How to Add Yarn When Knitting

How to Add Yarn When Knitting

When knitting, one of the most common challenges that knitters face is adding yarn. Whether you run out of yarn in the middle of a project or you want to add a different color for contrast or design, knowing how to add yarn seamlessly is an essential skill to have.

Adding yarn correctly can make a big difference in the appearance of your knitted piece. It ensures that there are no unsightly knots or gaps in the fabric, resulting in a polished finished product. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of adding yarn in various scenarios, so you can confidently tackle any knitting project.

Before you begin, it’s important to choose the right yarn and determine the best place to add it. Match the weight, fiber, and color of the new yarn to the existing one as closely as possible for a seamless transition. Consider adding yarn at a stitch that will hide the join, such as in the middle of a row or in the center of a garment. If you’re adding a different color, think about how the color change will affect your design and plan accordingly.

In the following steps, we will cover different methods of adding yarn: adding yarn in the middle of a row, adding yarn at the beginning or end of a row, and adding yarn in the round. With these techniques in your knitting toolbox, you’ll be able to confidently add yarn and continue creating beautiful knitted pieces.

Gathering Your Materials

Before starting to add yarn to your knitting project, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials. Having everything prepared in advance will make the process smoother and more enjoyable. Here’s a list of items you’ll need:

  • Knitting Needles: Choose a pair of knitting needles that are appropriate for the yarn weight you’ll be using. This information is usually indicated on the yarn label.
  • Yarn: Select the yarn that you’d like to add to your knitting. Make sure it matches the color and weight of the yarn you’re currently using.
  • Scissors: Keep a pair of scissors handy to cut the yarn when necessary.
  • Tapestry Needle: You’ll need a tapestry needle to weave in any loose ends once you’ve added the yarn.
  • Stitch Marker: Use a stitch marker to mark any stitches or rows where you’ll be adding or changing yarn.
  • Pattern or Project Instructions: Have your knitting pattern or project instructions on hand to guide you through the process of adding yarn.

Once you have all your materials ready, you’ll be well-prepared to start adding yarn to your knitting project. Remember to take your time, follow the instructions carefully, and enjoy the process!

Preparing the Yarn

Before you can add yarn to your knitting project, you need to prepare the yarn by winding it into a ball or skein.

  1. Check the yarn label: Start by checking the label of your yarn for any specific instructions on how to wind it. Some yarns may come pre-wound, while others may require you to wind it yourself.
  2. Find a yarn swift and ball winder: If your yarn needs to be wound, you’ll need a yarn swift and a ball winder. A yarn swift is a tool that holds the skein of yarn, while a ball winder is used to wind the yarn into a neat ball.
  3. Set up the yarn swift: Attach the skein of yarn to the yarn swift, making sure it is secure. The swift will rotate as you wind the yarn, helping to keep it tangle-free.
  4. Start winding the yarn: Begin winding the yarn by threading it through the ball winder and starting the winding mechanism. Turn the ball winder handle or use the electric winder to rotate and wind the yarn into a ball.
  5. Continue winding until finished: Keep winding the yarn until you have wound the entire skein. Make sure to wind the yarn tightly and evenly to create a well-formed ball.
  6. Remove the ball of yarn: Once you have finished winding the yarn, remove the ball from the ball winder. You now have a prepared ball of yarn ready to be added to your knitting project!

By preparing the yarn before beginning your knitting project, you can ensure that it is tangle-free and easy to work with.

Attaching the New Yarn

Attaching a new yarn to your knitting project is an essential step when you run out of yarn or want to change colors. Follow these steps to attach the new yarn seamlessly:

  1. First, secure the new yarn by making a slipknot at the end. Ensure there is a tail of at least 6 inches to weave in later.
  2. Hold the slipknot with your non-dominant hand and slide it onto your knitting needle.
  3. With your working yarn, bring the needle through the next stitch as if to knit.
  4. Wrap the working yarn around the needle and complete the stitch as usual, pulling the working yarn through the stitch loop.
  5. Now you have successfully attached the new yarn to your knitting project. Make sure to leave a tail of a few inches of the previous yarn to weave in later.

It’s important to note that when attaching a new yarn, you should try to do it at the beginning or end of a row to hide the transition. This way, the change will be less noticeable.

Happy knitting!

Weaving in the Ends

After you have completed your knitting project and have added the necessary yarn as you go along, it’s time to weave in the ends. Weaving in the ends refers to the process of securing the loose ends of yarn so that they do not unravel or become visible in your finished piece.

To weave in the ends, follow these steps:

  1. Thread the end of the yarn onto a yarn needle: Cut the leftover yarn, leaving a tail of at least 6 inches. Thread the tail onto a yarn needle with a large eye.
  2. Identify the stitches to weave into: Look for the stitches at the edge of your knitting where you can weave in the ends. These stitches should be inconspicuous and blend in with the rest of your knitting.
  3. Insert the needle into the stitch: Starting from the back side of your knitting, insert the needle under the stitches you have chosen to weave into.
  4. Weave the needle in and out: With the yarn needle, weave the tail of the yarn in and out of the stitches. Try to follow the path of the yarn in the row above or below the stitches to ensure a secure hold.
  5. Repeat for a few inches: Continue weaving the needle in and out of the stitches for a few inches, making sure the tail is securely woven in. This will help prevent the end from unraveling over time.
  6. Trim the excess yarn: Once you have woven in the end for a sufficient length, carefully trim the excess yarn close to the fabric. Be careful not to cut any of the stitches.

Tip: If you are working with multiple colors or yarns, weave in the ends as you switch colors to minimize the amount of finishing work needed at the end.

Weaving in the ends is an important step in any knitting project to ensure a professional finish. It helps to secure the yarn and prevent any loose ends from unraveling. By following these steps, you can confidently weave in the ends and complete your knitting project.

Continuing with the New Yarn

Once you have joined the new yarn to your knitting project, you can continue working with it to create your desired pattern.

If you are changing colors or yarns, make sure to leave a long enough tail of the old yarn to weave in later. This will help secure the new yarn and prevent any unraveling.

To start working with the new yarn, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the yarn tail and the working yarn together, so that the tail is lying over the top of the working yarn.
  2. Knit or purl the next stitch with both yarns held together. This will secure the new yarn and prevent any gaps or loose stitches.
  3. Continue knitting or purling with the new yarn until you reach the end of the row or the desired length.
  4. If you need to join a new skein of the same yarn, you can do so by simply overlapping the ends and knitting or purling with both yarns held together for a few stitches.

When changing colors, you can carry the unused color along the back of the work, twisting the two yarns together every few stitches to prevent long floats on the wrong side of the project. Alternatively, you can cut the old yarn and weave in the ends later.

Remember to always keep your tension consistent when working with multiple yarns or changing colors. This will help ensure an even and professional-looking finished project.

If you make a mistake or need to rip back your work, you will need to consider the joining method for the new yarn. Depending on the pattern and stitch, you may need to carefully untwist or cut the yarn and rejoin it at the point where you started with the new yarn.

Take your time and practice joining new yarns until you feel comfortable with the process. With practice, adding yarn to your knitting will become second nature, and you’ll be able to confidently tackle a wide variety of knitting projects.

Blending the Colors

Adding different colors of yarn to your knitting project can create beautiful effects and patterns. Blending colors allows you to add depth and dimension to your work. Here are a few techniques you can use to blend colors:

  • Stripes: One of the easiest ways to blend colors is by knitting stripes. Simply switch between two different colored yarns at regular intervals to create stripes in your project. This technique works well for scarves, blankets, and other flat items.
  • Fair Isle: Fair Isle knitting involves using multiple colors in the same row to create intricate patterns. To achieve this technique, you’ll need to carry the different color yarns over the stitches as you knit. This creates a colorful pattern on the right side of your project while keeping the wrong side of the work tidy. Fair Isle knitting is commonly used in traditional Scandinavian designs.
  • Intarsia: Intarsia knitting is another way to blend colors. It involves creating large, solid blocks of color within your knitting. To do this, you’ll need to use separate balls or bobbins of yarn for each color section. When switching from one color to another, you’ll twist the old and new yarn together to prevent gaps in your work. Intarsia is often used for creating pictures or patterns in sweaters, blankets, and other larger items.

If you’re working on a project that requires blending colors, it’s important to plan ahead. Consider the color scheme and pattern you want to achieve before starting. You may find it helpful to create a chart or diagram to guide you as you knit.

Experimenting with different color combinations can be a fun way to add personalization to your knitting projects. Whether you choose to knit with subtle shades or bold, contrasting colors, blending the colors can create a unique and eye-catching finished piece.

Finishing the Project

Once you have reached the end of your knitting project and are ready to finish it off, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure a clean and polished final product.

1. Binding off: Start by binding off your stitches to create a finished edge. To do this, knit the first two stitches as usual, then use your left needle to lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the right needle. Repeat this process until you have one stitch remaining, then cut the yarn and pull it through the last stitch to secure it.

2. Weaving in the ends: Next, you’ll need to weave in any loose ends of yarn that you may have from joining new yarn or changing colors. Thread the end of the yarn onto a yarn needle and weave it through the stitches on the wrong side of the project, being careful to avoid making the yarn visible on the right side. Trim any excess yarn once the end is securely woven in.

3. Blocking: If desired, you can block your finished project to give it a more polished look. This involves wetting the knitted item, gently shaping it into the desired dimensions, and allowing it to dry flat. Blocking can help even out any uneven stitches and improve the overall appearance of your project.

4. Finishing touches: Finally, consider adding any desired finishing touches to your project, such as adding buttons, sewing on a lining, or attaching any necessary closures. These final touches can add a professional and polished look to your knitted item.

Congratulations! You have successfully finished your knitting project. With these steps, your project will be ready to use or gift to someone special.


What is the purpose of adding yarn when knitting?

Adding yarn when knitting allows you to continue working on your project and increase the length or width of your piece.

How do I add yarn when knitting?

To add yarn when knitting, you can start by leaving a tail of yarn and joining it to your working yarn using a slip knot. Then, you can continue knitting as normal, using the new yarn to create your stitches.

Can I add yarn at any point in my knitting project?

Yes, you can add yarn at any point in your knitting project. However, it is easier to add yarn at the beginning or end of a row, as it ensures a clean transition.

What if I need to add yarn in the middle of my work?

If you need to add yarn in the middle of your work, you can simply drop the old yarn and start knitting with the new yarn. After finishing your project, you can weave in the loose ends to secure them.

What type of yarn should I use when adding yarn to my knitting project?

You should use the same type of yarn that you are already using in your knitting project. This ensures that the gauge and texture of the added yarn matches the rest of your work.

Do I need to secure the loose ends of the added yarn?

Yes, it is important to secure the loose ends of the added yarn to prevent them from unraveling. You can do this by weaving the ends into your knitting using a tapestry needle.


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