Not too long ago I started joining in new balls of yarn differently than I used to. It developed because of the way that I spin yarn. When I’m plying my handspun yarn, and one ply runs out, I join in the next one just by overlapping the end of the new single with the old one for a good 12 inches or more. Then when I knit or crochet with it I just stitch as usual, and those two ends of yarn get woven in as I work. The only thing that makes this different than usual is that my yarn is slightly more bulky there, but the difference is so slight that it is not noticeable in the finished project.
It occurred to me that I could do the same thing while crocheting and knitting. When I am stitching and one ball of yarn runs out, I can join in the next one just by overlapping the ends of the old and new balls for 8-12 inches and stitching double-stranded for a few stitches. The ends get woven in as you stitch, so you don’t have to weave in ends at these spots when you’re finished! It is by far the easiest method I have ever seen to do this.
My only question here is probably the same as yours, is this a durable way to join in a new ball of yarn? I think so. I can’t imagine a more secure way to weave in ends than to make it follow the exact path of the yarn in your stitches. It does make those few stitches slightly more bulky, but, as you’ll see, it’s so slight that you don’t notice it in the finished project.
Just in case, I have two swatches that I recently made as an experiment. In both swatches, I cut the yarn around the middle of my swatch. I used my new joining method in one swatch, and the standard joining method in the other. Then I continued each swatch to place the join about in the middle. Both swatches are living in my purse right now getting rubbed and tossed around by everything else in there. I will take them out and wash them every now and again to see how they hold up to that. In the future, I’ll add to this post with results of how these two swatches are doing.
UPDATE – These two swatches have now been hanging around in my purse for over a year and they are showing NO signs of coming undone! So I think you can use this method with confidence! Just make the overlap nice and long!
Now for instructions on this incredibly easy joining method that involves NO weaving in ends!
How to join in a new ball of yarn
In my top picture up there I’ve come to the point where one ball of yarn ended (actually I cut my yarn, but let’s pretend here). In this post I’m using the lovely and soft Cascade Yarns 128 Superwash Multis #123 and a size M Brittany crochet hook. Many thanks to both Cascade Yarns and Brittany Needles for their lovely products!
This variegated yarn requires that I make sure my new yarn end is exactly at the same place in the color pattern as my old yarn end. I cut out a small section to make my ends match. If they didn’t, my color pattern would get out of whack at the join. Especially if you were making a project where you were intentionally pooling the colors, you’d need to get this right.
Once you have any color patterns lined up properly, overlap your old and new yarn ends by 8-12 inches. It’s possible that less of an overlap would be secure, but I’m not certain yet, so I suggest a nice long overlap. I tend to make my ends longer than the standard 4 inches even with the standard joining method anyhow, just to be safe.
And just continue your stitching, but double-stranded now, making sure to capture the new end as you start this first stitch.
And continue stitching double-stranded until your old end runs out, making sure to catch that old end in your stitching as long as possible.
In the picture above, the two gray stitches in the middle of that top row are the location of my join. They look just the tiniest bit bulkier, but not much.
In the picture above, my join is in the gray splotch around the middle of the swatch. In my opinion, the join is not visible from the RS of the fabric. The two ends stick out just the tiniest bit on the WS of the fabric, but that’s typical of the standard joining method as well, so no biggie.