The Trim, Overlap & Felt join

The perhaps easiest way to join in a new yarn in knitting – no weaving in ends required

Over the years, I’ve turned joining in yarn into a science. Not all methods work with every fiber and for all projects. There is, however, one version that really sticks out. I call it “Trim, Overlap & Felt”. It’s both super invisible, super secure, and quite easy. Plus, you don’t need to weave in any ends either. How awesome is that?

the right side of the trim, overlap, and felt method
The right side of a sample where I used this way to join in a new ball

This way to join in a new ball is a mixture of the Russian join (secure but requires a tapestry needle) and the overlap join – so to speak, the best of both worlds. And the best part: it works for all slightly feltable fibers (so basically anything with a bit of sheep wool in it).

the trim, overlap, and felt joining method seen from the wrong side
The same swatch seen from the wrong side

The strength of the join, however, does not depend on it and this is why it’s superior to the standard spit splice. Plus, because you trim away the excess before you add the new ball, you don’t end up with a visible transition, knot, or noticeable ridge.

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Instructions: How to join yarn with the trim, overlap & felt method

results of the join after felting

This method of joining in a new ball works for every yarn that you can felt a bit. Sheep wool, alpaca, cashmere, camel hair, and blends thereof. You cannot use it for cotton, linen, and other plant-based fibers.

Note: I am using yarn in two colors for demonstration purposes only.

Active Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute

Materials

  • Any feltable yarn works. I am using the Pascuali Tibetan yarn in this tutorial (70% merino, 30% yak)

Tools

  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Undo the plies on either end for around 4 inches or 10 cm.

    undoing the plies on either end
  2. Using your scissors, trim away half of the yarn you've just undone. If it's a 2-ply yarn (like in this case), cut of one strand. If you are working with a 4-ply yarn, cut off 2 strands, and with a 6-ply yarn, you'd cut away 3 strands.

    triming away half of the yarn using scissors on either end
  3. Cross the two ends.

    crossing the two ends
  4. Overlap the end of the old yarn until it touches the point where you've trimmed it in step 1. This will create a loop. The new yarn should be nestled inside this loop. You will work on it later on.

    overlaping the the old yarn so the two ends meet
  5. Using a bit of spit or water, wet the spot where the two ends touch.

    using water to wet the join
  6. Place this side of the join in the palm of your hand and rub the back of your hand across it vigorously until your hands get noticeably warm. This should felt the two ends together.
    rubing the hands against each other to felt the join in between

    Note: This step prevents the ends from sticking out later. The strength of your join does not depend on it.

    the result with the join firmly felted

  7. Similarly overlap the new yarn until the two ends meet.

    overlaping the new yarn so the two sides of the end meet
  8. Wet the spot where the two ends touch.

    wetting the join as before
  9. Then felt them together as well by rubbing your hands together with the join firmly placed in between.

    yarn joined with trim overlap and felt method
  10. Continue knitting according to your pattern. This is actually the most important part of the join. Even if the felted join would come undone later on, the natural friction of your knitted fabric would prevent your project from unraveling due to the overlap.
    continuing to knit to secure the join


Notes

Please be aware that this method doesn't work for any sort of colorwork since it will be very hard to time the transition consistently.

You may also consider adding twist to the loop before you felt. While not mandatory, this can add further durability and make things even more invisible

This has become my favored method for sweaters, hats, and other projects where you cannot hide the tail in the seams, etc. It’s just so invisible, you don’t need a tapestry needle, and it creates a very strong join for almost all yarns.

Of course, it doesn’t work for cotton yarns and it’s not a possibility if you plan to do any form of colorwork. For intarsia projects, Twist and Weave is still my favorite way to add a new color, while “Weave in as you go” might be my preference for Fair Isle projects.

Either way, that’s how to join in yarn using the trim, overlap, and felt method. Comment below if you have any questions.

how to join yarn with trim overlap and felt method

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