Twist and weave – a super neat way to change colors in knitting

A step-by-step tutorial on changing colors in knitting using the twist and weave method that works without a knot

In knitting, the fun starts when you do colorwork techniques. But no matter if it’s simple stripes, Fair Isle, or intarsia, you have to knit with more than just one ball of yarn. So, how do you join in a new color? The probably best answer is called twist and weave and this tutorial is all about it.

a swatch where someone changed color with twist and weave method in knitting
A swatch where I did some simple color changes using Twist & Weave

There are a lot of neat ways to join a new ball in yarn in knitting. There’s the spit splice or the magic knot. While they are easy, they do not allow you to change yarn at a specific spot. But that’s exactly what you need when you do colorwork. Your chart tells you to knit that exact stitch in a new color and not “around that area”.

And that’s why twist & weave was invented. It’s a versatile and secure method you can use for any project and yarn. The only disadvantage is that you will have to weave in the ends later on. On the plus side, it does not create any visibly thicker section, or otherwise noticeable spot, on the right side. Also, you could weave in the tails as you go to avoid using that dreaded tapestry needle.

Reading tip: My preferred method for intarsia is Weave in & Twist, though. If you don’t want to deal with those ends later on, then you might try the overlap join.

backside of a swatch where someone changed colors using the twist and weave method
The same swatch as seen from the wrong side.

Let’s show you how to change color with Twist & Weave.

Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article.

How to join in a new color with twist and weave

how to change colors with twist and weave

This joining method basically boils down to twisting the yarns around with your knitting needles at a specific spot. Despite the simple technique, the resulting color change will be very easy to knit across in the next row.

Active Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute


  1. Pick up the new color like you normally would and leave the old yarn dangling down in the back.

    picking up the new color you want to join as normal
  2. Insert your knitting needle into the first stitch.

    inserting the right needle into the first stitch as normal
  3. Place the tail of the new yarn between the two needles and secure the tail with your thumb.

    bringing the tail of the new yarn between the two knitting needles and securing it with your left thumb
  4. Pick up the old tail and cross it over the new yarn.

    crossing the tail of the old yarn over the tail of the new yarn
  5. Pick up the new tail again, and go around the right knitting needle clockwise coming from in between the two needles.

    brining the tail of the new yarn around the right needle clockwise to start the color change
  6. Wrap the (new) working yarn around the needle counter-clockwise as you would to knit a normal knit stitch.

    wraping the new working yarn around the knitting needle as if to knit
  7. Pick up the new tail again and go around the right needle counter-clockwise.

    wrapping thet ail around the right needle counter-clockwise
  8. Give the new tail a good tug to pull down the loop around your knitting needle and create a "stitch".

    pulling the tail down to create a new stitch around the needle
  9. Pull the stitch you created in this process through the loop on your left needle and drop it.

    pulling the resulting stitch through the first loop on your left needle
  10. Secure the join by pulling on the two tails and continue knitting as normal.
    Tightening up the color change by pulling on the tails with your fingers


You can use Twist & Weave to join in a new color or a new ball in the same color. It works in all circumstances. Later on, you will have to weave in the tails the traditional way on the backside.

I recommend practicing this join a couple of times in a row. Initially, it appears to be very complicated because it involves a lot of motions you normally don’t do in knitting. I feel it’s a bit like the longtail cast on. Once you’ve understood it, it’s so easy you can do it in your sleep but it takes a while to get there.

You can also adapt this technique in case you want to change colors in a purl row. It’s basically the same technique – just mirrored on the wrong side.

Reading tip: How to change colors in knitting – 6 different techniques

Anyway, that’s how to join a new color in knitting with the twist and weave method. Comment below in case you have any questions.

how to change colors in knitting using twist and weave method - step by step

25 thoughts on “Twist and weave – a super neat way to change colors in knitting”

  1. The twist and weave is brilliant! I know that has become an over used word on the internet, but that is! I need to practice so I can remember the steps. Thanks for the intarsia video too it helped me a lot.

    • Yeah, it takes a bit of practice and I still remember when I saw it the first time and I was like..what the…?
      but now i can do it without looking, lol.

    • Hey Amanda,
      I am not a left-hander so I cannot help you. HOWEVER, there are special tools that let you mirror any youtube video. So, just go my youtube channel, and try it out.

      • Thank you so much for your recommendation! I’m a learner lefty knitter and you’ve just changed everything for me! No more breaking my brain trying to turn everything backwards!

      • Amanda, I am left handed, and use the continental method instead of English method for that reason. If you try to knit it “backwards,” you will need to alter patterns, and that can be complicated.

  2. In stranded knitting, we occasionally have to lock down the strands so you don’t end up with two inches of yarn in the back that you can snag your fingers, toes, etc on. Is this basically the same thing just when you’re starting off?

  3. Does this actually leave 2 stitches on the needle with the new yarn? I have tried to replicate your actions exactly and always come up with a double stitch. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Sounds like you are. This shouldn’t leave two stitches. Maybe because you bring the yarn over the needle in step 8 and create an accidental yarn over. Have you watched the video accompanying this article?

      • Oh wow! That’s so cool; I can hardly wait! The previous knitting tutorial was so helpful and I loved the final look on the right side, but sometimes colour changes or joining has to happen on the wrong side.

  4. I think this method is great but cannot get it to work consistently. Something about those last steps is eluding me. Here’s what happens: I do all the twists according to the directions. But when I go to knit the stitch, I either end up with two yarn wraps instead of one, or when I knit the stitch it is fine but the tails fall away from each other. It has worked twice, so I know it can be done.

    I suspect my difficulty occurs in the vicinity of step 8. It might have something to do with how the yarn is held? Any other pictures that might help? [I have also watched the video.]

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    • Hey Susan,
      sadly not really as I cannot do more than show the technique to you. But you might not pull down the stitch all the way and the old yarn might be wrapped around the needle because it’s still attached or something like that.

      • Thanks for your suggestions. I tried to figure it out again, and I think the two wraps are because I am not holding the two tails away from the stitch. So when I knit, both the stitch and the new tail are around the needle. Not sure about why the tails are falling away, but suspect that I need to secure the stitch by knitting it right away. Have to try it again to be sure!

        I am getting much good help from your tutorials, but sometimes cannot wrap my brain around a technique right away.

  5. Norman, I love your videos. I have learned so much from you.

    This is a great technique, and I watched it on YouTube first. For me, this written tutorial was even more helpful. Are you planning to also write out the instructions for making the join in a purl row?

    I am making myself a big swatch of switches so I can try to develop the muscle memory. I downloaded this set of instructions so I can have it for reference when I can’t get WiFi. It would be ever so helpful if the purl instructions were available as well.

  6. Great technique. I cannot see the video either, there is no video box popping up when I scroll down, can you help as I see other people have seen the video. Thank you for your time.

    • it’s definitely there right at the bottom of the actual step by step instructions. Your browser may block things.


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