Knitting Basics: Joining a New Skein of Yarn [3 Ways]

Learn three different ways to join a new skein of yarn when knitting:
the Pick-Up Method, the Magic “No Ends" Method, and the Russian Join Method. Video Demonstrations included!

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. When I was working on these tutorials and trying the different methods of casting on and working the different stitches I realized that sometimes there are other ways of doing things and these new methods just might make your life a bit easier or better!

One of the new things I learned is how to join a new skein of yarn using the Russian join. I’ve been knitting for years and have used the method of just picking up the new yarn, leaving a tail and weaving in later. The problem with this for me was that I worried the the join was less secure. I’ve never had a problem with it but when I researched the “Russian join” I liked how it felt a bit more secure and was super easy to do. Having said that, there are other ways to join new yarn and I have instructions for three different methods below. Everyone has a different idea of what feels right to them and it may even vary depending on your project. Experiment with these methods and let me know what your favorite “joining” method is.

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Let’s Go!

Materials to Practice Three Different Ways of Joining a New Skein of Yarn:

  • Knitting needles in a comfortable-to-you size

  • Yarn

  • Tapestry Needle (for the Russian join method)

 

Pick-Up Method Of Joining New Yarn:

The easiest option for joining a new skein of yarn is simply picking up the tail of yarn from a new skein, just like you would if you were to start knitting with a different color of yarn to make stripes. Of course, this is definitely the easiest method, but there the downside is that this join will be less secure. Plus, you'll have more ends to weave in when you're done knitting!

pick-up method of joining new yarn for knitting or crochet.png

Pros:

  • Starting a new skein this way is the quickest method.

  • It's also the easiest! Simply give yourself enough of a tail and wrap the yarn around the working needle, like normal.

  • This method allows you to join at the end of a row or in the middle.

Cons:

  • You now have more ends to weave in.

  • This kind of join is less secure and might create a small but noticeable gather in your fabric.

  • If your tail isn't long enough, it could come undone.

 

Magic “No Ends” Knot Method of Joining New Yarn:

This method involves tying your yarn together in a way that is super secure and essentially makes the two strands of yarn work as one. It allows you to join a new skein of yarn without having to weave in ends! Even some yarn manufacturers will use this kind of knot when yarn breaks in the factory.

Step 1

Put your two pieces of yarn side-by-side and pinch them in between your thumb and forefinger about a quarter of an inch from the ends of the yarn.

Step 2

Take the yarn from your new skein of yarn and wrap it clockwise around your thumb and pinch it with the other strands of yarn.

Step 3

Wrap the yarn again and put this new wrap of yarn on top (closer to the end of your thumb) of the first wrap.

Step 4

Take the yarn and bring it in between your thumb and the two ends of yarn.

Step 5

Take the two ends of yarn and tuck them around the last wrap that you made in step 4.

Step 6

Tug on the yarn that's attached to the new skein of yarn and remove your thumb. Tighten, and you've got your magic no-ends knot!

Pros:

  • This style of joining will be much easier to knit with that simply starting with a new skein.

  • It's super sturdy.

  • No ends to weave in!

Cons:

  • Takes a little bit of time to do.

  • It also takes a few tries to master (but don't give up).

  • You might get a tiny bump on the front end of your work from the knot.

Video Demonstration of Magic “No Ends” Knot Method:

 

Russian Join Method of Joining New Yarn:

If you thought the magic no-ends knot was magical, wait until you hear about the Russian join! It might seem, at first, like it wouldn't work or that the yarn would slip out, but it's still more secure of a join than simply picking up a new end of yarn. Not only will you not have ends to weave in, but there is a minimal amount of yarn that is wasted in this join. You might notice that there's a slight bump in your work when you're knitting back over this join in the subsequent row, but this should not show on the finished work itself. Plus, over time the yarn will felt into itself, making it even more secure.

Step 1

Thread your tapestry needle onto one of your skeins of yarn, giving yourself about a two-inch tail.

Threading tapestry needle with yarn end

Step 2

Turn your needle around and push it in between the plies of the yarn.

Turning needle and pushing it between plies of yarn

Step 3

Pull the tail of yarn through the plies. You should still see a little loop of yarn and the end.

Pulling tail of yarn through plies with tapestry needle

Step 4

Take the tail of yarn from your other skein and bring it through the loop of yarn that you just made.

Bringing tail of new yarn through loop of ending yarn

Step 5

Repeat steps 1-3 for your other tail of yarn, threading it back into itself through the plies.

Using a tapestry needle to thread end of yarn back into plies

Step 6

Trim your tails that are sticking out from the yarn. Now you've got a continuous join of yarn and no ends to weave in later!

Twisting two yarn ends for a Russian join

Pros:

  • The Russian join doesn't take much time to do.

  • This method is great for joining both a new skein of the same color or a new color entirely.

  • Absolutely no wasted yarn with an unnecessarily long tail.

  • Will eventually felt into itself, making it completely invisible on both the right and wrong sides.

Cons:

  • Might create a small bump in your work right around the spot where the join is; this will disappear after a couple of rows and will be undetectable in the finished product.

  • Works better for thicker yarns than thinner yarns.

Video Demonstration of the Russian Join Method:

 

After trying each of these three ways to join yarn ends, which one will be your go-to method?

Special thanks to All Free Knitting for allowing us to share their great tutorial with our readers!

 
Knitting Basics: Joining a New Skein of Yarn [3 ways]