How to Join Yarn Two Ways – Magic Knot and Russian Join

Learn how to join yarn in two different ways - the magic knot and the Russian join. Tutorial includes both pictures and video.

In your life as a crocheter, sometimes you’ll have a big project and need to add a second (or eighteenth) ball of yarn. Other times, you’ll work on scrappy projects and use up the leftover bits from all your yarn balls. Regardless of the reason, one day, you’re going to need to know how to join yarn.

two-toned yarn, scissors, and a tapestry needle with text "how to join yarn - the russian join - beginner crochet tutorial from you should craft"

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Today’s tutorial (Day 18 if you’re following along in the Newbie Series) will teach you how to join yarn using the two most popular methods – the Russian join and the magic knot. Both of these methods are effective ways to join new yarn, but I’m presenting both so you can choose which works best for you.

After the lesson, crocheters will be able to join yarn with a:

  • Russian join
  • Magic knot

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Tools / Materials

You don’t even need a crochet hook today!

To join yarn, you’ll need:

  • 2 pieces of yarn per join (I used Brava worsted in Lady Slipper and Denim)
  • Straight tapestry needle
  • Scissors

NOTE: My friends at WeCrochet provided the materials for the Newbie Series.

How to Join Yarn with the Russian Join

The Russian join is the joining method I’ve been using for the longest, and still the one I use most frequently. It works by folding the yarn back on itself and weaving it through the fibers of the yarn. It’s simple and strong, but does take a bit of fiddling to get it right.

It’s only limitation is that the Russian join technique can only be used with yarns made of multiple strands or fibers. If you can’t stick a tapestry needle through the center, it won’t work. This means that for velvet or chenille yarns (like Bernat Blanket that I used for the Braids and Twists Throw), you’ll have to use another joining method.

Here’s a video tutorial to demonstrate the Russian Join, or scroll down a bit for a written tutorial with pictures.

  • a.) Join your tapestry needle to the first piece of yarn (it doesn’t matter which one)
  • b.) Fold the yarn over and use the tapestry needle to go in between the fibers of the yarn
  • c.) Once you’re satisfied, remove the needle, hold the top loop, and gently pull the longer piece of the yarn down in order to smooth it out
  • d.) Join your tapestry needle to the other strand and pull the second strand through the loop of the first strand. Repeat steps b-c.
four image collage demonstrating how to russian join with blue and purple yarn

When you’re done, pull the join tight and trim off any extra bits of yarn that might be sticking out from the bottoms of the join.

two hands pulling a russian join in blue and purple yarn
scissors and a finger pointing to yarn with text, "how to join yarn - the magic knot - beginner crochet tutorial from you should craft"

How to Join Yarn with the Magic Knot

Growing up, I was told never to tie a knot in yarn. I don’t remember the exact explanation, but it was something about the tightness making the yarn more likely to break? So when a fellow crocheter recommended the “magic knot” method, I audibly gasped. Like… what? A knot!? But people swear by it! And Sarah-Jayne from Bella Coco uses it, so we can trust it.

The magic knot is kind of like the square knots I used to make macram√© hemp necklaces in middle school, combined with the knots used to make friendship bracelets from embroidery floss. I know that sounds weird, but if you’ve done a lot of crafts, the magic knot will feel familiar.

Here’s a video tutorial demonstrating the magic knot technique, or keep reading for the pics and written steps.

  • a.) Lay out both strands of yarn
  • b. – c.) Using the bottom strand (pink), tie a knot around the top strand (blue)
  • d.) Pull the knot tight
four image collage demonstrating the first four steps of completing a magic knot
  • e.) Using the top strand of yarn, tie a knot around the bottom strand (blue) and pull it tight
  • f. – g.) Pull away from the center to tighten the knots. This is the magic part! The knots will slide to meet each other in the middle.
  • h.) Trim the yarn close to the knot
four image collage demonstrating the last four steps of completing a magic knot

Once the yarn is trimmed, tighten the knot again.

two hands pulling a magic knot tight