Tips with Trish – Joining New Yarns

There comes a point in every knitters’ journey when they will want to move on from one ball projects, but many don’t for fear of not knowing how to properly join new yarns. There are many reasons why it’s important to know how to join yarns in knitting, and there are just as many different ways. What’s most important though, is finding methods that are comfortable for you and get you on your way to multi ball projects.

Whether you’ve taken the plunge and are working on a sweater, afghan or shawl that requires more than one ball of yarn, or maybe you’re finally tackling stripes, joining a new ball of yarn can pose a lot of questions for new knitters. Do you tie knots in the ends or just leave them hanging? What if you run out of yarn in the middle of a row? These are questions every knitter has asked and the good news is, we’ve got the answers!!

When knitting back and forth on straight needles, whenever possible I always join new yarns at the beginning of a row. If not done properly, joining mid-row can be lumpy and obvious, and depending on the weight of the yarn, can be downright unsightly. Simply leave the old yarn hanging and start your row with the new ball of yarn. Gently tug on the tails at the back of the work to snug the stitches up and continue knitting.  When your knitting is complete, weave your ends in as you normally would. If the flat pieces are to be seamed, leave the tails at the side edges until the seams are complete and weave all ends into the seam. When I’m working with especially slippery yarns such as mercerized cotton, rayon or silk, I secure the strands with a slip knot or an overhand knot that I remove prior to weaving in the ends.

When working in the round since there are no side edges it’s best to join new yarns in inconspicuous areas such as under the sleeve or at the back of a hat. Always leave tails of four to six inches so you have ample yarn to ensure ends can be woven in securely.

To join a new ball in the same colour mid-row, knit the next stitch with both yarns, drop the old yarn leaving it and the tails at the back of the work, and then carry on across the row with the new yarn. On the next row, simply treat the double stitch as one, give a slight tug on both strands at the back of the work and that’s it until it’s time to weave in your ends. It’s not as scary as you thought, is it?

To join a new colour mid-row, drop the old colour and begin knitting with the new one. You will notice a small gap between the stitches, this will disappear when you weave in the ends. For added security, I often tie a single overhand knot with the tails which I undo prior to weaving in the ends. When weaving in the ends, be sure to cross the strands over one another to avoid a hole, and always check the right side of your work for smoothness and uniformity.

For many knitters, the word “knot” is a four-letter word. Knots worked into your knitting can be bumpy and visible, but worst of all, knots can eventually come undone and that means your knitting will too. While I would not recommend knotting yarn mid-row and working that knot into a project, I do sometimes place small strategic knots as mentioned above that will be removed. The key here is that the knots do not remain.

There are a host of different methods for joining yarns – spit splicing, Russian Join, Magic Knot, the list goes on. While I like to keep things simple when it comes to joining new yarns, I do recommend watching different video tutorials and trying different methods until you find the method that works best for you.

What’s your favourite method for joining new yarns? Let us know in the comments section below, we love hearing all your tips and tricks too!

Stay tuned next month for our post on weaving in ends!

One thought on “Tips with Trish – Joining New Yarns

  1. I pretty much do it the way you do, although I am not averse to knots. I never cut the tails close to the knots, though; I always weave in those tails, but I like the added security of a knot, especially with slippery yarns. I am experimenting with Russian joins, and am still a little ambivalent about them, but I often use superwash yarns, so a spit splice just doesn’t work.

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