot you make when you’re tying your shoes). Now, bring the tail of strand A over strand A itself and then pull it underneath. Pull tight to make your first overhand knot. Repeat the process as close as possible to the first knot to create the second one. Finally, pull both strands (not the tail side) to join the two knots tightly together. Trim any excess yarn.


The only downside to this method is that it leaves a tiny, visible knot in your project. However, this shouldn’t be a problem for more textured pieces or fluffier yarns.


Method 3: A United Join

Just like the previous two, the united join method is quite easy. About 10 inches before you want to stop working with the old yarn, add the new strand across the needle (the tail should stick out in the front). Then, hold both the new and the old yarn together and keep knitting as if they are a single strand. After three stitches, let go of the old strand and continue working only with the new one. Weave in the old yarn (ideally after you’re done blocking your project), and voila!


Depending on the yarn weight you’re using, this method might leave behind a slightly thicker row in your final project.


Method 4: Russian Join

A very popular method of joining yarns is the Russian join. For this method, you’ll need a sharp tapestry needle. Thread the old yarn on the thinnest needle that will work for the yarn weight. Pierce the strand using the same yarn and push the needle through its center for 2-3 inches. Pull the needle all the way through (be careful not to pull too tight!) while leaving a little loop at the end. Release the needle. Now, thread the new strand on the needle and pull the needle through the loop of the old strand. Pull the needle through the center of the new yarn the same way you did with the old one. Pull the needle all the way through, release it, and then tug on one of the ends to make the join tighter. Trim the loose tail ends.


The biggest advantage of the Russian join is that it doesn’t require any post-knitting weaving. It works with almost any type of yarn and is especially effective for single-color projects.


Method 5: Drop and Join

Drop and join is a simple, beginner-friendly joining method. It is as simple as the name suggests – you just drop the tail of the old yarn and continue knitting with the new one as if there was no switch at all. After you’re done, you can simply weave in the ends. Keep in mind that this method won’t work too well with very slippery fibers.


Method 6: Back Join

Back join is the method to use if you’re dealing with detailed colorwork and don’t have a tapestry needle at hand (you will, however, need a pin or a paper clip). When you get to the spot where you want to switch yarns, pierce through the yarn at the base of your last stitch using a pin or mark the spot with a paper clip. Then, undo the last 3-4 stitches. Lightly wrap the new strand around the pin. Fold the tail of the old yarn back and knit a stitch using both the working yarn and the folded tail. Knit another 6-8 stitches with both yarns. Finally, drop the tail of the new yarn and cut it off (ideally after blocking). Much like most methods that don’t involve weaving, back join is not ideal for slippery fibers.


Method 7: The Wet Splice

The wet splice, also known as the split splice, is ideal for natural animal fibers. It is practically invisible and unbelievably fast, but you won’t be able to use it on plant-based and synthetic fibers. All you need to do is spread out around 1 inch at the ends of both strands (sort of like a fan). Carefully cut the split ends to make them thinner by around a third (this will help avoid creating a thicker section at the joint). Wet both ends with water and stack them on top of each other on your palm. Rub your hands together (and rub hard!) for around 20 seconds. Once the strands are dry, they will be firmly joined together. 


Conclusion

Keep in mind that there isn’t one best method for joining two strands of yarn together when knitting. The right method will depend on the weight and fiber content of the yarns, the color pattern you’re going for, the tools you have at your disposal, and your general skill level. Don’t be afraid of some trial and error while trying to figure it out. 


How to Add a New Skein of Yarn When Knitting: FAQs


How do you add another skein of yarn when knitting?

There are many different methods of adding another skein of yarn when knitting. Refer to our list above to find some of the most commonly used, easiest, and most effective techniques. 


How do you rejoin when knitting?

Rejoining when knitting is the same as adding a new skein of yarn. There are many different, effective methods out there you can choose from. Keep in mind the type of yarn, color pattern, and your tools when picking the best method.


How do you join yarn at the end of a row?

The easiest way to join yarn at the end of a row is by using the drop and join method (the exact technique is explained in the article above).