How to Change Color Yarn in Knitting

Changing color yarn is a great way to add variety and interest to your knitting projects. Whether you want to create a striped pattern, add accents, or simply switch to a new color, learning how to change color yarn is an essential skill for any knitter.

Start by selecting the colors you want to use in your project. Consider the overall look you want to achieve and how the colors will work together. Once you have your yarn colors ready, you can begin the process of changing colors.

One method to change color yarn is by working to the last stitch before the color change, then dropping the old color and picking up the new color. Secure the new color yarn by making a loose knot at the back of your work, leaving a tail to weave in later. Then, simply start knitting or purling with the new color yarn, leaving the old color hanging at the back of your work. This method is great for creating clean color changes with minimal bulk.

Another method is the “intarsia” technique, which involves using bobbins or separate balls of yarn for each color block. This is commonly used for intricate colorwork and allows for more precise color placement. To change color using the intarsia technique, drop the current color yarn and pick up the new color yarn, twisting the two yarns together to secure the new color. Continue knitting or purling with the new color until the pattern calls for a color change, then repeat the process.

Step 1: Selecting the Right Yarn for Color Change

In order to successfully change colors in your knitting project, it is important to choose the right yarn that will work well for color changes. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Yarn Type: Different yarn types have different properties and may affect how well the color change appears. It is generally best to choose a yarn that has good color saturation and doesn’t bleed or fade easily.
  • Color Availability: Make sure the yarn you choose comes in the colors you want for your color change. Check the color options available and select yarns that complement each other well.
  • Fiber Composition: The fiber content of the yarn can also impact the color change. Natural fibers like wool and cotton may absorb dye differently than synthetic fibers like acrylic or nylon. Consider how the fiber composition will affect the appearance of the color change.
  • Weight and Thickness: The weight and thickness of the yarn are important factors to consider when selecting yarn for color changes. Make sure the new color yarn you choose is of a similar weight and thickness as the original yarn to ensure an even and consistent fabric.

By considering these factors when selecting yarn for color change, you can ensure that the transition between colors in your knitting project looks seamless and professional.

Step 2: Planning the Color Change Pattern

Changing colors in knitting can be a fun way to add visual interest and create unique designs in your projects. Before you start knitting with a new color, it’s important to plan and decide on the color change pattern you want to use. Here are some steps to help you plan your color change pattern:

  • Select your colors: Choose the yarn colors you want to use in your project. Consider the overall look you want to achieve and how the colors will complement each other.
  • Determine the order: Decide on the sequence in which you want the colors to appear. You can create stripes, gradients, or other patterns by changing colors at specific intervals.
  • Count your stitches: Calculate the number of stitches between each color change. This will depend on your desired pattern and the gauge of your knitting. You may want to make a swatch to determine how many stitches you need for each color segment.
  • Create a color change chart: Use a chart or a written pattern to visually represent your color change pattern. This can help you keep track of when to switch colors and how many rows to knit in each color.
  • Consider carrying yarn: If you’re only changing colors for a few rows, you can carry the unused yarn up the side of your work instead of cutting and joining it each time. This can save time and reduce the number of ends to weave in.

Remember, planning your color change pattern in advance will make the knitting process smoother and help you achieve the desired effect in your project. Take your time to experiment and have fun with different color combinations!

Step 3: Preparing Yarns for Color Change

Before you begin the color change process, it’s important to properly prepare your yarns. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Gather your yarns: Make sure you have the new color yarn that you’ll be changing to and the current color yarn that you’ll be changing from.
  2. Secure the new color yarn: Take the end of the new color yarn and tie it to the end of the current color yarn using a double knot. This will ensure that they are securely connected.
  3. Leave a tail: Leave a tail of about 6 inches from the knot to make it easier to weave in later.
  4. Wind the new color yarn: Begin winding the new color yarn into a ball or a cake. This will make it easier to work with as you continue knitting.
  5. Keep the yarn organized: If you’re using multiple colors in your project, it can be helpful to separate and organize your yarns to prevent tangling. You can use yarn bobbins or small bags to keep each color separate.

By following these steps, you’ll be ready to smoothly transition from one color to another in your knitting project.

Step 4: Changing Color Yarn in Knitting

Once you have mastered the basic knitting techniques, you may want to add more visual interest to your projects by introducing new colors. Changing yarn colors in knitting is a simple process that can create stunning designs and patterns.

Follow these step-by-step instructions to change color yarn in your knitting project:

  1. Begin knitting with the current color until you reach the point where you want to change colors.
  2. Take the new yarn color and leave a tail that is approximately 6 inches long.
  3. Hold both the old and new yarn colors together, with the old yarn on top and the new yarn on the bottom.
  4. Insert the right needle into the next stitch as if to knit, but instead of using the old yarn color, use the new yarn color to create a loop on the right needle.
  5. Continue knitting with the new yarn color, leaving the old yarn color hanging loosely at the back of your work.
  6. Knit a few stitches with the new yarn color to secure it in place.
  7. Continue knitting with the new yarn color until you reach the desired length or reach the next color change point.
  8. When you are ready to change colors again, repeat steps 2-7.

Pro tips:

  • When changing colors, make sure to leave a tail of the old color long enough to weave in later and secure it in place.
  • Keep an eye on tension while changing colors to ensure an even and smooth finished result.
  • If you prefer to work with a color chart, create a chart indicating when and where to change colors in your pattern.

Changing color yarn in knitting allows you to create beautiful and intricate designs that will impress others. Take your time and practice this technique to add more creativity to your knitting projects.

Step 5: Securing Loose Ends of Yarn

After changing colors in your knitting project, it is important to secure the loose ends of yarn to avoid unraveling and ensure a neat finish. Here is how you can secure the loose ends:

  1. Thread the loose end: Take the loose end of the old yarn and thread it onto a yarn needle. This will make it easier to weave the end into your work.
  2. Weave the loose end: Insert the yarn needle under a few stitches on the wrong side of your work. Make sure to follow the same path as the existing stitches to maintain a seamless appearance.
  3. Weave in the ends: Continue weaving the loose end back and forth through the stitches for about an inch. This will help secure the yarn and prevent it from unraveling.
  4. Trim the excess: Once you have woven in the loose end, trim the excess yarn close to the fabric. Be careful not to cut the working yarn or any stitches.

Repeat the above steps for any other loose ends of yarn in your project, including the new yarn that you have just started using. By securing the loose ends properly, you can ensure that your knitting project stays intact and has a professional-looking finish.

Step 6: Continuing Knitting with the New Color

Once you have joined the new color yarn and completed the first row with it, you can continue knitting as usual.

Here are the steps to continue knitting with the new color:

  1. Hold the working yarn of the new color in your right hand.
  2. Insert the right needle into the next stitch as if to knit.
  3. Take the working yarn with your right hand and wrap it around the right needle counterclockwise.
  4. Use the right needle to pull the wrapped yarn through the stitch, forming a new loop on the right needle.
  5. Slide the old stitch off the left needle, transferring it to the right needle.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for each stitch, knitting across the row with the new color.
  7. Continue knitting with the new color until you reach the desired length or until the pattern instructs you to change colors again.

Remember to keep tension in your yarn as you knit with the new color to ensure even stitches.

When changing colors, remember to carry the unused yarn up the side of your work, twisting it around the working yarn to prevent holes.

Following these steps will allow you to seamlessly transition between colors and create beautiful designs in your knitting project.

Step 7: Finishing and Blocking the Knitted Piece

After completing your color change and knitting the desired number of rows or stitches, it’s time to finish and block your knitted piece. This step is essential to give your creation a polished and professional look.

1. Bind Off:

To finish your knitting, you’ll need to bind off. Follow the instructions for your chosen bind-off method to secure the stitches and create a neat edge. This will prevent the piece from unraveling.

2. Weave in Ends:

Next, take a tapestry needle and weave in any loose ends of yarn. This will give your piece a cleaner appearance and secure the ends so that they don’t come undone over time.

3. Blocking:

Blocking is the process of shaping and resizing your knitted piece to achieve the desired size and shape. Below are two common methods of blocking:

  • Wet Blocking: Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and soak your knitted piece for about 15-20 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess water, being careful not to wring or twist the fabric. Lay the piece flat on a clean towel and gently press out any remaining water. Pin the edges of the fabric to the desired dimensions using blocking pins or T-pins, and leave it to dry completely.
  • Steam Blocking: If you prefer not to wet your knitted piece, you can use a steam iron or a garment steamer to block it. Hold the iron or steamer a few inches above the fabric and gently steam the surface, being careful not to touch the iron or steamer directly to the piece. After steaming, reshape the fabric as needed and let it cool and dry completely.

4. Finishing Touches:

Once your knitted piece is dry and the blocking is complete, examine it for any imperfections or uneven tension. Use a crochet hook or knitting needle to adjust any loose stitches or uneven edges.

Congrats! You have successfully changed color yarn in your knitting and finished and blocked your piece. Now you can proudly show off your beautiful and professionally finished creation!


What is the best way to change color yarn in knitting?

The best way to change color yarn in knitting is to do it at the beginning of a new row. This creates a clean and seamless transition between the two colors.

Can I change color yarn in the middle of a row?

Yes, you can change color yarn in the middle of a row. However, keep in mind that this will create a visible seam or line where the two colors meet. If you want a more seamless transition, it’s best to change colors at the beginning of a new row.

How do I secure the tails of color yarn when changing colors?

To secure the tails of color yarn when changing colors, you can either weave them in using a tapestry needle or tie them in a knot and trim the excess. The method you choose will depend on the type of project you are working on and your personal preference.

Are there any tips for choosing colors that go well together in knitting?

When choosing colors that go well together in knitting, consider using a color wheel as a guide. Complementary colors, which are located opposite each other on the color wheel, often create a vibrant and eye-catching combination. You can also experiment with different shades and tones of the same color for a more subtle and cohesive look.


How to Knit: How to Change Color When Knitting (English Style)

Knitting Help – Changing Colors

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