Leave No Tails! Three Ways to Join Yarn Ends

Knitting is fun! Weaving in endless tails of yarn is not. On this page, I’ve written about three ways to join ends of yarn together that will eliminate tails. There will always be the cast-on and bind-off tails, but we’re talking about joining in a new ball, or color.

Unless you are knitting a small item, you will probably have to join a new ball of yarn to the project. Sweaters and large items require many skeins, and if colorwork is involved, even more.

Fair Isle projects, like the mitts below (shown inside out), require lots of color changes and therefore lots of ends! It took me a very long time to do all that weaving.

weaving in ends on Stellar Parallax mitts
Colorwork mitts and all the ends left to weave in!

I’ve always simply slipped the end of the new yarn over the needle, leaving a tail. That leaves two tails (the old and new) that must be woven in when the project is finished. These tails can add up, and the weaving in can be a project all on it’s own!

The ideas for joining yarn on this page make knitting a bit easier by NOT leaving any tails. Not every technique will work for every project. Know your yarn, and choose the join accordingly.

How to Do a Magic Knot – Works for (almost) any yarn, but might not be good for every type of project.

This is a simple way to join two yarn ends. But, I would not be inclined to use it except in certain circumstances. Personally, I don’t like knots. I’d be a little skeptical of the knot staying knotted, or popping through to the front side and looking bad.

Any yarn that comes apart easily would not work as the ends have to be tightly pulled.

Knitter’s Pride has a good page, with images and suggestions on when it’s best to use the Magic Knot.

Very Pink Knits has a good, slow-motion video on this technique.

I just knit the VENLIG sweater pattern with some Woolfolk nubby yarn. The skeins had a few knots here and there and I simply knit them in. With the fluffy texture of the wool, it would be hard to see this tiny knot even if it was on the front of the sweater.

How to Do a Russian Join – Uses a needle

The Russian join in knitting uses a tapestry needle to weave the yarn ends together. This method of joining two ends of yarn seems a little time-consuming, but looks better than a knot, IMO.

This join seems perfect for any type of yarn where a magic knot wouldn’t look okay, or the spit splice (read on) wouldn’t work.

How to Spit Splice Wool – No tools needed

The first two methods for joining yarn would work for nearly any type of yarn, but the spit splice is meant for wool. The water (or spit) and the friction of rubbing the yarn, are what turns two yarn strands into one. This splice will not work on Superwash, or any manmade washable fibers.

I’ve written before about how to do the spit splice because I used it on the Warm Up Sweater and Kate’s Poncho very successfully.

On the Warm Up pullover I created wide stripes, using two different brown yarns. This meant I had to change colors a lot. Because I used this yarn splicing method, I ended up with only a few tails – the cast-on, bind-off, and under the arms where I picked up the sleeve stitches.

I find this to be an easy and nice splice to do. Unless two different colors are being joined, it’s tough to find the join section once it’s done. If knitting with wool is your preference, you must try this method.

A Spit Splicing How-To Video

Tin Can Knits has a short and to the point (my favorite kind) video below. What I do differently is unravel the yarn a bit to attach the strands. I suppose on smaller yarn like the type she is using, it wouldn’t be necessary.

A knot in a wool skein can be unknotted, or cut out, and re-joined using this method.

Do you have a favorite way of combining yarn ends? Please leave a comment.

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