how to join a new ball of yarn

Beginner’s Guide: How to Join a New Ball of Yarn Successfully

In any knitting project requiring more than one ball of yarn, joining a new ball is a critical step that can significantly impact the outcome. A poorly joined ball can result in an unattractive knot or bulk that can ruin the appearance of your work. This article will provide easy ways to add a new ball of yarn and explore various yarn-joining techniques to help you achieve seamless joins every time. “Begin your knitting journey with confidence: Grasp the fundamentals of holding your hook and yarn correctly, and seamlessly integrate a new ball of yarn like a pro!”

Key Takeaways:

  • Joining a new ball of yarn is an essential step in knitting projects that require more than one ball of yarn.
  • Properly joining yarn seamlessly can significantly impact the appearance and durability of the finished garment or accessory.
  • Various yarn joining techniques are available to knitters, each with pros and cons.
  • Preparing the yarn ends before joining is crucial for a successful join.

how to join a new ball of yarn

Why Joining Yarn Seamlessly is Important

Joining yarn in knitting is an essential part of most projects, and doing it seamlessly is crucial for achieving a polished, professional appearance. Seamless joins ensure no gaps or knots in the finished garment or accessory, which can compromise its structural integrity and detract from the overall aesthetic.

When yarn is joined incorrectly, it can create an unsightly bump or join line that stands out against the rest of the piece. This can be especially noticeable in areas under tension, such as the cuffs or neckline of a sweater. Additionally, a poorly joined piece may more likely unravel or pull apart over time.

By contrast, a seamless yarn join creates a smooth, uninterrupted transition between two different balls of yarn. This allows the finished piece to maintain its structural integrity and ensures a consistent appearance throughout.

Choosing the Right Yarn Joining Technique

When it comes to joining a new ball of yarn, there are several techniques to choose from. The key is selecting the proper method based on the project type and yarn weight. Here are some yarn-joining techniques:

Technique Pros Cons
Overlapping Join Simple and quick May leave a visible join
Russian Join Creates a secure and invisible join It may be challenging to execute with some yarn types
Magic Knot Quick and easy to execute It may not be as secure as other techniques
Spit Splice Creates a seamless and secure join with certain natural fibers It may not work with all yarn types

The overlapping join method is the most common and most straightforward technique. It involves simply overlapping the old and new yarn and then knitting a few stitches with both strands before dropping the old yarn and continuing with the new one. The Russian join, on the other hand, involves splitting both yarn ends and interweaving them to form a secure and invisible join. The magic knot method involves tying a knot with the old and new yarn ends and trimming the excess. Lastly, the spit splice method is explicitly used with certain natural fibers, where the yarn ends are moistened and rubbed together to create a secure and seamless join.

Choose the best technique for your project, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods until you find the one that suits your needs.

Preparing the Yarn Ends for Joining

Preparing the yarn ends appropriately before joining a new ball is crucial to ensure a seamless join. This involves weaving in any loose ends and making sure the yarn tails are of sufficient length for the join.

If there are any loose ends from previous rows or rounds, weave them in using a tapestry needle. This will prevent them from getting tangled or snagged during the join.

It’s also essential to ensure that the tails of the old and new yarn balls are long enough for the join. Generally, a tail of at least 6 inches (15 cm) is recommended to provide enough yarn for secure weaving and trimming.

Take the time to properly prepare the yarn ends before joining to ensure a successful and seamless join in your knitting project.

Overlapping Join Method

The overlapping join method is a popular technique used to connect a new ball of yarn without leaving gaps or knots in your knitting. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you execute this method:

  1. When you’re approaching the end of your current ball of yarn, pause when you have about 6 inches left before running out.
  2. Take your new ball of yarn and unwind a few inches from the center or outside of the ball, depending on your preference.
  3. Take the end of the new yarn and overlap it with the old yarn, leaving about 2-3 inches of overlap.
  4. Securely tie the two ends together with a knot, ensuring it’s neither overly tight nor excessively loose. You can use a slipknot or a simple knot, depending on your preference.
  5. Insert the new yarn into the first stitch and continue knitting usually. As you knit, the knot will be hidden inside the stitches, and the overlap will ensure no gaps or holes in your work.

It’s important to note that the overlapping join method may not be suitable for all yarn types, especially if the yarn is too thin, slippery, or delicate. In such cases, consider using a different yarn joining technique.

Russian Join Method

The Russian join method is an excellent technique for joining yarn in the middle of a project. It creates a seamless bond, making it impossible to detect the joint even on close inspection. The Russian join is suitable for most yarn types and is particularly useful for thicker, chunkier fibers that can be difficult to knot or splice.

To start, thread a needle with about six inches of the yarn tail. Next, using the needle, weave the strand back through the yarn plies for about an inch, making sure to go both directions. Once the yarn is secure, cut the tail, leaving about an inch to cover with the new yarn.

Take the new ball of yarn and follow the same process, except instead of weaving through the plies, thread the needle through the end of the plies to create a small loop. Bring the needle back through the loop, creating a knot around the existing yarn. Pull the knot tight and slide it down to the base of the yarn plies.

With the two yarns now connected, it’s time to work the join back through the project. Thread the needle with the new yarn and use it to weave the tail back through the last few stitches worked with the original yarn. Repeat this process in the opposite direction with the original yarn, weaving through the first few stitches made with the new yarn.

Once the join is complete, trim the tails close to the work and weave in any loose ends.

Magic Knot Method

The magic knot method is popular for joining yarn seamlessly without special tools. It involves tying a knot with the two yarn ends, which will be hidden within the knit stitches.

While this method is quick and easy to execute, it may not be the most secure or reliable option for all yarn types and projects. Testing the knot by pulling on both sides of the yarn before trimming the tails is essential to ensure it will not come undone.

How to join yarn using the magic knot method:

  1. Cut the old yarn, leaving a tail of a few inches.
  2. Tie a loose knot at the end of the tail, leaving about an inch of yarn free.
  3. Cut a similar length of the new yarn and tie a similar knot around the other side of the tail.
  4. Pull the knots towards each other while holding onto the free yarn ends.
  5. Once the two knots meet, pull them tightly and tug on both ends of the yarn to test the strength of the joint.
  6. Trim the excess yarn tails as close to the knot as possible (leaving about 1/4 inch).
  7. Continue knitting as usual, with the knot hidden within the stitches.

The magic knot method is best suited for projects that will be washed or blocked after completion, as it may not hold up as well over time as some other joint methods. However, it is a quick and handy technique in your knitting toolkit.

Spit Splice Method

If you’re working with natural fibers such as wool, alpaca, or mohair, consider using the spit splice method to join yarn. This technique creates a seamless join without adding bulk to your knitting project.

To perform a spit splice, follow these steps:

  1. Untwist the plies of each yarn end for about an inch.
  2. Moisten both ends with saliva or water.
  3. Rub the two ends together, rolling them between your palms, until they become warm and start to feel.
  4. Once the ends have felted together, gently tug the yarn to ensure a secure join.

When working with lighter-weight yarns, using a light touch when rubbing the yarn together is essential to avoid breaking the fibers. You can also use a drop spindle or spinning wheel to create a more uniform join.


Before starting the spit splice method, ensure the yarn ends are long enough to work with. If the ends are too short, the joint may come undone.

Joining Yarn Mid-Row or Round

Joining a new ball of yarn in the middle of a row or round can be tricky, but it can be seamless and undetectable with a few techniques.

One easy way to add a new yarn is to drop the old one and start knitting with the new ball. Then, weave in the ends later. However, this method may leave an unsightly gap in the fabric and is not suitable for all types of projects.

A better method is to use the Russian join or magic knot method described earlier in this article. These methods create a secure joint without leaving any visible knots or bumps in the fabric.

If you prefer to avoid splicing methods, another option is to join the new ball of yarn at the edge of the project and then weave in the ends later. This can be done by slipping the first stitch of the new yarn as if to purl, then knitting the next stitch as usual. This creates a small loop at the edge of the fabric, which can be easily woven in later.

Regardless of the method used, ensuring the join is secure and well-woven before continuing to knit with the new ball of yarn is essential. This will prevent the joint from slipping or unraveling and maintain the integrity of the finished project.

Troubleshooting and Common Mistakes

Joining a new ball of yarn is a crucial step in any knitting project, and doing it seamlessly ensures a polished finish. However, it’s not always easy, and even experienced knitters may face challenges when joining yarn. Here are some common mistakes and troubleshooting tips to help you achieve smooth joins:

Mistake: Too Loose or Too Tight Join

A join that is too loose can leave unsightly gaps or even unravel, while a join that is too tight can create puckering or distort the fabric.

Solution: Practice makes perfect with this one. Experiment with different techniques until you find the perfect tension for your yarn and project. It’s also a good idea to test the tension of the join before continuing with your project.

Mistake: Visible Knots or Joins

If the join is visible, it can ruin the seamless look of the knitting.

Solution: Try using a yarn that has a similar color or texture to the main yarn. Alternatively, you can choose a joining technique that minimizes the visibility of joins, such as the Russian or magic knot methods.

Mistake: Uneven or Bulky Join

Adding multiple yarn tails can create bulk and unevenness in the project.

Solution: Trim any excess yarn tails, weave in ends securely, and try splicing the yarn so that the join is as skinny as possible.

Mistake: Forgetting to Secure the Join

If the joint is not secured correctly, it can unravel and create holes in the knitting.

Solution: Always weave in the ends and trim excess yarn tails after making the join. You can use a drop of fabric glue or a small knot to secure the joint if necessary.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following the tips provided in this article, you’ll be able to achieve seamless joins in your knitting projects.

Finishing Off the Join

Once the yarn join is complete, it is essential to finish it correctly. This will prevent the yarn ends from coming undone and ensure a smooth appearance of the finished project. To finish off the join, it is necessary to weave in the yarn ends.

Weaving in the yarn ends hides the yarn tails within the knitted fabric. To do this, insert the yarn tail onto a tapestry needle and weave it back and forth through the stitches on the backside of the work for several inches. Then, trim off the excess yarn.

Trimming the yarn ends only after weaving them in thoroughly is essential. Leaving long tails can lead to excessive bulk and an unsightly appearance. With careful trimming and weaving, the yarn join will be seamless and secure, ensuring the longevity of the finished garment or accessory.


Joining a new ball of yarn seamlessly is a crucial skill for any knitter to master. Not only does it ensure a professional finish to the project, but it also prevents the yarn from unraveling and becoming damaged over time.

By selecting the suitable yarn joining technique and adequately preparing the yarn ends, you can achieve flawless joins that seamlessly blend with the rest of the work. Remember to troubleshoot any common mistakes that may arise and finish off the joint properly to secure the ends and prevent unraveling.

We hope this beginner’s guide has provided valuable insights and techniques for joining a new ball of yarn in your knitting projects. Keep practicing and exploring new methods to hone your knitting skills. Happy knitting!

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