Joining yarn with a magic knot in knitting

A step-by-step (video) tutorial on how to make a magic knot in knitting for an invisible and super secure join.

Joining a new ball of yarn can be quite a chore. Because, let’s be honest, who really likes weaving in all those ends later on. But there is actually quite an easy way to avoid that. In knitting, you can also use a magic knot – also known as a fisherman’s knot – to join yarn.

This method is so easy and fast that I would almost call it foolproof. Basically, you are just tying two simple overhand knots close to each other. It works for almost every fiber and yarn – so it’s a very versatile method to join yarn (unlike the spit splice).

a swatch where a new yarn was joined with a magic knot andhe knot is visible on the wrong side
A swatch where I joined a new yarn with the magic knot.

Still, you will end up with a little knot. This knot may be a bit visible in your final project. But if you are knitting with a slightly fuzzy yarn, a loose gauge, or a knitting stitch pattern (like garter stitch) that is a bit more variegated, then it’s a very lovely technique. Otherwise, do try the Russian join.

Let’s dive right into it, eh?

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How to tie a magic knot in knitting

a finished magic knot - close-up shot

You will need a tail of around 5 inches for this joining method. So, best stop a bit before your yarn runs out. And then you just have to tie an overhand knot around the other either end using the opposite tail.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Instructions

  1. Place the two yarns you want to join in front of you so the tails point in opposite directions.

    placing the ends with the ends facing in opposite directions
  2. Pick up the left tail and place it over the other yarn.

    placing the tail over the other yarn
  3. Next, pull the tail under that yarn.
    going under the other yarn
  4. Bring the tail over the standing end to create a loop.

    going over the standing end to create a loop
  5. Pull the tail through that loop coming in from below.

    pulling the tail through the loop you created coming from below
  6. Pull tight. You created your first overhand knot.

    closing the overhand knot by pulling on the tail
  7. Pick up the remaining tail and place it over the other yarn.

    place the tail over the other yarn
  8. Pull the tail under that yarn again.

    going under the first yarn
  9. Create another loop by placing the tail over the standing end.

    creating another loop by crossing over the standing end
  10. Pull the tail through that loop coming from below and pull tight.

    pulling the tail through the loop coming from below to finish the second overhand knot
  11. Next, pick up your join and pull on the standing ends (not the tails) until your two overhand knots meet in the middle.

    pulling on the two ends to close the magic knot
  12. Pull tight with a good tug, and then use a scissor to trim away the tails. And that's already it. You join in the new yarn and you can continue knitting.

    trimming the ends of the magic knot with scissors

Notes

A super-easy way to memorize these steps is: Go over and under. Over, and under. If you follow these instructions your overhand knots will always end up being parallel. If they face in opposite directions, the join will not be as secure and might actually come apart.

While the method is super simple, it sadly doesn’t really work for colorwork techniques where you need to join in a new color at a specific stitch as it’s quite difficult to tie the magic knot in a specific position (like intarsia or double knitting). Other than that, you can use it for pretty much every other project as long as you don’t mind the little knot.

Be aware that knots can come undone when they ease up. This may happen with super slippery yarns that do not felt at all. In these cases, I would recommend a more traditional way to join in a new yarn.

Anyway, that’s how to tie a magic knot in knitting. Comment below in case you have any questions.

how to join yarn with magic knot knitting technique

2 thoughts on “Joining yarn with a magic knot in knitting”

  1. I am just making a hat, the sideways-knit “Ruschia” hat in garter stitch, one color, so weaving in ends is no big deal; and for some reason decided I wanted to join the new yarn with a secure knot. Is there any argument against using the magic knot, but leaving tails to weave in so it will be extra secure?

    Reply
    • well, sure, you can do that. But the problem is that it will be kind of hard to determine where in your knitting that knot, and by extension, the tail, will end up. And you need them to be on the backside.

      Reply

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