Joining yarn

I have been knitting for a little over a year now and am working my second sweater and have ventured into mittens, socks, and a few other projects.  I never feel comfortable joining yarn.  I currently use the Russian join method of adding yarn found on '" but have never felt totally comfortable.  What is the best method of adding on?

 Thanks for any advice.



I used to join in the middle of a row, tie a knot & carry on. Now I always join at the beginning of a row. Even if it means there is a long tail. When I was knitting a baby blanket with 120 stitches I guessed that I had enough to knit one more row & ran out midway I unpicked the row so I could start with new ball of yarn.

I'm sure we'll hear many different methods from the guys. Thanks for opening up this discussion 

Knit away, knit away

"They say best men are moulded out of faults; and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

Warren's picture

I used to join yarn at the beginning of a row, knot it and move on.  In a book called "Stitch n Bitch" by Debbie Stoller, I learned to simply cut a tail of about 6" from the old yarn, begin to knit with the new yarn for a few stitches (again leaving about a 6" tail of the new yarn), then tie a square knot (it's temporary) with the tail ends so it won't all come undone.  Once the work is complete and you're ready to weave away the ends, you untie the square knot first so you won't have a knot in your work.

I find the "Stitch n Bitch" to be invaluable, however, I'm a bit miffed that the author gives a bare nod to guys who knit and totally addresses the book to female knitters.

 Good luck!  It will be interesting to see what other members have to say.

potterdc's picture

Hello!  I never tie knots - I knit until there is about 10" left of the ball o' yarn currently being used, then add the new yarn, so you currently have a double strand, and knit three stitches with BOTH yarns, then drop the old yarn and continue with the new yarn.  It's hard to believe but it's true: three stitches are enough to hold the new yarn in, and you never have to tie a knot.  There is also a way to weave in the tail of the old strand of yarn as you knit the next few stitches, but it is beyond me to try to explain in in text without showing you how!  What's nice about that is that when you finish the project, you don't have to weave in all the end bits of yarn.  I believe the method is taught in Kaffe Fawcett's book Glorious Knits, but I may not be remembering that correctly.  Does anyone else know?

Think less, enjoy it more.

I also like to just knit a few stitches with both the old and new yarns, preferably in an area where it won't be noticed. Sometimes this isn't suitable, however, especially with thicker yarns or when changing colors. You can also just drop the old yarn and start knitting with the new, then go back later using a large needle work the tail along the same path as the old yarn on the "wrong" side of the work.  The result is similar to knitting with both yarns except that the tail is a little less visible on the "right" side.

Another method, which works best with wool, is to untwist several inches of both the old and new yarn, cut off about half the plies from each one, then overlap the ends and twist them together with your fingers or by rolling them between the palms of your hands.  This splice avoids the bulk of knitting with two yarns at once, but is more difficult with cotton or acrylic fibers.

JPaul's picture

If it's a yarn that will felt, you can also spit on your splice before rolling it between your palms.  The wet wool will felt together making your splice even more secure.

I don't have alot of knitting experience yet, but I've just started working on a striped scarf on circular needles so I've done my first bit of color changes. I tried a couple different methods and the one that seems to work the best for me in this case is a double knit-in join which is basically looping the two ends together with enough room so that the color change is at the new row. Kinda hard to explain, but the link has a nice video. It does give thick stitches across the new row point, but they aren't really noticeable enough on this scarf that I worry about it.

I tried dropping the old color and knitting with the new color for a few stitches and then knotting the ends like Warren suggested, but I can't get the stitches tight enough across the join. Plus this method makes weaving in the ends easier I think.

Thanks to all for your advice.  I do feel a bit more comfortable about it was the uncertainty.  I have to say that the felted method is AMAZING!!!  I tried it on two scrap pieces of yarn and couldn't believe it.  JPaul recomended using a little spit on the splices so it could have been affected by the martini I was enjoying...enough gin and one could felt a Volkswagen Wink

 Thanks again to all for your help.


Tallguy's picture

 There are as many ways to join as there are knitters!  And each is perfectly good, if it works for you.  However, there are some that are better than others for specific situations.

If it is the same colour, I like to knit with A, then with B, then A, and so on, for about 8-10 stitches, and then use the new ball.  The stitches are not double, but they will hold in place really well.  You can't tell from the front, and there is a slight anomaly on the back side, but no one examines that carefully!  Trim the ends after blocking, and they don't work loose.

If you are changing colours, it is best to do it at the seam, or at the beginning of the round.  There will be a jog, and Meg Swanson has a method to try and fix it, if it really bothers you.

 The Russian join is probably the very best of them all.  It is clean, neat and unoticeable.  Sometimes knitting with both yarns together works, and the added bulk is negligible.  You can weave in the ends on the back side, or fray them slightly, and they will felt in and disappear.  This is if you are using wool!  Other materials will require other methods.