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Joining Yarn in Knitting – Adding a New Ball of Yarn

Joining yarn is a simple knitting technique for adding a new yarn ball. And since there are so many ways to do it I’m just going to show you how I do it and then you can try.  Now you don’t have to worry when it’s time to change that ball of yarn or even if you would like to change colors.  It’s really easy.

And while the obvious reason for adding a new ball of yarn is because you’ve come to the end of the old one, there are other reasons too:

  • You may find a knot in your yarn. This happens and the best way to deal with any knot is to cut it out.  More about this in a minute.
  • You may discover a thick and thin section of your yarn (imperfection) that just doesn’t seem right
  • You’re changing yarn colors

What To Do About Knots In Yarn

There may be times that you find some sort of a knot in your yarn. Don’t knit them. The problem with knitting knots is that they always seem to make a grand entrance on the right side of your work. And it never fails, that knot will probably be right smack dab in the front where everyone can see it.

The other problem is that some knots even though they may seem really tiny are basically just holding the two ends together ever so slightly and when you tug on the ends it comes apart.  If you happen to knit it you may find that your lovely garment starts coming apart as well.

The best way to deal with a knot is cut it out all together and then use the following knitting technique for joining yarn. It’s absolutely the best way.

This way of joining yarn also works for knitting in the round on circular needles as well.  The only difference of course is that you don’t have an end of the row.  Try making the join close to where a seam might be like under the arm or even off to the side a bit.  That way it’s not right in the spotlight where the eyes focus.

Of course being able to position where you’ll be joining yarn isn’t always a choice, after all it’s knitting.  Stuff happens so just work the join carefully that’s all.

joining yarn

First, check out the layout for adding the new ball of yarn

In this photo I want you to see the layout for joining yarn because it can be confusing just how to start the new yarn.

The old yarn end is lying on the right side of your right knitting needle.  Make sure to leave about 3 – 6 inches so that you can weave it in securely.  The new yarn end will be lying along the left side of the left needle. Leave 3 – 6 inches for the new yarn as well.

Joining Yarn In The Same Color

Just a note that my instructions are on top and the corresponding photo is just below. Let’s get started.

I always knit the first stitch with the old yarn.  It is a matter of choice though. This way it keeps the seam edge nice a and neat. Of course if I am knitting stripes I will join a new color yarn at the very beginning of the row.

Next, pick up the tail end of the old ball of yarn and the new yarn and wrap both yarns around the right needle and just knit it.  Knit the next stitch the same way using both yarns.  Don’t worry if the stitches get loose, it’ll be OK.  And you can fix it in a minute.


Knit  a couple of stitches (your preference) and drop the old yarn end and continue knitting with the new one. As you can see in the photo it’ll look like you have two stitches there but you need to treat them as one stitch. More on that further down. Once you have worked a few more stitches stop knitting.

Turn your knitting over to secure those loose ends for the time being. To help secure both yarn ends until your finished knitting, tie a half knot like in the photo below.
joining yarn
Or tie a bow like the in the photo below. That way the ends will be a little more secure until you’re ready to weave them in. Now just turn your knitting over and continue knitting to the end of the row.

joining yarn

Begin next row by knitting or purling depending on whether you’re knitting stockinette stitch and knit across to where the join is.  It will be the double stitch of old and new yarns.  Make sure to knit the double stitches as one stitch.  In the photo I began to knit the stitch in order to show you.
joining yarn

That’s all there is to joining yarn in the same color.

Joining Yarn With New Color

So what happens if you’re changing yarn colors?  Basically it’s the same way as when you change a ball of yarn with the same colour.

joining yarn new color

Knit up to where you want to add your new yarn color.  Drop the old yarn and just start knitting with the new one.  The stitches will be loose but you can fix them in a minute.

joining yarn

Knit a couple more stitches, then stop knitting, turn your knitting over and tie a half knot or bow just like we did above with the same color.  That way the stitches won’t feel so floppy. And you’re done.

Are you wondering just how to sew up the joins when you’re finished knitting?

Tips for Sewing Up The Joins

Have a look at the back of my knitting.  This is where I added a new ball of yarn and now I will close up the little holes.

OK, so there’s a hole.








Take the two yarn ends and twist them both around one whole turn.  You will have to adjust the tension on your stitches and fiddle with it a bit until it’s just right.  Then just weave in the ends. The same color yarn ends will go in the same color part of the fabric if you have different colors. Hmm does that make sense?

Here is the end result of the same color yarn and I don’t think you can even tell where the joins were right?

And here is the finished swatch with the new color.

I found a nice ‘joining yarn’ knitting video that may help you understand better.

Joining Yarn With Same Color Knitting Video

Joining Yarn with New Color Knitting Video

I hope this helps. Happy Knitting

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7 thoughts on “Joining Yarn in Knitting – Adding a New Ball of Yarn

    1. Hi Carolyn. Yes you can…the question is do you want too. I have done it and I must say that I prefer joining yarn near the beginning of the row as opposed to dead center. For some things of course it wouldn’t matter as much however if you’re knitting a garment I prefer to be safe. And if you’re knitting in the round I’d try to join yarn where a seam might be, in other words along the side or underarm of the garment. The main reason is so that it’s not in plain view. I like to play it safe just in case the join is noticeable for some reason. Hope this helps! 🙂

  1. But if there is no knot made to secure the new yarn with the original yarn, won’t it begin to unravel where you trimmed or wove it?

    1. Hi Kelly. No not at all. You see you knit three sts with the old and the new yarn and it works just fine. By knitting a couple of sts you’re also working it into the fabric so it will be secure. And when you’re finished knitting you’ll just weave in the end and it will work out nicely. It doesn’t matter what size yarn you’re using. It all works out. Hope this helps.

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