A step by step tutorial on the spit splice. An easy method to join a new ball without any knots suitable for beginners.
Most commercial yarn comes in skeins of 50 or 100 grams. While that can be enough to knit socks or a hat, bigger knitting projects will need more than just one ball. And whenever you have to join in a new yarn, you also end up with two tails you need to weave in later on. But there is an easy way to avoid that. Here’s how to spit splice yarn.
The spit splice, sometimes also called wet splice or felted splice is an ingenious method to join in a new ball by felting the two ends together in the palm of your hands. It’s a more or less waste-free technique that is both super fast and easy. Sadly, it doesn’t work with all yarns.
Reading tip: Read my tutorial on the magic knot. It is just as simple and works for plant-based fibers as well. Or try the Russian join.
Which fibers can you spit splice?
This joining method only works on protein fibers. This means you cannot spit splice acrylic yarn or flax. But it will be perfect for merino wool, cashmere, alpaca, camel hair yarn, yak yarn, etc. Basically, if you can felt it, you can also spit splice it. That means, quite a lot of silk yarns can also be spit spliced.
The only exception is superwash yarns. These fibers have been chemically treated to prevent felting and thus they cannot be joined with this method.
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Instructions: how to spit splice yarn
You will need a sufficiently long tail of around 5 inches. Breaking the yarn instead of cutting it can be an advantage for it creates a somewhat tapered end.
- Pick apart the two ends you want to join so they look a bit like a small fan. If you are working with a plied yarn then pick apart the plies first. 1 inch on either side will be enough.
- Take your scissors, and carefully thin out both ends by around a third.
Note: You do this to avoid a visibly thicker section of yarn in your knitting. After all, you are stacking two ends on top of each other and the resulting join would be twice as thick.
- Put both ends in your mouth to wet them (or use water, but I heard that the enzymes in the saliva facilitate the felting process).
- Stack the two ends on top of each other and put the yarn in the palm of your hand.
- Place your other hand on top and rub your hands really fast with quite a bit of pressure. You should notice how they get warm.
- Do that for about 10-20 seconds. The two ends should be joined together firmly. Now you can continue knitting as normal.
I recommend testing the strength of your join gently before you start knitting. Some yarns just resist this process for some reason - even though it should, theoretically speaking, work.
Instead of stacking the two ends on top of each other, you can also loop the two ends back on each other. This will create a cleaner join when using skeins of yarn in different colors. It does have to be said, however, that this is not the most ideal joining method for colorwork as it’s quite difficult to estimate the exact position of the transition.
Some people will also place the two ends in their hands, and then they’ll wet their palms (either by licking them or sprinkling a bit of water across). I personally find it’s a bit easier to wet the ends first as the join will be a bit more secure that way. But do whatever you feel makes more sense to you.
You cannot really use the spit splice for colorwork projects or knitting stripes. Check out this tutorial on how to change colors in case you are interested.
1 thought on “How to spit splice yarn”
This worked great, especially since I was looking to join rasta skeins too! I lost some color in the joined section though, so I think one needs to focus on keeping the more pigmented parts of the split fibers involved when you cut off the excess before joining.