Techniques in Depth: Tie or Die

September 28, 2018

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  • I read long ago of an alternative to the spit step in the spit splice: follow the yarn prep steps up to the point of spitting. Then lick the palm of each hand and felt the join … saliva is still involved, just applied in a different way. I have used this technique for years, and it works perfectly … just another variation.

  • Thank you Kate! Another great article. Excuse me I need to go book mark this now!

  • Once again, my mind is blown. I have saved this article. I find myself referring to Kate’s articles often when working on sweaters. A wealth of knowledge.

  • Braiding your ends together is also a fabulous way add a new skein as well!! Thanks for the interesting read!!

  • Thank you Kate & MDK for this great article! Definitely have this one saved to my account and will remember not to splice together superwash yarns!

  • I thought I was the only one to use 2 yarns, 3 stitches, though I didn’t call it that (didn’t call it anything)! I love your practical advice that if it won’t show or affect your work, it’s ok. How about a similar article for cottons and slippery yarns, where many of these things won’t work as well.

    • Me, too! I always felt a little guilty doing it, because I was sure it was wrong, but now I know it’s not! I love a spit splice, too, when it will work.

    • This I how I join yarns too. I have tried some other ways. This feels easiest to me.

  • Again, I’ve been knitting for a millennium, but I learned something new. I’ve never split open the plies before spit joining! Although, I do chew them a bit, which breaks them up. That works pretty well, but I will try splitting the plies.

    • And here I thought I was the only person on the planet who chewed yarn! It loosens the ends up and gets them sufficiently spit-ified for joining in one easy step! I do try not to do it in public though.

  • Thank you! Perfect timing for me, I’m in the middle of short rowing and need to tie on a new ball. I normally always tie on at an edge. Thanks for giving me so many options!

  • Another great Kate article I’ll be saving! Thank you Kate. I did use spit splice on a baby blanket I just knit for my cousin and it was superwash wool bulky yarn. It felted beautifully, and I washed and dried the blanket before gifting and it looks perfect. Now I don’t know whether it will continue to hold up or come apart at some point in the future. Oops!!

    • It’ll be fine if it felted. Btw, I spitsplive singkr ply superwash all the time. But I do wait and test it before knitting with it.

      Then again I also do the drop and continue with new ball with never a problem so you may not want to listen to me!

      • I do the drop & continue like nothing happened technique as well, but only when I’m changing at the sides. When I’m in the middle of the row I do one of Kate’s other options to avoid that hole, OR I drop & continue but weave in the ends right away so the hole doesn’t form, but I always have a vague sense of doom about that.

      • Lol thx Marilyn! I do wait til it dries and give it a good tug to test it. It holds and I joined 3 new balls that way on the baby blanket!! I’m also a fan of magic knot looks perfectly acceptable to me! Haha

  • I’m proud I remembered how to save this post. It’s a good one.

  • An amazing knitter!

  • Hi
    Another fabulous article, so clearly written! Any suggestions for joining cotton or linen? Thanks

  • Weaver’s knot for slippery yarn is my go-to. Knots are good!

    • Ooh, had to google it! Thanks! I’m making the Doctor Who scarf here soon and will attempt one of these knots…..well, what’s my prob…..I have a knit kit right here at the PC…..will try them now! LOL!! BRB (be right back)!

      I’m back!! LOL!!

      Am glad to learn this one though I will take Ann’s advice and use the ‘tie-one-on’ knot for my Doctor Who scarf, a gift for hubby who wears a fedora! LOL!!.

      (Knit one, purl one, drop on, cuss one!)

      I kill me!


  • I’ve had bad experience with the magic knot–no matter how tight I made it it still had the tendency to untie over time. Now I just use both yarns for several stitches. Works fine and doesn’t show in anything I knit,

  • My ex- son in law once asked me, long ago, if I could fix the sweater his grandmother had knit for him. She was 92, and oh did she love knots, almost all of which had come untied. It took many hours to retrieve the ends, weave in a replacement yarn, and secure the ends (with a needle and thread, literally sewing them into place. Grandma was delighted to see him wearing it, but I think this story is an extension of the curse of the boyfriend sweater, because it was only six months later that he became the ex SIL.

    If I can’t spit, I weave/knit the ends in as i go, Kaffe Fasset style. No ends to weave in later, just snip, snip and i am done.

  • The timing of this article was perfect. I was just trying to figure out which method to use while knitting up a pair of socks. I always use contrast heels, toes and cuffs. I have use the spit splice on regular wool but sock yarn is mostly superwash, and I have done the Russian Join and yes even the magic knot. You are too correct; superwash yarn is slippery. I definitely don’t want to give a pair of freshly knitted socks away only to find out they came apart in the wash. So thank you for this easy but sock saving tip.

  • Great article! You make the Russian Join look easy! My Mom has always used the Overhand Knot and me being the “knot snob” would never do it. One day I was knitting a striped shawl and while changing colors she said watch how I do it and she knotted the two yarns together. Not wanting to undo it in front of her I let it go. Later I found it looked nicer then the way I was doing it and now continue to do so.

    • I keep telling you guys, a little bit of super glue dabbed on a cotton swab and carefully used instead of spit or to neatly join yarn without knots. Still, I like to leave ends on the wrong side in case. It’s handmade. That’s the beauty of it.

      • Whatever you do, don’t use super glue on cotton or wool! It will result in a rapid chemical reaction that releases enough heat to cause minor burns. I’m not kidding…

  • I’ve always done the ‘drop old pick up new’ method of joining and it’s worked well. It doesn’t take much if any fiddling to make the hole disappear. I leave tails long enough to bury by following the path of the stitches away from and then back toward the join and never have had one come undone. I’ve never noticed it making the edge bulky either. I’m not an excellent knitter and I don’t enter my knitted projects in competitions. There are probably lots of flaws, but a hole from joining a new yarn is not one of them. 🙂

  • I’m not sure if joining/changing yarns in the middle of the row works for two row striped scarves and blankets. I have seen perfect work with drop-old-pick-up-new resulting in lovely edges, but I can’t seem to master that technique. For plain old new ball joins I like the knit-a-few-stitches-with-both-together technique. I think I read somewhere that Kaffe may do the knitting on his gorgeous designs but someone else comes along after to do the joining. Lucky him.

  • I’m confused; tell me, what join to use making the Dr. Who scarf with all those yarn color changes…..all to be at the end of the row/s……thank you!! I’m thinking wrap/hook the two colors….new color to weave up….the other to go down… a duplicate stitch? Donna

  • I used the ‘Magic Knot’ on a superwash – and had to re-knit the entire border.

  • taught me how to weave in ends as I joined a new strand.

  • I know this is a re-post, but my question is this: what is the best method of carrying colors up the (selvedge) edge …. what I mean is, at the beginning of a row.

  • I find no suggestion for splicing 100% cotton yarns.

  • Thank you so much!!! I just finished my first ever sweater with very little knowledge of joining yarn. Along with several other issues, my largest worry is that my slippery yarn will come undone! Only careful hand-washing for this one. I’m just starting sweater number 2 and feel much better equipped after this article. I’m marling a cotton/linen chain yarn (fingering weight) along with an alpaca (lace weight). Still a little worried about the care instructions clashing between the two fibers, but at least my joining will be solid this time!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  • Very helpful, thanks

  • Thank you! I’m doing colorwork sleeves with Spincycle. I cut the yarn to help ensure the sleeves are somewhat matching (not worried about perfection at all). Now I know I’ll use the Russian join. Very helpful 🙂

  • This article is so helpful, thanks!

  • All these tips are wonderful, am looking for the next feed every day during lockdown..
    Thank you

  • Great ideas. Thanks a mil