Joining new yarn in knitting – 7 ways

Knit & Crochet Saturday at Stitch This!

When I first learned how to knit and needed to join yarn in a project, my instinct was to knot the knitted yarn and the new yarn together at the ends. (Hey, I heard that gasp!) Turns out my newbie intuition was waaay off the mark. A knot would, over time, certainly untie itself. Nothing like having a sweater start to unravel, right about chest level, while you’re chowing down with friends at the local Olive Garden. Yikes!

Now that I’ve progressed in my knitting—and read about how experienced knitters do things—I’ve discovered that there are a lot of different techniques out there for getting one thing done. Like joining yarn.

In this how-to-knit tutorial (we’re building up an arsenal of them for you!), you’ll learn that joining new yarn in knitting can be done in several ways. In the book A to Z of Knitting, for instance, three different ways of joining yarn are covered. Let’s take a look at the joining-yarn techniques from the book, plus a few others from ’round the web.


Joining In a New Yarn at the Beginning of a Row: Method One


1. Take your right needle through the first stitch on your left needle. Leaving a tail of yarn at least 4″ (10 cm) long, loop the new yarn around your right needle.

2. Using the new yarn, work approximately six stitches.

3. Tie the two tails of yarn together at the beginning of the row with a single knot.

4. After the piece is finished, undo the knot and finish off the tails of yarn by weaving them into a seam or the back of the knitting.

Joining In a New Yarn at the Beginning of a Row: Method Two


1. Leaving a tail of yarn at least 4″ (10 cm) long, tie a new yarn around the old yarn with a single knot.

2. Push the knot along the old yarn until it is close to the first stitch.

3. Stitch using the new yarn.

4. When finished, undo the knot and finish off the tails of yarn by weaving them into a seam or the back of the knitting.

Joining In a New Yarn in the Middle of a Row


1. Take your right needle through the next stitch on your left needle. Leaving a tail of yarn at least 4″ (10 cm) long, loop the new yarn around your right needle.

2. Using the new yarn, work to the end of the row.

3. Loosely tie the two tails of yarn together.

4. When finished, undo the knot and finish off the tails of yarn by weaving them into the back of the knitting.

Other techniques for joining yarn include a felted join—otherwise known as “spit-splicing” (yep, it means exactly what you think it means). Very Pink has an excellent video tutorial for the technique, which you can use specifically for animal fibers:

This clever Russian-join technique, shared by Crochetspot, can be used to join yarn in multicolored knitting.

Russian join

If you knit Continental style, Scrapdash has a nice, clear photo tutorial on how to stitch a new yarn into your existing work:

weaving ends in

And finally, check out this clever invisible braided join from lori1551 on YouTube–thanks to ScrapDash above for introducing us to this idea!

A-Z of KnittingHere are a few final tips for joining yarn from A to Z of Knitting, a tell-all technique book with more than 1000 close-up photographs featuring real hands holding real yarn and needles (so, so helpful!).

  • To ensure you have enough yarn to finish a knit or purl row, allow a length of yarn approximately four times the width of the piece of knitting. If you’re working a complicated pattern, you’ll probably have to add more.
  • Always pull enough yarn from the ball to complete a row before you begin the row. This way you can check if there are any knots that are likely to appear in unwanted places.
  • If you need to join in a new yarn in the middle of a row, try to place the join as invisibly as possible, for example, at the edge of a cable.

There you have it—seven effective ways to join, connect, unite, and bond old yarn to new. Experiment and find your favorite!


Do you have a favorite technique for joining yarn in knitting or crochet? Let us know in the comments what works best for you.

Be sure to “Like” Martingale on Facebook for frequent news, how-tos, and freebies. Follow us on Ravelry too!


17 Comments (leave a comment)

Leave a comment

*Indicates required field