Learn the quickest and easiest way how to change yarn in crochet- whether you want to change colors, or just add in the next skein of yarn when one is finished. You can choose to crochet your garment or blanket in just one color, which can be very elegant and sophisticated. But even if you do this, you will at some stage come to the end of one skein of yarn and need to join in another one.
How to Change Yarn in Crochet
One of the wonderful things that give crochet its own special character, however, is the beautiful work you can do with a whole array of colors. Whether you choose to work in ombre shades or bright rainbow colors, there is no denying that color changes create a special look in crochet. Especially so when creating blankets, whether granny square style or blankets worked in rows.
Because of this, it is important to learn the best methods of changing yarn seamlessly. Just tying a big old knot is a no-no! It is really untidy to look at, and creates lumps in your work with tails at the back!
Method 1 - How to Change Yarn in Crochet Easily
This is the easiest method, but the disadvantage is that it may come unraveled if you are not very careful about tucking away those loose ends! This method is the most suitable to use when you don’t have too much color contrast between your colors.
When you get to the last step of the last stitch before you change the yarn, you will loop the new yarn on your hook and bring it through for that last step of the stitch. Then you will cover the loose ends with crochet stitches. Here is this method in more detail:
- The last step of your stitch, you will only have 2 loops left on your hook.
2. Wrap the new color (or new ball of yarn) around the hook, just as though you are going to finish that stitch. Leave a long tail of yarn.
3. Pull the new yarn through the 2 loops on your hook.
4. Continue with your pattern, working your stitches over the top of your loose ends. These stitches will hold the ends in place.
5. Once you have crocheted enough stitches to cover your loose ends, trim those ends close to the fabric. Alternately, you can use a tapestry needle to weave in those loose ends, firmly between the loops of the crochet stitches.
If you are doing a repetitive stripe pattern, and each stripe has an even number of rows, you don’t need to cut the yarn when changing colors. You can just carry it up the side of the fabric until you need to use it again. This saves a lot of weaving in! However, it will only work with relatively narrow stripes. If your stripes are really wide, or it will be many rows before you use that color again, rather cut the yarn and crochet over the ends, or weave them in.
Method 2 - The Magic Knot
I’m not really sure why so many crochet terms are called ‘magic’, but this is completely different from the ‘magic ring’ method of starting your work!
1. Cut your working yarn to about 10” (25 cm). Or, if you are simply starting a new skein of yarn the same color, leave yourself about 10” (25cm) to work with. You will not need this entire length, but it is easier to work with a longer end of yarn.
2. Lay the yarns parallel to each other, one coming from left to right, the other from right to left.
3. Make a loop with the ‘old’ yarn by placing it under the ‘new’ yarn, then over the new yarn, then over itself.
4. Pull the end through this loop, making a small knot with the old yarn. Pull it tight.
5. Now make the same kind of loop with the new yarn. Place it over the old yarn, then under the old yarn, and under itself.
6. Pull the end through the loop, as before, and make a small knot with the new yarn. Pull it tight. You now have 2 small knots.
7. Take the old yarn in one hand and the new yarn in the other hand and pull the knots towards each other. Pull it tightly.
It seems impossible that this will actually hold, but it does, very well. You can trim your ends really close to the knot and it will still hold. Just be careful not to cut through your newly joined working yarn, or through the knot itself. It forms a very discreet and tidy knot which does not show once you have worked the yarn into the stitch pattern.
Method 3 - The Russian Join
- Thread your ‘old’ yarn onto a sharp needle. Although we usually use a blunt tip tapestry needle for crochet, this time it needs to be sharp to work its way through the plies of the yarn. A chenille needle will work well for this, if you have one.
- Working backward along the yarn, thread the needle through the center of the yarn, through the plies, for about 2-3” (5- 7.5 cm). Your yarn may split a bit while you are doing this, but it can be evened out later, and will also be disguised once this is worked into the stitch pattern.
- Gently pull the needle through the yarn, leaving a loop. Remove the needle.
- Thread the new yarn into the needle, and thread this through the loop you made with the old yarn.
- Now do the same with the new yarn, threading the needle through the plies of yarn for about 2-3” (5- 7.5 cm).
- Smooth out the join by pulling on both threads. If it still looks a little lumpy or split, flatten it with your fingernail.
- Trim any loose ends.
Method 4 - Change Yarn In Granny Squares
The above methods work well when joining yarn for crochet in rows. What about Granny squares?
How to Change Yarn
- Work your foundation ring and your first round in the first color.
- To change color in round 2- Insert the yarn into a corner space from round 1, from front to back.
- Insert hook into the same corner space, from front to back.
- Wrap yarn over hook and draw up a loop. If you prefer, you can also start the new color with a slip knot, and draw that through your corner space to start the new color. However, you will still need to weave in the ends to keep it secure.
- Begin the pattern for round 2 with the new color. When round 2 is complete, weave in your ends.
How to Hide the Ends
It is so much better to weave ends in as you go than to face all that weaving in at the end!
To weave in the ends of a granny square, start with the tail from the starting chain or magic loop. Thread it into a tapestry needle. Working on the wrong side of your square, weave the tail over and under the loops you made when working around the first ring. Trim.
Now thread the needle with the tail from the end of round 1. Weave it over and under the stitches from round 1, weaving at the back of the square to keep it invisible. Turn around and weave in the opposite direction as well to be more secure. Trim.
Move on to starting tail from round 2, weaving it into round 2, matching colors. Do the same with all the subsequent colors around your square, as you complete each round.
How to Change Yarn in Crochet - In Conclusion
Try each of these methods of changing yarn on small sample swatches, and see which one you like the best. Take into consideration both the look of the join and the working method that you prefer. Once you have decided which one is for you, you can go ahead and crochet up a storm, using as many different colors as you please!
Marie-Noelle Bayard, who has written books on both crochet and embroidery, has this to say about crochet:
“Play around with materials, colors, stitches. Everything is allowed! Crochet is a magnificent adventure that opens the doors to your wildest imagination and creativity.”
I couldn’t agree more! Now get out some of that yarn stash and start playing around with colors, now that you know how to change yarn in crochet!