Joining new yarn is a must-have skill for every knitter. Even if you are just working with one color, eventually your skein of yarn is finished and you must start or join a new one to keep going. How to do that? Don’t just tie a knot. Knots are a definite no-no! They leave a lump that may be felt and they prevent the knit fabric from being flexible and slidey in that spot. Knots also tend to wiggle loose over time and then you have a widening hole and dropped stitches to deal with. Yikes!
My go-to join for many, many years is a modified Russian join. I say modified because I never thread the tails inside each other, I just overlap them for a length. When you are dealing with wool, the fibers of the two strands stick to each other with sufficient friction to prevent the loops from sliding apart when knitted together for 4-6 stitches.
You will have a doubled yarn patch in your knitting with this method of 8-12 stitches. The amount of stitches is not crucial, just don’t fall below 4 on each side. When you are making it, it will look thick and noticeable. But trust me, when you’re done, it all mashes together and you will be hard-pressed to find the join unless you look at the wrong side for the tails.
An added benefit of this method of joining is that it takes care of your ends automatically. And we all know that having lots ends to weave in when you’re done with your project is no fun. If you’re working on a scrappy item it can become a downright chore. Just make sure to leave about half an inch of the tail of each yarn on the wrong side so that it doesn’t pull through and stick out to the right side.
So scroll on down and see my modified Russian join in all its glory! 🙂
When the tail of your old yarn is about 7 inches long, double it over.
Add a loop of the new yarn and overlap the same amount. No knots, just a loop.
Start knitting with the doubled tail end of the old yarn.
The yarn will be doubled. Do this for at least 4 stitches.
Knit past the loop and knit into the new yarn doubled also. (a bit fiddly, but hang in there). Knit at least 4 stitches.
All done with the join!
On the WS, leave about half an inch of tails. Don’t go shorter or they’ll poke through to the RS. No need to weave these in, they will mat down.
9 thoughts on “Let’s all join!”
Lizzie I used the old way of Russian join but love this way much more. You are amazing & thank you for doing this! I book marked this for future use.
Thanks Christine! It’s a bit fiddly in the middle, but saves so much time in the long run.
Thank you Lizzie – you are amazing.
I never realised that I am doing the Russian join – been doing it for years (and I am VERY old!!!) – cannot remember where I got it from – never been to Russia (joke)
Thanks Joan! Yeah, I don’t know what’s “Russian” about it either, but that what it’s called. I’ve done it so long I really can’t imagine another way. 😊
Thank you for explaining why knots are a no-no. I thought it was just knitting snobbery, but now I understand why.
Kathy with a K
I love this technique and will start incorporating it. But, I don’t understand why I shouldn’t weave in the last of the ends. Is this only in socks? I’m thinking I should do it with scarves and other knits where we see the back side. Thoughts?
They are well anchored in this method; you can snip them or weave them in if it bugs you.
I will definitely try this, thank you! But I am wondering – when you have to change colors at a particular spot (say at the beginning of a new round), how do you determine the length of the loop in advance? Is it based on estimation?
Yes. With time you get better at estimating. Or, you can take the time and keep adjusting your loop until the changeover occurs exactly where you want it.