There are various techniques for changing your yarn, either joining a new skein of the same color or adding a new skein of a different color. The four techniques presented in Part 2 are: Russian join, floating yarn, encasing yarn and dropping yarn.
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6. Russian Join – This is a double loop join. Thread your yarn end through a tapestry needle. With the main yarn strand hold a loop off to the side and weave the needle through that strand. Pull the needle all the way through the yarn, removing the needle and creating a loop. Put down that loop. Thread your new yarn on a tapestry needle. Pull a new loop through the original loop so there is a loop inside a loop. Take the working part of the new yarn and repeat the same as before. Weave the needle through the yarn and pull it through, removing the needle as the end comes off it. There are two loops united together. Take the ends and pull them tight so a join is created. Most of the instructions I’ve read recommend cutting the ends close to the join. However, when I pull the main yarn cords, the join starts to loosen. So instead, I pull it tightly and work both ends along with the main yarn strands. Work the old strands together up to the join; continue working both strands of the new yarn until the end is completely used. Then you can cut any ends that stick out. This technique is good for adding a skein of the same color. However, it can also work for changing colors if the join can be placed so it disappears inside the last two loops on your hook of the previous stitch.
7. Floating yarn – When you have the last two loops on the hook, drop the old color to the back and pick up the new color with a loop to complete the stitch. As soon as the new stitches are completed and the last two loops are on the hook, drop the current color to the back and pick up the previous yarn again. Carry or float the previous color yarn across the back of the fabric. Be careful not to pull it too tightly, otherwise you’ll distort the tension of your stitches. The yarn loops carried or floated across the back of your work are visible on the back. (You can use the same technique working along the side edge when changing colors for a new row.) However, it’s best not to have too many stitches (two or three) float along the back or three or four rows along the edge. On the edge you’ll work a border around the edge so the floats will be hidden. However, if you’re working a Fair Isle design, float or loop lengths on the wrong side of the panel of two or three stitches might work well. But if you are making something where catching the floats or loops would be possible, it would be better to encase them.
8. Encasing Yarn – When changing to the new color, carry the previous yarn across the top of the stitches of the row below. Continue working with the new color yarn, working over the yarn carried along the top, encasing it in the new stitches. When changing color again, carry the old color over the top of the previous row’s stitches and encase this yarn as you work with the new color yarn. Your yarn will be ready to use each time you want to change color. On the right side the color change will have clean edges. On the wrong side the stitches will not have any loops carried across. The only possible problem is color bleeding. If the colors have a great contrast such as black and white, the black yarn would cover over the white encased stitches. However, the white stitches might allow the black encased yarn to peek between the white stitches or cast a shadow through the white stitches. The best way to handle this situation is to use the drop technique.
9. Dropping Yarn – After changing to your new color, drop the previous color yarn to the back or wrong side. If I am working with blue, I drop the blue yarn to the wrong side and continue with my new pink color. When finishing with these pink stitches, I want to return to using blue. This time I pick up a new skein or ball of blue. I use this new ball of blue until I am finished with these stitches. I keep adding new balls of yarn every time I change colors. Obviously if you are working with a number of skeins, it can become a little awkward. If you only need a small amount of yarn, roll a small ball or skein to complete the number of stitches you will need for this section. This really works well for color blocking or Intarsia work where a clean edge is needed.
When you turn your work and begin crocheting on the back or wrong side, continue to drop your yarn to the wrong side (which is now the front). The reason for this is you want the small loops created as you change color to remain on the wrong side. The right side will remain free of these extra loops so it will have a clean change of color.