Well, I was going to be clever and start this post off by saying ‘hello’ in Russian, but the quick Google search for ‘hello in Russian’ resulted in something that had lots of characters I wasn’t sure I could retype. So much for that though…
Anyhow, when knitting something that uses multiple skeins of yarn you inevitably have to change skeins. Sometimes you get lucky and can do it at the end/beginning of the row, but that still leaves you with tails to weave in. The Russian join is a great way to join your yarn and eliminate the tail weaving, all in one go! Basically, you will be using a needle to hide the tail of the yarn down it’s own center (more on this later). This means that you have to have a certain type of yarn. For example, your yarn needs to be thick enough to hide the tail. Lace weight probably isn’t going to work the best. It also needs to be a material that has a center. Those novelty yarns will just need to be joined some other way. The Russian join will generally work with yarn that is DK or above and multiple or single plied. When in doubt, you can always try it. If it doesn’t work you’ve learned something and can always join it some other way.
Let’s start with what you need. First and foremost, you’ll need your project and the yarn you wish to join. In my example I’m using two colors so you can see what’s going on. Generally, you’ll probably be joining yarn of the same color. Second, you’ll need a needle with a big eye. It doesn’t really matter what type of needle, you just need to get the yarn through it. Third, a small bit of paper that fits through the eye of the needle, folded in half. Lastly, a pair of snips to trim the yarn ends.
Place the paper over the end of the yarn and thread the folded end through the eye of the needle. (This keeps all those end fibers going in the same direction and makes it a lot easier to get through the needle).
Pull the needle down the yarn about 2 inches and thread the needle through the center of your yarn. It might not go completely down the center, but you want it to go as much as possible in the center.
Make sure it goes down the yarn quite a ways. It will look all bunched up on your needle with a little loop on the end. We need that loop to happen. If the loop didn’t happen, start over.
Remove the needle from the end of the yarn. I use something to keep that loop from pulling out. Here a pen works. You can also use your knitting needle or whatever happens to be handy and fit.
Repeat the needle threading process with your second end and thread it through that loop we just made. (Remember to remove whatever you’re using to keep the loop open).
Thread the second strand of yarn down it’s own center, just like the first and remove your needle. Pull on the tails to close those loops we made. You should have bunched up yarn on both sides with the tails sticking out and a nice, tight connection in the center.
Smooth down all that bunched yarn. If you did it exactly perfectly the smoothed yarn will cover the tail. Don’t fret if you still have a tail sticking out (like on my red side).
Hold the tail and rebunch the yarn just a bit. Snip it off and smooth it down again.
Voilà! You now have a nice, neat join and don’t need to spend time weaving in your tails. It takes a bit more time in the moment, but saves time at the end of the project.
You can see here a join with the same color yarn. It’s really hard to tell where it actually joins!