Monday night I caught up with the Feral Knitters and brought Firebirds along.

They’re a subset of knitters from the Seattle Knitters Guild who focus on traditional projects such as Fair Isle and Aran knitting.

I was whole heartily welcomed and everyone was very friendly. They all seemed eager to allow one more Fair Isle knitter into the group.  As soon as I found a place I pulled out Firebirds to show to everyone. All were so kind with their comments and loved seeing this Jade Starmore design in person.

As I was showing it to Janine, she noticed the many dangling yarn ends on the sleeve. She suggested that I splice color changes instead of leaving ends. I’m glad she said something because I was wondering how I should handle color changes before I started the sleeve. It’s not that I didn’t know about splicing but thought it wouldn’t look right if each yarn was a different color. Janine said that if the values are close enough than it’s not really noticeable, especially if the color change is under the arm. With this new advice I started splicing most of the color changes.

When I spliced in the past, I would unravel each yarn end, discard one ply from each yarn, put the remaining ones together in the palm of my hand, spit into my hand and rub the plies together until they felted. This method seemed to work OK but didn’t always seem too sturdy. In fact I did it a few times on Firebirds and had to rip out some rows to fix a splice that started falling apart.  So when that happened, I knew there had to be a better way that would result in a stronger splice. I put a little more thought into the process and revamped how I splice. Here it is.

How to splice yarn


1. Unravel the plys of the two yarn ends that need to be spliced. Look at the two yarns as they lay side by side and figure out which ply
from one yarn would easily twist around a ply from the other yarn. I
find one ply that easily fits into the “kinks” of the other and twist
these two plys together with the same amount of twist while leaving the
other two plies dangling.

2. When the two opposite plies are neatly twisted together, I break off the extra plies but leave a tiny overlap.  Here’s a closer view of the two plies after they’ve been twisted together and the extra ends are broken off.

3. Now make the extra ends stick together by spitting into one palm. Place the yarn into the wet palm and  rub with the other palm. This should felt the ends into the yarn.

Here’s a closer view of the finished splice.

Now I won’t have so many ends to weave!

9 thoughts on “Splicing

  1. Thank you so much for the splicing tutorial.
    I would not have thought you could splice at the underarms, with the different colours, but I’m convinced. Thank you very much.


  2. The first time I tried splicing, I did it on a Myrna Stahman shawl. She shows instructions in her book on Faroese shawls that are rather like yours, except that she doesn’t cut off the one-ply tails. I wove them in, which wasn’t a problem since the shawl was one color, and I think I had only three splices for the entire thing. This makes a nice join for lace too. I positioned the joins behind K2-tog parts so they wouldn’t show, and they don’t.
    I’ll have to try your method when I work with yarn that will stick together more, like Shetland yarn will.


  3. you will never ever notice the color changes 🙂
    my splices are like yours, only a little shorter. if you rub them together really well they won’t come apart.
    i’m hoping what i told you about row gauge was right, my marina sleeves are a wee bit short 😉


  4. So the splice turns a four ply possibility into a two ply reality, like the original yarn? And it really holds with spit felting? I may try it on something less high stakes first.


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