How to Do the Kitchener Stitch (Grafting)
Here is how to join two sets of stitches without leaving a seam. This method is good for the toes of socks, the top of hoods, baby garments, or anywhere else you don't want a bulky seam.. It's NOT recommended for shoulder seams on heavy sweaters or other places where you need the stability of a bound-off edge to hold the shape of the garment.
Grafting, also known as Kitchener stitch or weaving, joins two sets of stitches that are still on the needle. Using a tapestry needle threaded with yarn you will create a row that looks like knit stitches between them. It sounds complicated, but once you get into the rhythm of it it's quite simple. Give it a try with two pieces of knitting using a plain, smooth yarn.
- First divide the stitches evenly onto two needles.
TIP: It's easier on straight needles, rather than a circular, and you MUST have the exact same number of stitches each needle.
- Thread a tapestry needle with a length of yarn that's attached to the knitting (a tail).
TIP: It should be at least twice as long as the finished join will be. Hold the needles parallel with the tips pointing in the same direction and the wrong (purl) sides facing inwards.
- To begin the process insert the threaded tapestry needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl.
- Pull the yarn through, leaving the stitch on the needle.
- Next insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit, leaving the stitch on the needle.
- Pull the yarn through.
Here are the four steps to repeat until you've worked all the stitches off the needles:
- Insert the needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit, then slip it off the needle.
- Insert the needle into the next stitch on the front needle as if to purl, but this time, leave it on the needle. Gently pull the yarn through.
- Insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl, and slip it off the needle.
- Insert the needle into the next stitch on the back needle as if to knit, and leave it on the needle. Pull the yarn through.
Repeat steps 1-4 until there are 2 stitches remaining on the needle. Do step 1, then step 3.
TIP: Try to do the process in one sitting. If you stop in the middle you might not pick it up on the right step.