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How to Join Yarn while Knitting in the Round

Learn how to join yarn while knitting in the round from circular knitting expert Jessica Kaufman in this Howcast video.


So I'm going to show you how to join a new ball of yarn while you're knitting in the round. There's a couple different methods for doing this. Everyone's got their own ways that they prefer, but I'll show you the way that I always use that yields me great results. So I'm going to show you on this double-pointed needle example where I'm knitting around and around in knit two pearl two ribbing. I have just finished a needle, so I have an empty needle and I'm ready to turn my work one needle turn and work across the next needle.

Now I've noticed that this yarn, the end of my ball is coming up. It's gotten really short. I can keep knitting for a while because I want to leave a tail, just long enough for me to weave in with a tapestry needle. But it's better to air on the side of a little too long of a tail because you can always trim it, then to knit down until you've got just a little bit, which is going to be really difficult to weave in later. If that ever accidentally happens to you, it's okay.

You can use a crochet hook to kind of help you weave in those ends, but I like to leave a tail that's at least, you know, four inches long, maybe about six, which will be a lot easier to use a tapestry needle. So, I'm going to pick up my empty needle, and what I like to do is I don't like to have old balls end or new balls join in between the needles. It just gives you sort of added instability that you don't need when you're already dealing with potential ladders or stitches falling off. You don't want to get any accidental yarn-overs when you're switching between knits and pearls. So I'm going to knit until I'm in the middle of this row, and then join my new ball of yarn. So here we go. I've got knit two pearl to knit two, and I think I'll end one ball there and join the new ball there.

So, I'm going to be ignoring the two back needles, they're just there as placeholders, or stitch holders as it were. I'm going to knit two, move the yarn, pearl two on this little cuff, move the yarn. I'm going to knit one, and even though I could keep going for a few more stitches, I'm going to stop here, again I can always trim it up if it's in my way or when I'm ready to weave it in, and so, what I do, this is probably the simplest method of changing, joining a new ball of yarn, I just stop knitting with this one, I pick up the end of the new ball of yarn, and I start knitting with this one. There's a little more to it than that, so I'll show you some of the, the close-ups. In order to join the new ball of yarn, it's important that I insert my right stitch, my right needle tip into the stitch to hold it there, and then I'm going to drape the new yarn around the needle, almost as if I was wrapping the new stitch. So this is what's going to anchor it. You'll notice the little tail is hanging down behind my fingers, in the back of my work. I'm pinching it there to hold it tight. If I don't, there's no way I can wrap it around because nothing's anchoring it. So I'm going to anchor that new yarn, drape it over the needle just like I would if I were continuing to knit with my old yarn, pull up a new loop from the new yarn, pop the old stitch off. So now, I've got my first knit stitch here, where I ended the old ball, and my second knit stitch here where I added the new ball, and in the back of my work, I've got two tails hanging down.

So let's see what happens when we get back around to them. I'm going to go ahead and finish this round. I'm going to pearl two, knit two, and now I finish an empty needle, I'm going to turn one, and I'm going to continue to finish the round. Okay, so I have finished my, the last needle, and now I'm coming up to the point again where I changed balls of yarn. So I'm going to knit up to that point, and right now the stitches I'm knitting on were all from the same ball of yarn so they feel nice. They have like a nice tension because I'm making fabric with them. But, when I get to these two, they're not anchored in anything. They just have tails hanging down here. So when I stick my needle in this one, it's going to feel a loose, and just kind of disconnected. That's A-okay. Knit it anyway.

Here I'm going to knit my next one with a new ball of yarn tail. It's also going to feel loose and crazy. Don't worry. That's absolutely normal. Knit the next stitch, and now, I'm going to just give a gentle tug on those tails, and you'll see that it pulls right into line. You might have to do it one more time when you get back around. Just give a little tug, not too much, you don't want to over tighten the stitch and have them, have them be smaller and tighter than all of your other ones, but that's all you need to do. Once you get a few rounds beyond it, it's all going to feel part of the same fabric, and when you're done with your knitting project, you can weave these ends in on the wrong side of the work, and therefor it will be secure, you don't have to tie a knot, and you can continue knitting with your fresh new ball of yarn. So that's how to add yarn while knitting in the round.

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