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.
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.
Let’s show you how to change color with Twist & Weave.
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- Pick up the new color like you normally would and leave the old yarn dangling down in the back.
- Insert your knitting needle into the first stitch.
- Place the tail of the new yarn between the two needles and secure the tail with your thumb.
- Pick up the old tail and cross it over the new yarn.
- Pick up the new tail again, and go around the right knitting needle clockwise coming from in between the two needles.
- Wrap the (new) working yarn around the needle counter-clockwise as you would to knit a normal knit stitch.
- Pick up the new tail again and go around the right needle counter-clockwise.
- Give the new tail a good tug to pull down the loop around your knitting needle and create a "stitch".
- Pull the stitch you created in this process through the loop on your left needle and drop it.
- Secure the join by pulling on the two tails and continue knitting as normal.
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 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.