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Kitchener Stitch Grafting

Kitchener Stitch Grafting

When you graft using Kitchener stitch, you use a darning needle to insert a perfect row of knitting between two pre-existing rows for a join that is utterly invisible.

You may find grafting a little daunting at first, but persevere—you’ll be a Kitchener expert in no time and the result will be worth the effort. Anywhere we specify grafting, you may of course choose to use 3-needle bind-off or bind off loosely and work a tidy seam. Knitter’s choice!

If you just need a quick Kitchener stitch refresher, try using our cheat sheet at the right. If you’re looking for a more in-depth description, keep reading.

You’ll need: a darning needle, good light, minimal distractions.

Kitchener Cheat Sheet

Once you have a feel for grafting, this little mantra will keep you on track. Note: Every loop gets two passes of the darner.

For Stockinette Stitch:

Set Up:
Begin at 2 & 4
Front Needle:
1. K & off.      2. P & on.
Back Needle:
3. P & off.      4. K & on.

Repeat 1-4. End 1 & 3.

For Garter Stitch:

Set Up:
Begin at 2 & 4.
Front Needle:
1. K & off.      2. P & on.
Back Needle:
3. K & off.      4. P & on.

Note: Front and back needles are alike.

Repeat 1-4. End 1 & 3.

Kitchener for Stockinette

Thread grafting yarn onto darning needle. With wrong sides (WS) facing each other, hold two needles parallel in left hand. Insert your left index finger down between needles to keep grafted stitches extra slack as you work. It’s important that grafted stitches are easy to identify so you don’t pull on the wrong strand when you go back to tighten them later.

Set Up: Insert darning needle (darner) into first stitch on front needle purlwise. Leave stitch on needle and pull yarn through, leaving an 8″ tail. Insert darner into first stitch on back needle knitwise, leave stitch on needle and pull yarn through.

Step 1: Insert darner into first stitch on front needle knitwise. Lift stitch off needle, but do not pull yarn through stitch yet.

Step 2: Insert darner into next stitch on front needle purlwise. Leave stitch on needle and pull yarn through (do not pull up tightly).

Step 3: Insert darner into first stitch on back needle purlwise. Lift stitch off needle, but do not pull yarn through stitch yet.

Step 4: Insert darner into next stitch on back needle knitwise. Leave stitch on needle and pull yarn through (do not pull up tightly).

Repeat Steps 1-4 until 1 stitch remains on each needle. End with Steps 1 and 3.

Starting at right edge where grafting began, use tip of darner to adjust tension of grafted stitches to the left until their tension matches that of knitted stitches. Excess will move to tail at left. Don’t pull the last stitch too tight or it will disappear!

Kitchener for Garter Stitch

Thread grafting tail onto darning needle. Hold two needles together parallel in left hand so that both needles have purl ridges right up next to the needles as they face you. Insert left index finger down between needles to keep grafted stitches extra slack as you work. It is important that grafted stitches are easy to identify so you don’t pull on the wrong strand when you go back to tighten them up later.

Note: In garter stitch grafting, darning needle is inserted into first stitch on each needle knitwise every time.

Set Up: Insert darner into first stitch on front needle purlwise and pull yarn through. Leave stitch on needle. Insert darner into first stitch on back needle purlwise and pull yarn through. Leave stitch on needle.

Step 1: Insert darner into first stitch on front needle knitwise. Lift off needle, but do not pull yarn through stitch yet.

Step 2: Insert darner into next stitch on front needle purlwise. Leave stitch on needle and pull yarn through (do not pull up tightly).

Step 3: Insert darner into next stitch on back needle knitwise. Lift stitch off needle, but do not pull yarn through stitch yet.

Step 4: Insert darner into next stitch on back needle purlwise. Leave stitch on needle and pull yarn through (do not pull up tightly).

Repeat Steps 1-4 until 1 stitch remains on each needle. End with Steps 1, then 3.

Adjust tension of grafted stitches as for stockinette version.

We feature Kitchener stitch in many of our Churchmouse Classics patterns, particularly when . . .

. . . we want to create an infinity loop by grafting one end of a scarf or wrap to the other (we graft the last row worked to a provisional beginning for a seamless construction). Example: Mohair Bias Loop—this was the first place we used grafting. 80 stitches in lace-weight mohair! Note: if you’re grafting with lace-weight yarn, be careful to work gently so as to not break yarn.

. . . we want to be sure all shaping is done by increase. Example: Quadrangle Wrap—both triangular sides are worked to the middle and then grafted. This way, we avoid decrease shaping which is a little clumpier and hangs differently at the edges.

. . . we join tubular pieces end to end for double-layered warmth. Example: Inside Outside Cowl—begins with a provisional cast-on, then the length is slipped inside for that double-layer.

. . . we’re closing up the toes of a sock! Example: Basic Sock, Turkish Bed Socks—for a nice, seamless toe.

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