how to … GRAFT aka KITCHENER STITCH …

Most of my patterns are completely seamless, so no need for a tapestry needle, really – except for weaving in and occasional end, of course (I don’t bother weaving in ends that hang at the wrong side and don’t stick out – sshht, don’t tell anyone). But still, it is good to know how to graft two pieces together. Grafting joins two pieces with the stitches still on the needle aka ‘live’ stitches. It doesn’t have the bulkiness of a sewn seam and it looks seamless. It creates a row of knit stitches (see the yellow stitches).

kitchener blog

The kitchener stitch can be used to close the toe of a sock, to close the shoulder seam of a garment worked bottom up or as a tubular bind off that matches a tubular cast on. The pictures in this tutorial show the latter.

You might notice that the ribbing in the photos is a 2/2 rib and the kitchener stitch is usually used on a 1/1 rib. Here is a great way to go from a 2/2 rib to a 1/1 rib. It’s genius.
I didn’t really drop the stitch (too scary) but placed it on a cable needle
and held the cable needle in front.

Lets’ go:

KITCHENER STITCH aka GRAFTING

Half the stitches should be on one needle and the other half on another needle. (If you are working a tubular bind off, slip all the knit stitches to one needle (front needle) and all the purl stitches on another needle (back needle).

Cut the yarn at about twice the length of the edge that needs to be grafted. Thread the yarn through a tapestry needle.

THE FIRST STITCH
first stitch 1  first stitch 2
Insert the tapestry needle        Then insert the needle into
into the first stitch of the          the first stitch on the back 
front needle as if to purl          needle as if to knit (from front 
(from back to front) and          to back) and pull the yarn 
pull it through.                          through

THE FOLLOWING STITCHES
The following steps will be repeated for all stitches.

FRONT NEEDLE
step 1  step 2  step 3

Go through the first stitch on     and through the second        Drop the first stitch off the
the front needle as if to knit       stitch as if to purl (back to      front needle
(front to back)                             front)

BACK NEEDLE
step 4  step 5  step 6
Go through the first stitch on    and through the second         Drop the first stitch off the
the back needle as if to purl.    stitch as if to knit.                    back needle.

Repeat these 6 steps until only 1 stitch is left on the front needle and 1 on the back needle. Go through the stitch on the front needle as if to knit, drop it, go through the stitch on the back needle as if to purl, drop it and weave in the end.

Once you have worked a few stitches you will get in the rhythm:
front needle: knitwise, purlwise, drop
back needle: purlwise, knitwise, drop

I know one could drop the first stitch immediately after the first step, but that rhythm doesn’t speak to me (knitwise, drop, purlwise, hmm). I also think it’s easier – when you get distracted – to keep track of what you were doing if you are working in pairs.

IMPORTANT (if you are like me 😉
If ‘as if to knit’ or ‘knitwise’ and ‘as if to purl’ or ‘purlwise’ makes your head spin, try to think of it this way.

Insert the needle in the first stitch always inwards, and in the second stitch outwards, no matter if it is the front or the back needle – except for the preparatory step with the very first stitch: see on top.
in-out

And the song goes like this:
front: inwards, outwards, drop
back: inwards, outwards, drop

inwards, outwards, drop
inwards, outwards, drop
inwards, outwards, drop
inwards, outwards, drop
in, out, drop
in, out, drop

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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