Kitchener stitch is an invisible way to graft two sets of live stitches together. It’s used to close the toes of socks, the tips of mittens, and anywhere that you’d like your seams to look uninterrupted. You’ve probably seen kitchener stitch used to graft stocking stitch together, so it might come as a surprise to see it used with garter stitch, but it’s entirely possible. The trick is to work out the orientation of the stitches, and then the correct combination of movements with the needle. Let’s have a look at an example to see how it works.
To begin Kitchener stitch you will have an equal number of live stitches on each needle, positioned with wrong sides facing. In this example the front needle has purl bumps directly underneath the stitches on the right side, and the back needle has knit stitches directly underneath the needle on it’s right side (the outside).
Cut the yarn from the ball leaving a tail roughly three times the length of piece you’re grafting. It doesn’t matter if the yarn is coming from the back needle, or the front. Thread this onto a darning needle and secure the yarn by passing it purl wise through the first stitch on the front needle, and then purl wise through the first stitch on the back needle. You’re now ready to start grafting!
1. Insert the needle knit wise into the first stitch on the front needle.
Pull the length of yarn through the stitch and then let it drop off the end of the needle.
2. Then pass the darning needle purl wise through the second stitch and leave it on the needle.
3. Repeat the same two steps on the back needle. Insert the darning needle knit wise into the first stitch.
Slip it off the end of the needle.
4. Insert the darning needle purl wise into the second stitch on the back needle, and leave it where it is.
Repeat this 4 step sequence to the end of the needle. It may help you to remember the sequence in shorthand, for instance: knit, off, purl – knit, off, purl, remembering to work two stitches from each needle at a time.
Reversed Garter Stitch
Now, if the orientation of your stitches is reversed, so there are knit stitches on the right side of the front needle, and purl bumps on the right side of the back needle, you will need to reverse the sequence: pass the needle knit wise through the first stitch on the front needle, and knit wise through the first stitch on the back needle to set up. Then work: purl, off, knit – purl, off, knit, as the four sequence graft.
Seamless knits are my favourite, so this technique is a great one to have in your knitting arsenal if you dislike seaming as much as I do – happy grafting, folks!
P.S Try out the technique now with my new Jersey Basket Pattern.