How to Join Yarns

“When we are embedded in gift community, we naturally direct our gratitude not only toward the proximate giver but toward the community as a whole, and we take care of its neediest members (gifts seek needs).” 
--Charles Eisenstein Sacred Economics

I love to make hats, and ‘gift’ is an important value at Joining Yarns. In Sacred Economics, Eisenstein talks about the power of gifts to keep us connected. In knitting, to join yarns is exactly what it sounds like: knotting techniques to tie two yarns together.

A purple strand of yarn being joined with a green strand of yarn

A green strand of yarn joined with a purple strand of yarn

Joining Yarns is inspired by the idea that we are all connected and that what I do for you, I do for myself.  A yarn join is a metaphor for the power of gift to draw us together in community.  I choose sustainable materials to make my knits to honor community, and I donate a portion of each sale to honor community.

Many of you find my page looking for instructions on how to join yarns, not to browse my shop.  So this post is for you, and I hope it helps!

3 Techniques to Join Yarns

1.  The Magic Knot

This method is great for joining yarns together before you have started a project, although it can still be used while you're knitting.  This is the method pictured above.

First, lay your 2 yarns so that the ends you will be joining are going opposite directions.  Then, using each end, tie an overhand knot (this is a "normal" knot) around the other yarn and pull tight.  Finally, pull the long ends to bring the knots together.  You've joined two yarns!

What makes this knot "magic" is that you should be able to trim the excess yarn close against your knot without the knot unraveling.  This way you won't have to weave any ends.  You may need to be careful with your knitting tension so that the knot stays on the backside of the work.

2.  Tie Them Together

This method is super simple can easy to do while you are knitting.  When you get near the end of one yarn, leave a little tail and simply start knitting with the new yarn (yes, it is that simple!).  Make sure you leave a tail at the back of the work with the new yarn.  Once you have knit 3-5 stitches with the new yarn, simply tie the two yarns together securely using whatever knot you want.

Adding a new strand of yarn to a knitting project

As you tie your knot, pay attention to the stitches on the needle, especially if you are using circular needles.  Tying the knot too tight can make your stitches to tight around the needle, making it impossible to slide and continue knitting.  I often use this method when I am knitting, and I avoid this problem by not tying the knot until the next row.  Keep knitting with your new yarn until you reach the spot with the yarn join in the next row.  Be careful as you knit through these stitches as the ends can be pulled through, dropping the stitch.  If you've kept them on your needles, knit a few stitches past the join, and then tie your yarns together.  This way the tightness of the knot affects only knitted stitches, not those still on the needle.  You will still need to weave in the ends from these knots.  This works best with projects where the backside of the work will not be visible.

 The backside of a knitting project showing a yarn join, the knot is tied after knitting a full row.

3.  Alternate yarns for a few stitches

This yarn join is also super simple to do while you're knitting.  As you get close to the end of your yarn, pick up your new yarn and alternate yarns each stitch, leaving a tail from both yarns.  Alternate for 7-8 stitches before continuing to knit with just your new yarn.  

 A yarn join with a new strand of yarn being added

While you will still have to weave your ends, you do not have to tie any knots, as this join should be secure.  This makes it a great technique to use for projects where the backside is visible.  Note that this join will not work if you are using different colors, the different colors in the picture are just to help you see this technique in action.  


I hope these help you with whatever project you're working on.  If you need a new pattern to give them a try, check out my pattern collection!


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