Several weeks ago now, I spent an entire afternoon sitting in a chair in my dining room while some men were here installing new carpet in our home. I was making this simple shrug in Red Heart Boutique Treasure #1913 Spectrum for Drama Queen. I decided to use a Russian join to join in a new skein. I didn't come up with this technique. I learned about it from articles in magazines, but I have learned to really love it, so I wanted to share this tutorial with you, my readers. Since my phone was handy, I used it to take step-by-step pictures of the process.
Sorry about the glare in this photo. I tried to do the rest with some paper in the background. Sorry for the poor photo-quality here. I was making do with what I had there with me.
Anyway, we begin in the photo above, with time to join in a new skein.
Take the yarn end from the skein you've been working with, and thread it into a yarn needle.
Put that end around the end for the new skein, looping them around each other with 4 to 6 inches of end left.
Working back into the same strand that is on the needle, run the needle back and forth through the strand, so that your needle is heading back towards your project. You'll be forming a loop between where the needle is attached to your yarn end, and where you've started running it back into the strand. The other yarn end, for the new skein, should be going through that loop.
Once you've run your needle through 4 to 6 inches of the strand, pull it all the way through to close up the loop you've made. Now the end from the skein you've been using, is a double thickness. There is a little loop where I had wrapped this end around the other. The end of my new skein is going through that loop. Cut off any excess that didn't get worked in, or just weave it in a little further.
Now thread the end of the new skein into your yarn needle and do the same thing. Run the needle in and out through the strand, forming a loop 4 to 6 inches away from the end of the yarn. This time, your needle will be heading towards your new skein.
You see how the needle goes back and forth through the strand?
Pull the needle all the way through to close up the hole. Now this new yarn end is a double thickness, and it is joined to the old yarn end. Cut off any excess, or weave in a little more if needed.
Can you see that the next few stitches are a little more bulky than the rest? That's because they are worked with double-thick yarn. However, in the finished shrug, you really can't see it.
Why would you want to join a new skein this way instead of however you've done it before? Well, for starters, the ends are all woven in by the time you finish joining. It really doesn't take all that long to do this once you get the hang of it, and there are NO ends left to weave in afterwards! Those ends will be really secure! Believe me, they are not coming undone from that!
As I worked on this Russian join, it occurred to me how awesome this will be for lace projects! One of the really frustrating parts about lace projects for me is finding a place to weave in the ends that they won't show and won't come undone. I will use Russian joins in lace projects from now on!!! And you can use this technique whether you are crocheting or knitting!
This is also great when you are using yarns that don't have any, or much, grab to them. With a lot of animal fibers, ends stay woven in pretty well because the scales on the fibers grab each other and the ends stay locked in. However, when working with fibers that don't do that...well, we've probably all had projects where our ends wouldn't stay put. Cotton, acrylic, bamboo, silk -- with many of these yarns, it can be nearly impossible to keep your ends from coming undone. I will use Russian joins when using these yarns from now on!!!