General, Reference, Uncategorized

Ways of connecting new balls of yarn

Joining yarns is just part of knitting but holy heck there is a lot of options. Some options work better for different situations, so how to know which method to use? I know I was finding myself questioning which method to use when I was first starting out, so I decided to do up this reference of the different joining types and their uses.

NOTE: I have not included just starting with the new ball and then weaving in the ends after the fact. There are quite a few ways to weave in ends and I intend to tackle that in a future post.

 

Basic knot

It is exactly what you think it is. You simply knot the two yarns together… the end. You can either knot the new yarn to the end of your old yarn and then just continue on (which gives you little ability to control where the changeover happens), but the knot can be tied retroactively after you change balls (ie. just switch to the new yarn, leaving a tail of the old yarn and a tail from the new yarn that you later on knot together).

Pros:

  • fast
  • easy
  • quite secure (as long as you don’t accidentally tie a slip knot)

Cons

  • still need to weave in ends
  • oftentimes visible
  • oftentimes noticeable when wearing (ie. can feel the knot in the sock)
  • if you tie the knot incorrectly you could create a slip knot that is decidedly NOT secure.

Spit Splice (aka. Felted Splice)

For feltable yarns you can felt the end of the old yarn to the start of the new yarn. Get the ends wet (either with water or with your spit) and then rub them vigorously together until they felt together. You divide up the plies and intertwine the two yarns to help secure it better before you spit splice it. Need to make sure you do a proper job of felting them together in order to have a solid join.

Here is a video demonstrating this join.

Pros:

  • quite secure if you do it right
  • no ends to weave in
  • invisible
  • no bump
  • great for same colour transitions.

Cons:

  • only works with feltable yarns
  • Takes a bit of time
  • can be a big problem if it isn’t felted enough and fails.
  • No slack to use to reattach/knot if it fails
  • potentially kind of gross if you use your spit as the name suggests (but you can just use water)
  • can be hard to control where the yarn changeover happens/not suitable for colour changes

Russian Join

Works best with plied yarns. Using a tapestry needle floss the yarn end into it with at least a few inches of tail. Making sure you maintain the open looped end, floss the needle back in to the yarn BETWEEN THE PLIES. Take the second yarn, bring it through the loop you created in the first yarn, and then bring it back into itself using the tapestry needle. There is a bit of added bulk where the yarn is flossed back into itself but it isn’t usually significant enough to be visible in the finished knit.

It can sound hard and fussy to do but it isn’t that hard. I think that to understand this method you need to see it being done, so check this video out. It very clearly shows exactly how the join is done.

Pros:

  • very secure
  • invisible
  • no bump
  • no ends to weave in

Cons:

  • doesn’t work well with single strand/unplied yarns
  • requires additional tools (tapestry/yarn needle)
  • slower to do
  • a bit fussy
  • not appropriate for colourwork because you cannot easily control exactly where the colour change will happen.

Braided Join

Very similar to the Russian Join, but rather than flossing the yarn back into itself you divide the plies and braid it backwards into itself. It results in a very secure join, and doesn’t result in any added bulk. Plus, this method can be done without any additional tools (though in the video linked below she does use a tapestry needle.)

Like the Russian Join, I think it is easier to understand when you see it being done, so check out this video.

Pros:

  • invisible
  • very secure
  • no added bulk to the yarn
  • can be done with no additional tools

Cons:

  • doesn’t work well with single strand/unplied yarns
  • slower to do
  • a bit fussy
  • not appropriate for colourwork because you cannot easily control exactly where the colour change will happen.

Overlap join

When switching to a new ball you knit a couple stitches with both the old yarn and new yarn, then just continue with the new yarn. You can just snip the tail left from the old yarn, no need to weave in the end. I personally like to do this almost every time I have a tail, especially when I start a new project or pick up stitches. For example, in my sock yarn blanket I pick up the first stitch and then pick up the rest of the stitches for each square using both the working yarn AND the tail for at least a few stitches but often until the tail is all used up.

Here’s a video demonstrating the overlap join.

Pros:

  • fast
  • easy
  • fairly invisible
  • secure
  • can control exactly where the changeover happens

Cons:

  • results in a couple stitches being double thickness which can be noticeable in some cases
  • not terribly suitable for colour changes because those couple of stitches in both colours would look weird and verigated. Isn’t always a problem but it can be.

“Magic” Knot

You make a slip knot with each colour and then pull them together snugly, and then you can just snip off the ends really close to the knots and not worry about ends to weave in. Straightforward, right? Well, I have heard quite a few horror stories of where this join failed and it was nearly impossible to reattach since you have absolutely no length to use to resecure it.

Check out this video to get a clear demonstration of this method.

Pros:

  • no ends to weave in
  • not too difficult

Cons:

  • RISKY!!! You are in big trouble if it fails because there aren’t any ends left to be able to reattach.
  • not advisible for more slippery yarns or for knits that will get a lot of wear or be put through the wash often.
  • can leave a bump
  • oftentimes visible
  • oftentimes noticeable when wearing (ie. can feel the knot in the sock)
  • can be hard to control where the yarn changeover happens/not suitable for colour changes

 

View a table summary of all the different types.

 

 

Know of other joining techniques you think I should include? Leave them in the comments and I will add them to this list!

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