How to join yarn and change colours in crochet

Learn how to change yarn when crocheting and how to change colours in crochet with our step-by-step tutorial.

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There’s nothing worse than when you’re halfway through a row and run out of yarn, so in this tutorial we’ll show you how to join yarn in crochet. But as well as using this technique to join a new ball of the same colour, you can also use it for changing colours in crochet too, so as well as looking at joining in a new yarn we’ll also look at the various options for changing colours for both rows and rounds.

How to join yarn in crochet

The basic technique for how to change colour in crochet or joining a new yarn is the same for whether you’re working in rows or rounds, double or treble. You need to think ahead to where you want your colour change, then change yarn just before.

Make a small swatch and then practise the technique by following our step-by-step guide below. You can use this method to change colour in the middle of a row or round, or at the end of a row, to create all sorts of colour effects.

We’ve stated where to cut the yarn, but you might like to wait until you’re sure it’s right. You’ll find that changing colour creates lots of yarn ends – you can weave these in afterwards, or work the next few stitches over them.

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Step 1

Work on the final stitch before you want the colour change, but stop before working the final yarn round hook (yrh) – for double crochet (below), insert hook, yrh, pull loop through and stop. Cut old yarn leaving a long tail.

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Step 2

Loop your new yarn colour around hook (leaving a long tail of the new yarn) and pull it through the remaining loops to finish the stitch. Pull the old and new yarn ends to tighten the loop on the hook.

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That’s all there is to it! Once you’ve joined your new yarn it may seem a little loose, but don’t worry too much about this, once you’ve tightened your loop to the hook and made your next stitch with the new yarn it will all be locked into place.

Using this technique will give you a much smoother join that if you were to just tie your two yarns together. Some people still like to tie a knot with the two yarn tails just to make it super-secure, but if you’re doing this it’s wise to do it with the hook in place and before you do your next stitch, as otherwise you can tighten the join too much making it difficult to work into on the next row.

This is also a handy technique for it you encounter a knot or fault (such as a big fluffy bit) in your yarn ball. Just simply cut out the knot or fault, then rejoin your yarn using the above technique. It’s far better to do this and fix the problem when you encounter it than to just keep on working and have an unsightly bump in your crochet fabric.

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How do I change colour in crochet rows?

One of the most popular colour effects you can create with crochet is stripes, so to do this we’ll show you how to change colour in crochet rows. You simply need to use the same sort of colour-changing technique we’ve shown you already above, but on the last stitch of a row, as follows:

Step 1

Start working the final stitch in the row, but stop before you work the final yarn round hook (yrh). For treble crochet (below), you would work yrh, insert hook, yrh, pull loop through, yrh, pull through first two loops, then stop. Cut the old yarn, leaving a long tail (about 7cm long).

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Step 2

Now loop your new yarn colour around the hook, leaving a long tail of yarn (about 7cm long).

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Step 3

Pull the new yarn loop through the remaining two loops to finish the stitch. Pull the old and new yarn ends to tighten the loop on the hook.

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Step 4

Now you can work the turning chain of the new row in the new colour (3ch for treble). Then work the stitches of the new row in the new yarn colour.

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How do I change colour in the round?

There are many ways to change yarn colour when working in the round. We’ll show you two here, we’ll start with the slip stitch technique, and then we’ll go on to the slipknot technique (below). You can practise these two methods, then choose the one you like.

The slip stitch technique is good for dense motifs. At the end of the round, work the last stitch as usual. Cut the old yarn, leaving a long tail. Now join the round together with a slip stitch in the new yarn, as follows:

Step 1

Insert hook into top of turning chain at start of round. Loop the new yarn around the hook, leaving a long tail.

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Step 2

Pull through both the t-ch and the loop of old yarn. Now use the new yarn to work the turning-chain and the new round.

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How do I change colour in the round with the slipknot technique?

For lacy motifs and granny squares, it can be easier for you to fasten off each round and join the new yarn colour with the slipknot technique, as follows:

Step 1

Once you’ve fastened off the previous round, make a slipknot in the new yarn colour and place on your hook.

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Step 2

With the slipknot on the hook, insert the hook into the chain space where you want to join the yarn. Hold the working yarn and the tail end at the back of the work (this helps to make sure that your slipknot is not visible from the front).

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Step 3

Now work a slip stitch, placing yrh…

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Step 4

…and pull the yarn through the chain space and through the slipknot. Tighten the slipknot if necessary. Make the turning chain for the new round, and work the stitches in the new colour for the new round.

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If you found this tutorial useful, why not check out some more!

Take a look at our complete guide to crochet for beginners

How to make a crochet magic loop

Learn how to fasten off crochet and weave in your crochet ends

Find out how to crochet in the round

Learn how to crochet a triangle