Learn How to Change Colors in One Easy Stitch

Jun 28, 2012

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: [insert hook in next stitch and pull up a loop] 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  


  • 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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Jill Allen wrote
on Jun 28, 2012 8:11 PM

Thanks for the tips on color changing. It helped to give my work a cleaner look on the inside!

Char55 wrote
on Jun 30, 2012 11:17 AM

I use a slip knot in the end of the new color to put on the hook, but I do finish the last stitch with the new color. I still prefer to make a square knot where the colors join...It's usually small enough to hide inside a stitch. I just don't trust "weaving" not to come undone...especially in machine-washed articles like blankets and throws...or something that gets heavy use by children.

shesinblak wrote
on Jul 2, 2012 6:10 PM

Char55 - If you are worried about weaving, here's a trick sure to help.  BEFORE you get to the color change, lay the tail of the new color along your stitch work and complete the last couple stiches before you change colors.  BEFORE you pull the last loop thru to change the color, twist the two ends together (old and new color), then change the color.  Work a few stitches over top the tail of the ending color.  You won't see the tails or the twist if you turn it tightly enough and it locks the two together so no "unweaving".  HTH.