In an ideal world, skeins of yarn would come in the precise
yardage needed for any given project. These magical skeins
would also be lightweight and extremely portable. There
would DEFINITELY never be a knot.
Alas, I’m pretty sure that’s never going to
happen. So we as knitters have to know what to do when
the yarn runs out before the project is finished. And that’s
what we’re going to talk about today.
best join is a join that is as invisible as possible. The best
way to accomplish a nearly invisible join varies with the yarn’s
fiber content, thickness, the type of project and other factors.
If you're knitting something that will be sewn together later,
it's best to join a new yarn at the edge so that the yarn ends
can be hidden in the seam. Just finish
the row, attach the new yarn with a loose knot and start the
next row with the new skein of yarn.
But what if you run out of yarn unexpectedly
in the middle of a lace shawl with 300 stitches on the needle?
Are you going to “tink” back to the edge? I think
not. And so many of those things knitters love to knit -
socks, hats, mittens, raglan sweaters - are knit in the round
and seamless... where to hide the join then?
The spit splice
The animal fibers that stick together well - think fibers
that shrink and stick together when subjected to moisture,
heat and friction, like in your washing machine on the hot
cycle - are the easiest to join invisibly.
The oh-so-attractively-named "spit splice" is
simply applying heat, friction and moisture to felt the two
ends of yarn together.
First open up the fibers on each yarn end for about an inch
then overlap the ends. If the yarn is thick you can remove
about half of the fibers from each end to make the join less
Now apply moisture by sticking the
overlapping area in your mouth. (You could also dip the overlapped
area in a little warm water. You never know where that sheep
Then rub the overlapping area between your palm and a surface.
Your own leg in a pair of jeans is perfect.
Then hold the yarn on either side of the new join and introduce
some twist in the same direction as the twist in the yarn...
I use the spit splice join whenever
I can. It doesn't require any extra tools
and makes a join without any pesky yarn ends that might pop
An overlapping join
The join I tend to use most for yarns that
don't felt easily is incredibly simple to
work. It's basically joining the new yarn
in ends as you go!
(In the following pictures, I'm using two different colors
of yarn just so you can see the process more easily.)
First loop the two ends together so that the strands of the
old yarn are next to each other and the strands of the new
yarn are next to each other. Make sure you have enough yarn
between the join and the work in progress to knit about 3-4
Now knit those next 3-4 stitches with the
two strands of the old yarn ...
then 3-4 stitches with the two strands
of the new yarn. Be sure to treat each of these stitches
that are made of two strands of yarn as ONE stitch on the
following row or you’ll
wind up increasing by accident.
I honestly think this join is pretty darn
fantastic. It adds a little bit of bulk BUT
you're weaving in the ends as you go. And
as we all know, weaving in ends after you're
finished knitting is pretty darn boring.
If possible try to position the join in a
spot that won't be so obvious. For example,
if you're knitting a sleeve, place the join
at the underarm rather than at the center.
The Russian join
If you're working with a yarn that doesn't
felt and a project where it would be best
to avoid yarn ends completely, the Russian
join may be just what you're looking for.
Lace is often knit loosely and with slippery
yarns making it easy for any ends that
are woven in to work their way back out. We definitely don’t
Loop the two yarn ends together. Then thread
one end onto a thin yarn needle and insert
the needle back into the yarn - weaving it
in and out as close to the core of the
strand as possible.
And pull through.
Repeat with the other end…
and trim off the stray ends.
This join adds a bit of bulk and is easiest
to work in a plied yarn. But with patience
and practice and a small enough yarn needle, it should be possible to
get good results with most any yarn. It’s also quite secure. In
fact I couldn’t actually remove the join after
taking these pictures and had to cut these
two yarns apart!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
has been doing this for a long time and thinks
you probably all know who she is by now.