Five Ways to Attach a New Ball of Yarn

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

Let’s talk about a technique that we use in almost every project we make. Whether it is a colourful cardigan or a simple scarf, at some point, we need to attach a new ball of yarn. To avoid creating a mess within a row, it is usually best to join the yarn at the beginning of a row. There are five most common ways to do it.

The methods explained in this tutorial work great both for attaching a new ball of yarn of the same colour when we ran out of yarn and for attaching yarn in a different colour to work in a colourwork pattern.

If you prefer to learn from a video tutorial, click here, or scroll to the bottom of this page to watch an embedded version of the video.

When you are ready to attach new yarn, make sure the tail of the “old” yarn is at least 10cm / 4″ long. I usually leave a longer tail – around 20cm / 8″ long.

WAY #1

This way is the easiest one. We attach the new yarn by simply using it to make a stitch.

We can start with the first stitch of a row, but we’ll get a neater side edge when we introduce the new yarn in the second stitch.

STEP 1 (optional)

Work the first stitch of a row with the old yarn.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 2

Insert the right needle into the next stitch (or into the first stitch if you skipped step 1). Do it knitwise if the stitch is supposed to be knitted, or purlwise if it is a purl stitch.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 3

Measure the length of yarn around 10-20 cm / 4-8″ from the end of the new yarn and make a fold. Place this fold on the tip of the right needle.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 4

Pull the yarn through and slip the original stitch off the left needle.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 5

Leave both tails hanging at the side of the work and use the new yarn to work on your project.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

This method is simple but it leaves a gap because none of the tails is actually secured. This gap is easy to fix when we weave in the tails.

If you want to avoid having a gap in your project (even temporarily), consider using one of the other four ways.

WAY #2

This way secures the tails with a simple knot. Many of us try to avoid knots at all costs, but this knot is so small that it won’t affect the texture of the fabric.

STEP 1

Tie the new yarn around the old yarn with a simple knot.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 2

Tighten the knot and move it as close to the bottom of the stitch as you can.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 3

Use the new yarn to continue to work on your project.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

When you use this way to attach yarn to your project, you will see that the knot is almost invisible. It does a great job keeping the tails together, but the tail of the old yarn can still slide out of the knot and loosen the last stitch worked with this yarn.

If you want to secure both tails, you’ll need to make a stronger knot, like the one we make in way #3.

WAY #3

This way is for those who don’t mind having an occasional knot in their project when it is necessary for keeping the tails from unravelling.

STEP 1

Tie the tails with a square knot.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 2

As you pull the knot tight, move it as close to the bottom of the stitch as possible.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 3

Use the new yarn to continue to work on your project.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

This knot is more visible than the simple knot we created when we used way #2, but the tails are firmly joined and there is very little chance that they will loosen the stitches or form a gap.

But what if we want to keep our tails secured but we don’t want to have any knots in our project? In this case, we should settle for a bit of added bulk.

WAY #4

The tails will stay put if we use both of them to work a few stitches.

STEP 1

Align the new yarn with the old yarn so that the yarn tails face opposite directions. Leave a short tail of the new yarn.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 2

Use both strands of yarn to work one or more stitches.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

If you want to minimise the bulk, work only one stitch with two strands of yarn. To make the join more secure, work three or even more stitches.

STEP 3

Use the new yarn to keep working on your project.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

In the next row, treat two strands of each bulky stitch as one.

WAY #5

This way is a blend of the second and the fourth ways featured in this tutorial. We attach the new yarn to the old yarn the same way as we do in way #2, but instead of making a knot, we use two strands to work one or more stitches as we do in way #4.

STEP 1

Leave a medium tail and fold the strand of the new yarn around the tail of the old yarn.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 2

Pull the old yarn while moving the fold to the very bottom of the first stitch.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 3

Work one or more stitches using two strands of the new yarn.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

STEP 4

Use the new yarn to continue to work on your project.

Five Ways to Join a New Ball of Yarn

Remember to work two strands of each bulky stitch together in the next row.

As you see, there are plenty of ways to attach a new yarn to a project – with a knot (ways #2 and 3), with a bit of an added bulk (ways #4 and 5), or without any of that (way #1).

If you have selvedge stitches at the sides of your project, attach the new yarn after you work the selvedges. This way, the pattern at the side edges will not get interrupted.

Five Ways to Attach a New Ball of Yarn | 10 rows a day
Five Ways to Attach a New Ball of Yarn | 10 rows a day
Five Ways to Attach a New Ball of Yarn | 10 rows a day