Actually, the way to join yarn that we are going to discuss in this tutorial is good for any yarn. This join is almost invisible and adds no extra bulk whatsoever. And that makes it particularly useful for joining chunky yarns when adding bulk is a major concern.
There is one other benefit that will be appreciated by any frugal knitter – because this join is practically invisible, we can use it to attach a new ball of yarn right in the middle of a row, and avoid discarding meters of yarn that would be wasted if we joined yarns at the beginning of a row.
That benefit leads us to one more realisation – this way of joining yarns is a must for any project worked in the round.
Are you convinced already that it’s a great technique to add to your set of knitting skills?
Let’s take a look at each step of making this almost invisible join. If you are a visual learner, watch every step described below in this video tutorial.
First, I want to show you the end result. Here’s a photo of the wrong side of a swatch that has a join at the very centre.
If you look closely, you will notice little specs of fibre that mark two spots where the yarn was joined. This is the only visual trace of the five steps we are about to perform, and the reason why I call this join “almost invisible”.
Over time, as the fibres felt into the project, this join will become fully invisible, so even the biggest experts in “Where’s Waldo?” won’t be able to tell where the yarns were joined.
One more note before we get started – this way of joining yarn is meant for yarns in the same colour, but for the sake of clearer demonstration, I’ll be using yarns in two colours in this tutorial. This way, it’ll be easier for you to follow the logic of this join.
Ok, here we go – five steps to make an almost invisible sleek join (click the name of each step to watch it in a video tutorial).
Work until you have about 20 cm / 8″ of yarn left. If the yarn is slippery, leave a longer tail – 30 cm / 12″ should be enough.
Untwist the plies to split the tail of the “old yarn” in half. Then untwist the plies in the first 20 cm / 8″ (or 30 cm / 12″ if the yarn is slippery) of the “new yarn”.
If you are working with a yarn that only has one ply, split the fibres of that ply in half. If the yarn has an odd number of plies, then split the strand “approximately” in half (e.g. 2+3 for a yarn with 5 plies). Then join a thinner half of one yarn with a thicker half of the other yarn in the next two steps.
I’ll call each half of a strand “a ply”, but depending on the structure of the yarn, it could be comprised of two, three, or even four plies. To make things easier, let’s number the plies, so the new yarn will have a “ply #1” and a “ply #2”, and the old yarn will have a “ply #1” and a “ply #2”.
Tie the ply #1 of the new yarn to the ply #1 of the old yarn with a square knot on the wrong side of the work. The knot should be at the very bottom of the last stitch you worked in this row.
Then twist the ply #2 of the old yarn with the ply #1 of the new yarn along the whole length of plies, and tie the ply #2 of the old yarn to the ply #2 of the new yarn with a simple loose knot. Watch how to do it.
If you try to avoid knots at all costs, you can simply twist the plies without making any knots. I always make those tiny knots to ensure the plies do not unravel later on. Because the knots are so small, they do not affect the look or feel of the fabric at all, but they do provide peace of mind.
Now use the newly twisted part of the yarn to work a few stitches. Stop when you reach the loose knot. Adjust the knot so that it sits at the very bottom of the last stitch you’ve worked so far, and tie the plies again to secure them. Watch how to do it.
Now the yarns are joined, and you can confidently use the new yarn to continue working on the project.
Let the leftover tails hang at the back of the work until you finish a few more rows. Then trim them close to the knots (here’s how). I usually leave tiny tails as an extra insurance that the plies do not unravel in the future. The tails will blend into the fabric as soon as you start using this project.
And here’s one more advantage of this highly useful way to join yarn – having no tails means no need to weave them in! Don’t you like it? 🙂