Changing Colors in Crochet

By Janice Jones     |Published 04-07-2021

This article is all about changing colors in crochet, but it is also about joining new yarn using the same color.  Either way, the methods are the same. 

This article will describe different ways to join a new yarn, whether it is the same color or a different one.  Try them and see which one you like the best.  These methods include changing colors at the beginning or end of the row, in the middle of a row, and when you are working in the round.

Method One:  Join the New Yarn at the Beginning of the Row

No knot is used to add a new color of yarn to the hook at the beginning of the row.

In this method, you will join new yarn at the beginning of a row.  Simply drop the old yarn but leave a tail of about 6 inches before cutting the yarn.  Create a loop of new yarn around the hook.  Pull the new yarn through the original loop on the hook and begin the new row in the same way you would always work.  You will want to tighten the ends.  Once you've made a few stitches, you can weave in the ends or save that task until you have finished the project.

Steps:

  1. At the end of the row, turn your work.
  2. Attach the new yarn by placing a loop of the new yarn over the hook and pulling through. Save about a 6 inch tail of new yarn for weaving in.
  3. Complete the correct number of chain stitches with your new yarn then continue down the row with the new yarn.

  4.  Cut off old yarn leaving a six inch tail.

Changing Colors in Crochet, Method Two:  Change Yarns at the End of the Row Using a Slip Knot

Changing colors at the beginning of a row by tightening off the old color and inserting a slip knot of the new color onto the hook.

You can use this method for changing yarn colors or beginning with a new yarn.  At the end of the row, pull the last stitch through and tighten off.  Cut the old yarn leaving a tail to weave in at a later time.

Beginning with the new yarn, create a slip knot and place it on the hook.  Insert the hook into the first stitch of the row and draw up a loop through the stitch's top.  Pull through and adjust the new yarn if it is too loose.

This method does create a secure attachment but you may also encounter knots in your work.

Method Three:  Changing Colors in Crochet at the End of the Row with No Knots

Changing colors at the end of a crochet row by adding a loop of new yarn and continuing to work.

This method works well for all stitches and is my favorite.  You will change the yarn at the end of the row.  Work your last stitch but keep the last two loops on the hook.  This works for all stitches except the half double crochet, where you would typically be pulling through three loops at a time. If you are working in half double crochet, keep all three loops on your hook.

Rather than pulling through with the old yarn, wrap the new yarn around the hook and pull through the last two loops with the new yarn. 

If you are working a half double crochet stitch, work the stitch as usual but when you have three loops on the hook, place the new yarn on the hook and pull through all three loops with the new color. 

You may want to tug a bit on the ends of both new and old yarns to adjust the tension if it is too loose.  After you've worked a couple of rows, cut off the old yarn leaving a long enough tail for weaving in. This is the most efficient way, in my opinion, to change yarns.

Method Four:  Changing Colors in Crochet in the middle of the row

Changing colors in the middle of a row of crochet

This method is very similar to method three above, but you will work with the old color until it is time to change the color.  Work the last stitch but leave two loops on the hook.  Pick up the new yarn as if you were changing colors at the end of the row, and pull through the loops on the hook with the new color. 

You could also use Method Two (above) utilizing the slip knot, but I don't recommend it as it is difficult to hid that little knot and it does tend to pop back to the front of the work if you're not careful.

Method Five: Changing Colors in Crochet by Carrying the Color Up the side of the fabric as you work

Color changes made in crochet by carrying the yarn tail up the side of the work.

This is really not a different method, but a variation of method three above.  Rather than cutting the yarn after each color change, you will keep the yarn ball attached and carry the end up the side of your work.  This method is good if you plan to add an edging to the end product and thus hide the strands of yarn that are carried up the side.

If you are creating stripes and don't want to cut the old yarn after each stripe, it makes sense to carry the yarn along your fabric's side edge. This method works well if you are making stripes that are two rows in width.   To do this, you will be changing colors at the beginning of every second row.  This method will work with single crochet, double crochet, and other crochet stitches. 

To Add the New Color:

  1. Work to the end of the row, leaving two loops on the hook (three loops if working in half double crochet).  
  2. Attach the new color and complete the last stitch but do not snip off the old yarn.
  3. Turn your work and chain the required number of chain stitches. Work the row, turn, and work back to the side where you changed colors.
  4. Draw up the second color from the side of the work and repeat step one.  Be sure to allow enough slack in the old color so it sits flat on the side of your work.

Method Six:  How to pick up a new color when working in the round

Changing colors while working in the round

Continue the round until you have reached the last stitch.  Insert the hook under the loops of your first stitch.  Place the new color on your hook and pull through the loop and the loop on your hook to complete the slip stitch with the new color.  Tug a little on both the old and new yarn ends to tighten and then continue with the chain stitches using the new color.

Alternatively, you can complete the round, including connecting the new round with a slip stitch in the old color.  Wrap the new yarn around the hook and make your chain stitches with the new color.  Tug at the ends to tighten.

PLUS, a bonus join

Russian Join

Russian Join methodRussian Join

Step 1 Thread a yarn needle with one end of the joining pieces of yarn.

Step 2 Weave the needle through the yarn fibers at least three times, making sure to have a loop at the end

Step 3 Thread the needle with the joining piece of yarn then pull the needle through the loop of the first piece of yarn

Step 4 work the yarn through the yarn fibers at least three times and pull on both working yarns to close the loops tight. Trim off any excess yarn from the ends.

Use the yarn as usual. There could be a bit of a thickening where the join was created. This does not show when the project is complete too much.

Changing Colors in Crochet:  Pin for Future Reference

Pinnable Image of a stripped crochet swatch where color changes are displayedChanging Colors in Crochet: Pin for future reference

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