Fix-It Friday: So You’ve Run Out of Yarn…

While working through my latest knitting project, a sweater, I saw that my sneaky little yarn tail was creeping toward my project, and my ball of yarn was getting closer and closer to ending. So what now? There are several easy ways to attach new yarn to your project, like the Russian join or the spit splice. But, my favorite way is to use a simple half-square knot.  Here’s how to join yarn:

The first step is to stop knitting, leaving yourself a three-inch tail of yarn.  Then, find the working end of your next ball of yarn, and grab it so that you have a second three-inch tail.  With the new ball of yarn, tie a half-square knot around the old tail (preserving both three-inch tails), slide the knot up to your project, and tighten it.  Keep the old and new tails out of the way while you knit the rest of the project.  Once you’re finished knitting, weave both tails in, and voilà!

how to join yarn and fix a knitting project


If you've enjoyed this tip, you might also be interested in Ragga Eiríksdóttir’s instructions on how to join yarn ends.




Sheila Zachariae

Perfect picture illustrations! Thanks Stefanie.


Kathy Brockman

Great photos! One question…do you untie the knot before weaving in the tails or do you leave the knot in and weave in the remaining tail yarn?


Hi Klsabin, Thanks for your suggestion and link! Like Stefanie mentioned, there are may ways to add on another ball of yarn. We hope everyone finds one that’s best for them and the project. Happy knitting!

Elizabeth Nelson

I’ve been “cheating” with a knot and just working to make sure its on the wrong side….But this is inspired!!! So simple, so elegant!
Thank you

Cheryl Crawford

Thank you so much for showing this. I have used several other patterns for this but have not liked them. Thank you for the pictures also. I do better with pictures.


Instead of a square knot try a slip knot and then tighten which should kind of pop when locked in, it’s called a Weaver’s Knot and used in bookbinding (and weaving).

Bonnie Baker

I was just knitting a new project and suddenly the yarn broke – in the middle of a row. I’m so grateful that I had Stefanie’s idea to go back to. I’ve never joined a new ball of yarn this way but it worked out fine. The knot doesn’t even show and I’m thrilled.
Thanks Stefanie and all of you at Craftsy!


I’ll add to the never tie a knot chorus. That’s the absolute last thing I’d ever do with my work. I’m shocked to see someone as experienced as Stefanie suggest such blasphemy.


I do a few different things, depending on the circumstances. If the fabric is dense and the yarn is the right squishiness, I usually just knit three or four stitches with old and new yarns held together, then drop the old yarn tail and continue with only the new yarn.

The other thing I do is to tie an overhand knot with the new and old tails really snugly next to the fabric, then undo the knot when I go to weave in the ends.

Ginger Kay

I’m a big fan of the spit splice, but I’ve been known to tie a knot in acrylic.


If it’s 100% wool yarn (not superwash) you can always spit splice the ends together!


depends on what type of yarn I’m using. 100% wool I would felt the 2 ends together, others I might twist the 2 ends together


if it’s wool, i spit splice and knit while damp to be less obvious; if it’s not wool, i will knit old and new together for five stitches, leaving a five inch tail on either side to be woven in later.

Liz. A

I was always told never EVER to tie a knot and not to trust knots in the skein. It’s nice to know there are other schools of thought. 🙂

Karen T

I’ve always just dropped the old yarn, started knitting with the new, and woven in both ends when I’m done. But I like this half-knot idea a lot and have already employed it once since this post went up.


I never tie knots! I have always woven in the new yarn for 5 or 6 stitches, switch to it an then woven the old piece for 5 or 6 stitches. (Similar to how you would twist colour work on back.
If the wrong side might show and the work is fine (like shawls or lace) I use a Russian join. It’s barely noticeable. I’m pretty sure you can google it.


I used to NEVER tie a knot, just start with the new. But now I use the half square knot because it helps to keep the tension even. If at the end the knot is a problem, it can be undone.


I consider a knot to be a temporary thing, myself; to be later woven in and especially good for worsted spun and heavy weight yarns. If I am working with a woolen spun yarn, lace and fingering weight, a russian join is best. (Of course, these are only my opinions!)


How do you suggest to join cotton yarn or what to do with the ends? It seems to show and be extra bulk for me when I weave it.


Hi Flyssie,

I think that knitters all prefer different methods of joins. For myself, when using plant based or synthetic fibers, I opt not to join the yarn with splices or knots. I was always told there are no knots in knitting! I usually start knitting with the new strand of yarn as if I was starting a new color. This means that I will have two tails to weave in at the end which remain hidden on the inside. What do other yarn enthusiasts think? What are your favorite methods to join cotton yarn?


You’ve got to be kidding!!! I have been knitting for over 50 years and one of the few hard-and-fast rules has always been NO KNOTS IN KNITTING!

Barbie Ayler Goodman

Well, you put a knot in the last string when your finished with the project right? Lots of people here are saying NO KNOTS in Knitting, but that’s a knot isn’t it? lol


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