Learn How to Change Colors in One Easy Stitch

When I was first learning how to crochet, I dreaded the thought of having to join a new ball of yarn to an in-progress project, and I categorically avoided colorwork projects. The process of changing yarns was confusing and completely foreign to me.

 
Gidget Tee by Linda Permann, Interweave Crochet Summer 2012  

This is one of those little tricks that seems incredibly simple to experienced crocheters but holds a certain mystique to brand new-crocheters. As a crocheter who has experienced both the confusion and the ease of joining a new yarn or changing colors, let me share with you the "secret" I learned from Interweave Crochet Winter 2008, as well as a few tips I have picked up along the way.

To seamlessly change yarn in the middle of a row or round, for both joining a new ball or changing colors:

 
 
  Joining a new ball of yarn

Step 1: With the working yarn, make the next stitch until only one step remains to complete it (e.g., for double crochet: yarn over, insert hook in next stitch and pull up a loop, yarn over and draw through two loops on hook; for single crochet two together-yes, you can switch yarns on increases and decreases, too: two times).

Step 2: Drop the working yarn and let it fall to the back of your work, yarn over with the new yarn and draw through the remaining loops on your hook to complete the stitch (see Figure 1).

Step 3: Continue with the yarn (see Figure 2).

You can repeat Steps 1–3 any time you want to join a new yarn or change colors in the middle of a row. If you want to change colors at the end of a row, work Steps 1–3 for the last stitch of the row, making sure to work your turning chain in the new color.

 
Agora Totes by Lisa Soutendijk, Interweave Crochet Summer 2010  

Tips

  • If you are crocheting stranded colorwork, don't cut the first yarn. Simply carry it until you change colors again.
  • If you are working stripes and always change yarns on the same side, don't cut the unused yarn; carry it up the edge of the rows worked in the second color.
  • If you do need to cut the first yarn, leave a long enough tail to weave it in. This also applies to the new yarn being joined. Make sure you leave a long enough beginning tail to weave it in.
  • To keep the stitches where the join occurred tight, I like to tie the beginning and ending tails together in a bow. This also keeps them out of your way.

Order a back issue of Interweave Crochet for a great price and take the next step with your crochet from basic stitches and joining a new ball of yarn to technical crochet cables and construction techniques.

Best wishes,

P.S. What crochet technique are you planning on learning next?

P.S.S. Check out the great striped tee in the free eBook How to Crochet Sweaters.

 

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