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How to Russian Join Yarn in 7 Easy Steps

June 19th, 2012

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Hate weaving in ends? The Russian join is an excellent technique for attaching a new skein of yarn or for changing colors. Best of all, it creates a secure join, so you can keep crocheting or knitting without worrying about yarn ends! Here are instructions on how to complete the Russian join in 7 easy steps. I’ve used 2 different colors of yarn, but this is a great technique for attaching a new skein of the same color yarn, too!
How to Russian Join Yarn in 7 Easy Steps
1. Thread a blunt needle with one end of yarn.
2. Work the needle through the plies of your yarn for a few inches. Don’t worry if this looks bunched up now.
3. Pull your working yarn through, leaving a small loop at the end. This is where the second piece of yarn will be attached.
4. Thread your needle with the second piece of yarn, then insert the needle into the small loop you created before.
5. Pull a few inches of yarn through the small loop.
6. Like you did before, work the needle through the plies of your second piece of yarn.
7. Give each strand a little tug to smooth out the bunching. You now have a secure join! Trim off any excess ends.

That’s all there is to it! Depending on your yarn, you may notice that this joined area is slightly thicker than the rest of your yarn. I find this isn’t very noticeable when I’ve worked my projects, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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  • Chellis

    This is a brilliant trick! Thank you!

  • Barbarastewart4396

    wow!  Great idea!  Can’t wait to try this….  thanks!

  • annie_galle

    I learned to do this as a child in Copenhagen Denmark.It works well.Thank you for reminding knitters to do this ,works for any hand project.

    • prayermama

      i learned to crochet from my danish grandmother – they have such lovely technique!

  • Lisa Tarpley2087

    Thank you so much!!

  • Grannynickel

    I cannot believe this is so easy! No more knots!!!

  • Jen

    I have heard of this before, and seen pictures of the end result, but you explained very well how to do it, and do it easily.  Thank you so much!

  • Cristylynne

    Wish I’d known about this years ago!  Now, when you’re done, you’re really done!

  • Alicia

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  • Wenkip

    Love it. Will save me alot of time and effort when I’m using up ends of the balls. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • rita castillo

    Fantastic, thank you so so much

  • Megatia

    wow… could’ve used this info a while back in current project!! not quite ‘getting’ ending a color @ the end of a row & starting a new color when striping, tho… maybe it will come when I try this.

    • Jess Hicks

      Hi, Megatia. If you’re switching colors at the end of the row, keep knitting/crocheting until you reach the end of the row, then cut your yarn, leaving a tail that’s a few inches long. Rip back 4 or 5 stitches and work your Russian join, then reknit or crochet the stitches that you ripped out. Now you should have a secure join, so you can just keep on working your project. Hope that helps!

      • Mzurick7

        Great technique but I’m not quite getting this.  How do you get the yarn off of the needle?  Does your blunt needle have a slit in the eye? 

        • Mzurick7

           Oh, I just figured it out :)

        • smileyshraddha

          I haven’t, how do you do it? I’m so confused..

          • smileyshraddha

            Nevermind.. YouTube is great for learning too.. If anyone is still confused, this video really helped me understand step 3 better

          • Dc2610

            Thanks for the link.

          • Charlotte Stevens

            This one is a keeper, thanks for the link!

  • Grr114

    has anybody tried this with lace weight?

    • Jess Hicks

      I haven’t done it with lace weight, but I have used this technique with fingering weight yarn on a size 4 needle. The result was slightly thicker, but it wasn’t noticeable in the finished sweater. 

  • Angela Moore

    Wow, how clever, I’m going to have to tell my friends in my local Project Linus group.

  • Poagep

    awesome no more weaving in or knots woohoo

  • Voonsuanngo

    very clever.  will use this method from now on!!!!

  • Julesbois

    Oh my this looks great!  Yes I hate weaving ends!!! I just tried it and I will do this all the time from now on…

  • deb

    i’m knitting with some very thin yarn that does not look right with woven in ends; this should be great!

  • mn_me

    this will come in very handy on an afghan i have in the works… thanks for the tip.

  • Jhurst904

    so easy to understand and a much better way to join new yarn to the old.  Thank you

  • Barbara

    I love this idea.  Wish I knew this along time ago.

  • Rose_tong2000

    Wow, I love this!!!!!

  • Bartha

    This is amazing:-))) Thanks!!

  • Alia

    many thanks for posting this. i thought i was doomed to a long life of weaving in ends and trying to tuck in knots.
    and Spasibo (sp?)  to the Russian who developed this wonderful technique!

  • roxulikeababy

    Can’t wait to try it! This may be the most helpful tip I’ve gotten since I started knitting!

  • Kirsty

    Ditto to everyone! This is great! I have to go start a new project now so I can try it…

  • Kathy

    How do you make the color change occur at the right place?

    • Zontee

      Hi Kathy, for color changes, a tip I got from Patty–director of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio retail store and education center in NYC–is: work with the first color all the way up to where you want to change the colors and cut the yarn (leaving a short tail) then undo the last 4 or 5 stitches (so you have enough space to do your Russian join; join the two yarns; re-knit or crochet those stitches and keep going–it should allow you to transition the colors right at the point where you wanted them to change. Hope that helps!

    • Jess Hicks

      Hi, Kathy. A swatch comes in handy for this. Try knitting or crocheting a set number of stitches, mark where you ended, then rip out the stitches. Measure the distance from where your stitches started to where they ended, then divide by the number of stitches you worked. That should give you a rough idea of where to place the color change. For example, let’s say that you crocheted 10 stitches and found that each stitch took an inch of yarn. You could then stop 10 stitches before the color change should occur, measure out about 10 inches of yarn, and place your join at the end of those 10 inches. I hope that helps!

  • Mkallsnick

    This sounds like a must try idea but can you better explain step 3? How and where do you pull the working yarn through in order to create that loop?
    Thanks :)

    • Jess Hicks

      Sure thing! After working the needle through your yarn for a few inches, you’ll see that it’s kind of bunched up. You just need to pull on both ends of your yarn a little bit to flatten out the yarn. You’ll notice that where you began weaving in the needle, there will be a small gap. Pulling really hard will close the gap, so just make sure that you don’t tug on the yarn too tightly. It sounds a little awkward to explain, but give it a try and see how it works out for you. :)

  • Nina

    What a great way to join – Thanks for sharing!

  • Pingback: Joining Yarns « wool gatherings()

  • Rose

    I found this technique a few years ago and absolutely love it.  If there’s one thing I hate about knitting and crocheting, it’s having to weave in ends and this pretty much eliminates that.  Try it; you will definitely like it.

  • karen

    I have been trying to do this for 30 minutes and all my yarn got was tangled, I don’t get it.

    • Jess Hicks

      Hi, Karen. Did you remember to smooth out your yarn? You’ll need to pull a little bit on both sides of the yarn to get everything nice and even.

  • MycoCreations OrganicCreations

    FanTabUlous!!! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Susan Pauley

    Slick. This works great.

  • thewellhunt

    I only do step 1 & 2.  In step 2 I am weaving in the new colour.  I have being joining this way for many years and have never had any trouble with the yarns separating.

    • Happy Sticks

      I’m going to try this one today with the project I’m doing.  Can’t wait to get to the end now!  I’ve only been knitting for 10 years…but OMGoodness this is great.

  • Airbrusher

    does this also work with cotton yarn?

    • thewellhunt

       Yes, this method works well with cotton.

  • Susan

    I’ve been knitting for nearly 60 yrs.  Years ago, people didn’t bother “naming” the techniques…so when I let you know that my Russian neighbor taught me to join yarn in a similar fashion, I thought that would be “Russian join”….anyway, it’s a little simple, in 2+ ply or a loose single ply, you just thread the new yarn into the ply of the old yarn, and subsequently the old yarn end into the new yarn.  No twisting.  No thick spots.  Easy peasy.  Must be a very old technique since 60 years ago the neighbor was 70+. Try it.

    • Joyce

      It’s been 65 years for me and I figured out on my own how to do it “your way”. Will try this new way on some finer yarns but am satisfied with the way we both do it. Wishing you many more years of knitting!

    • onceuponatime

      Oh – that’s fabulous. I will definitely use that one!

  • queenmom

    I love this.  I wish I had known about it soon.  Thanks for the tip.

    • rosiewho

      I found this (Russian Join) on Youtube a couple of years ago.  Lots of info there on all kinds of knitting/crocheting. And the visuals make it easy to understand.

  • Christina

    I seriously wish that I’d have learned this method so many years, so VERY many skeins of yarn! ago. Thank you for “teaching” us! I’ll def have to teach it to all my friends!

  • Karen

    Before my friends 92 year old mother died she taught me how to weave the yarn ends together like this…I’ve been doing it that way ever since…may she rest in peace with her needles in her hands!!!

  • Virginia

    I can’t wait to try this soon, especially with dishcloths.  One suggestion would be to put the instructions right underneath each picture instead of all of them being way down at the bottom where one has to keep scrolling up and down to read each instruction for each picture. But thank you for posting this.  It was extremely helpful.

  • Ambee1156

    I just learned this technique last month and loved it immediately. I’ve already used it in many projects with no noticeable yarns sticking out. Old or new technique – I’m glad that I know how to use it now.

  • Tinavh_1436

    My problem was that my ends came out of where I pulled them thru when I tried to work it. Anyone have that problem?

  • Erby404

    this is so welcome. what an exceptional idea. thank you

  • Jlujan

    I do it a slightly different way.  I take the new thread on a tapestry needle and go back about three to four inches.  I then weave the new color through the old backward about an inch and a half.  I then take that color off and put the old color on the needle and go forward through the new yarn about an inch and a half.  I take that off the needle and pull from oth ends to see if there is enough tension to hold them.  THen I snip off any remaining ends.

  • Dinerwillyb

    i’ve used this technique for several years. i hated working a blunt needle thru the yarns, so i took a large eyed steel needle to a saw/grinding shop and had them grind me a sharp tip on my needle.

    • Jefferswendy

      I must be dumb because I can not figure out how to do this…. I thread the needle with my yarn that I have been crocheting with then I wrap the thread around the needle, then what? One end is attached to my project and the other is just the end threaded through the needle

      • Geraldine

        hi jeffers, I dont think you wrap the thread around your needle, rather i think it should be shove your needle  through the plies of your yarn, hope that helps?

      • Baskar

        Hi Jeffers, hopefully you have figured it out by now. If not, here is how I did it. You thread the working yarn thru the needle. Then you pick up part of the fibres with this needle about 7-8 times at 1/4″ intervals towards your project. Now pull the end thru being careful to have a small loop.
        Now thread the joining color yarn thru this loop and here is the part you need to pay attention. You will be doing the same thing as you did with the working yarn EXCEPT make sure your working yarn is now inbetween the needle and the fibers you have picked up 7-8 times. Now tug on both the yarns and voils! You did it.
        Good Luck!

  • Julesbois

    I just love this!  I used it again this time with a chunky yarn and worked beautifully. I wish I learned this before all the afghans I made and was left with so many ends to weave in…

  • Megan Elberty

    I love this technique! It is similar to tying a quick knot after threading a needle.  As one who loves working with multiple colors but hates working in those ends, I am so excited to try this out. Thanks.

  • Geraldine

    love it, thank you so much, will bookmark this page.

  • Mizufusion

    This is brilliant! Now I have motivation to work on my nalbinding project again. That thin is nothing but loose ends!

  • Baskar

    Love the technique! First the instructions looked hard but as i followed step by step, it dawned on me… Sad that I didn’t know this when i was doing granny squares but Glad that i know it now. Thanks lion brand. A simple suggestion… To go thru part of the fibres of the yarn atleast 7-8 times so the end is completely hidden.