Kitchener Stitch Tutorial

Kitchener stitch is one of those things that tends to make some knitters nervous.  No need to be nervous!!  If you’re really concerned that you will mess up, then put a lifeline in the row you will graft, or the row below.  That way you can always undo what you did and do it over again. :-)

Most Kitchener stitch tutorials assume that you have stockinette to graft, and that is the most common occurrence – sock toes especially.  So they give instructions to ‘Knit on, purl off.  Purl on, knit off.”  But what if you have something other than stockinette?  That won’t work if you have a rib, or some combination of knits and purls instead of plain stockinette.  I ran into that situation a while ago – I wanted to graft a hood on a sweater, and it had cables on the sides, with purls framing the cables, and stockinette on the rest of the hood.  I researched, and came across a different set of instructions : “Same off, Opposite on.”  Now, I always use this ‘mantra’, if you will, to work my Kitchener stitch.  And I know no matter what stitch pattern I have I will be able to graft it using this.

(One caveat:  If your grafting row needs to look different from the work below, then this will not work.  For example,  seed stitch – where every row is different from the other.  This would produce a row identical to the row below, NOT maintaining the seed stitch across the graft.  Keep that in mind.)

Kitchener stitch is just a fancy name for a sewn graft.  You are essentially working a row of duplicate stitch between two opposing live rows.  It gets a bit confusing and intimidating because instead of the work flat in front of you, you have half the knitting (the right side) in the front,  and half the knitting (the wrong side) in the back.

Until you get more confident (and even once you’re pretty good at it!) I suggest locking yourself away in a quiet room with no distractions to work Kitchener stitch, and DO NOT stop in the middle, or you may lose your place!

Cut your working yarn a good 3-4 times longer than you think you need.  Then thread it on a tapestry needle.

I will start with some photos showing the steps, and at the end of this post I will have two videos showing the process.  (You can skip down to the videos first if you’d like!) :-)

Knitting ready to graft:

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Ready to graft

Working yarn threaded on needle and ready to go (shown in contrast yarn.):

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Working yarn coming from front needle. (Green yarn here.)

In this case my yarn is coming from the front needle.  When you’re knitting in the round, your yarn will be coming from the back needle instead.  Doesn’t matter!  Just start with the front needle instead of the back needle.

The first step is to work an “Opposite On” stitch on the needle that does NOT have the working yarn.

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Setup step one – “Opposite On”. I’m showing the needle above the front knitting needle for clarity in the photo -DON’T do that yourself- keep the tapestry needle UNDER the front knitting needle.

In this case the stitch is a purl, so put the needle into the stitch as if to knit and leave the stitch on the knitting needle.

Now we need to work an “Opposite On” on the front needle.

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Setup step two – another “Opposite On”

This is a knit stitch, so put the tapestry needle through the stitch as if to purl.

Pull the yarn through, but do not pull it tight.  We will fix the tension after everything is done.  BE SURE to keep the working thread UNDER the knitting needles.  This is very important.  If you don’t you will have a big mess.

Now we’re ready to start working the stitches off the needle.  We last did the front needle, so move to the back needle and begin working the pair of instructions : “Same Off, Opposite On”.

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“Same Off”

Our back stitch is a purl, so to “Same Off”  purl this stitch and pull it off the needle.  Before you do anything else, work an “Opposite On”:  knit the next stitch (because it is a purl) and leave it on the needle.

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“Opposite On”. (Again, note that I have the needle ABOVE the knitting needle – DON’T DO THAT – keep your needle under the front knitting needle. I did it this way for clarity in the photo, and wasn’t thinking about the consequences. Oops!)

Now pull your working yarn through, but not too tight.

Move to the front needle, and repeat the process, this time with your knit stitches.

First, “Same Off” – so knit the stitch and pull it off the needle.

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“Same Off”

Now “Opposite On”, so purl the next stitch and leave it on the needle.

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“Opposite On”

Pull your yarn through, but not too tight.

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Looks sloppy, but we’ll fix it later.

You’ll continue across until you get to your last stitch on each needle.  You will work the “Same Off” step on each needle, but not the “on” step (since you have no more stitches on the needle!). You’re almost done!

Now, we need to fix the tension across the row so it looks neat.  Starting at the end where you started grafting, pull each individual stitch, one side at a time, until you get a stitch that matches the tension in the rest of the knitting.  Slowly work your way across the row until you get to the end.  Weave in your ends and you’re done!

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Halfway done fixing the tension.

 

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All done!

Now, for something other than stockinette stitch, you do the EXACT SAME steps!  As long as you pay attention to what kind of stitch is currently facing you, and remember to work “Same Off” or “Opposite On”, then you can graft any combination of knits and purls!  Here is a knit and purl rib piece after grafting:

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K4, P2 rib grafted.

If you’re still confused, I made a couple of videos that might make it more clear.  I walk you through grafting stockinette stitch, and then grafting the rib in the photo above.

(I apologize – the second video is a bit blurry in spots, but hopefully you can see well enough to see what I’m doing!)

Another thing to keep in mind is that grafting always offsets the two knitted pieces by a half stitch.  This is because you have the tops of the knits facing each other, and you have to carry a column of knit stitches up into the space between two upside down knits on the opposite piece.  If you look closely at the rib photo above, you can see what I mean.  Try to graft in an inconspicuous place if you have a pattern other than stockinette- if the offset bothers you.  Most people won’t notice it, however. :-)

I hope this was helpful!  Let me know if anything is still unclear, and feel free to add your questions or comments below!

Happy Knitting!

Posted in Techniques | 2 Comments

Closing the heel gap in socks

Here is my favorite way to ‘close the gap’ between the instep and the gusset on heel flap socks.

I’ve tried several ways to close that little gap, and this is the one I’ve settled on as my favorite because, of the methods I’ve tried, it blends in the best. My previous favorite method was to pick up a stitch from in between the gap – using one side of each stitch in the row below and knitting them together. The problem with this method was that it left an obvious twisted stitch right there at the join. It closed the gap great, but I cringe at the twisted stitch!

This method blends in so much better, while still closing that gap really well.

So, here’s how I do it!

Here’s a heel flap, ready to have the gusset stitches picked up on the one side:

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Hell Flap ready to have gusset stitches picked up

I’m going to knit into the very first heel flap stitch, and essentially do a lifted increase in that stitch. Here’s the stitch:

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The strand/stitch to be knitted into

And one more angle showing the stitch I’m talking about:

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Another angle showing the strand/stitch to be knitted into

We’re working on the left side of the heel flap, after we’ve knit our instep stitches. The easiest way to work on this side is to use your working needle to lift up the stitch and then knit into it – like so:

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Picking up the stitch with the working needle

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The finished stitch.

You’re now ready to pick up the gusset stitches.

This showed you the left side, but what about the right?  When you are picking up the stitch on the right side, prior to working your instep stitches, it’s easiest to pick up the stitch using a spare needle, and then knitting into it. But remember to pick up the stitch at the base of the heel flap – not an instep stitch.

(Here’s why the heel stitch works so much better than the instep stitch – when you pick up the stitch from the heel, you are replacing the stitch column that will get eaten up when you pick up your gusset stitches.  This allows the extra stitch to blend in.  If you picked up a stitch from the instep, it would still blend in to a degree, but not as well.)

Here is what the gusset area looks like when it’s done:

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The gusset area afterwards.

This sample has no gusset decreases worked, so keep that in mind.

Here is a finished sock that I used this method on:

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Gusset area on finished socks using this technique

Notice how it blends in really well!!

So, that’s how I close the dreaded gap! :-)

Happy Knitting!!

Posted in Techniques | 2 Comments

My biggest and best FO, EVER

Well, no more waiting for me!  I’m the newest TKGA Master Knitter!  This is the culmination of 7 years of hard work (not consistently – the first 5 were off and on, but the last 2 were pretty much dedicated exclusively to the MK work.)

My resubmits should get back to me in the next few days, but my co-chair was kind enough to email me my letter so I wouldn’t have to wait to find out.

I am filled with so many emotions right now – joy, relief, pride, amazement, disbelief.  I think it will take me a little while to get use to it. :-D

I am SO looking forward to the TKGA conference in July.  I’ll be able to stand on stage with so many accomplished knitters (and friends) and get my pin along with them.  It’ll be amazing, I just know it.

Thank you to my readers – you’ve been wonderful cheerleaders and supporters!  Stick around, I’m only just getting started!! :-D

As always, HAPPY knitting!!

Posted in FO Posts, Master Knitter Posts | 10 Comments

More waiting…

This time on my resubmits!! :-)

I got my box back a week ago (yay!!), and had a few things to redo, but really not much!  My sweater and hat (and related patterns) all passed, as well as my reports and book/magazine reviews.  Whew!!  I just had three swatches to redo or fix, and one mini swatch to submit showing a technique I had done wrong on one swatch.  Several of my patterns and information sheets needed editing or more info added as well. And I had to add more info to 4 of my answers to the questions.

Swatch #1 - resubmit

Swatch #1 resubmit – tubular cast on and bind off. Plus gauge calculations. (That’s why the pink yarn is there.)

My swatch #1 needed redoing because a) I had too tight a gauge for the worsted weight yarn and b) I didn’t actually do a tubular cast on and bind off! Duh!! I don’t know what I was thinking – only that I must not have been thinking! I had done an invisible cast on and bind off, but not tubular! So, I had to do that one over, of course!! :-) (I’m still kicking myself on that one!!)

Swatch # 8 resubmit

Swatch #8 – Herringbone stitch (resubmit)

My Swatch #8 – the herringbone one, didn’t have the bind off done in pattern, so that one needed fixing. Instead of knitting the whole thing over I simply ripped out the bind off and did it correctly. Then I blocked it again.

Mini swatch for #14

Swatch #14 – mini swatch – front

Mini swatch for #14

Swatch #14 mini swatch – back. (Notice the right hand side.)

So, my Swatch #18 – the slipped stitch swatch, passed, but my method of carrying the yarn on the side wasn’t ideal – it left a ‘barber pole’ effect. (My original swatch is in with resubmits, otherwise I’d show you a picture of the back of it to compare! Maybe when I get it back I can do that – to show the difference.) So, I had to knit a mini-swatch of my pattern showing the more appropriate method of carrying the yarn up the side.

Swatch #18 resubmit

Swatch #18 – resubmit.

Then my swatch #18 – the duplicate stitch swatch – was really good except for a couple spots where my weaving of my yarn ends showed through to the front, because I had done them wrong! (I forgot to take a picture of the swatch with the spots indicated, oops!) Anyway, this one I fixed by undoing all my yarn end weavings (even the ones not pointed out to me!) and redid them correctly. I would have ripped out the whole bottom of the S and done it over (because there’s still a spot or two that I didn’t like) but I have no more of the blue yarn to have it match! Yikes! I looked all over for more of the blue and can’t find it anywhere! I hope it passes as it is, otherwise I might have to do the whole swatch over again (I hope not, though!)

I worked my butt off over the weekend and got everything done and mailed it back in on Tuesday (which happened to be my birthday!) :-)  So I was one happy gal!

Now it’s just another waiting game to see if I my resubmits are accepted or if I have more work to do.  We’ll see – fingers and needles crossed!!

Happy Knitting everyone!!

Posted in Master Knitter Posts, WiP Posts | 2 Comments

Still waiting….

I’m still waiting for my Master Knitter level 3 notebook to come back to me.  I figure I still have about 3 or more weeks to go.  Waiting is hard, yo.  :-)

I started the Sheherezade shawl – I went with the gold beads.  I’m very happy with it so far, and I’m pretty close to finishing!  I have three balls of the merino/silk lace yarn, but I’m not even halfway through the first ball, so I think I’ll have tons of yarn left.

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Doesn’t look like much yet…

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The beads are much more gold in person.

I did finish my handspun ‘One Row’ scarf – I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  It’s very long (about 8 feet!)  I haven’t blocked it yet, I really need to do that soon.  This was a silk/merino braid I had gotten from River’s Edge Fiber Arts at SAFF one year, and I spun it up as a gradient, and navajo plied it.  Should be really nice and soft once I block it.

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I also finished spinning up my Jacob – it turned out really nice.  It’s a heavy fingering mostly, I have no idea how many yards yet.  I navajo plied it to keep the color change.  I’m really not sure what I’ll knit with it…

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That’s what’s going on with me! I’m just killing time waiting to get my notebook back, really. :-)

Happy Knitting everyone!!

Posted in FO Posts, Master Knitter Posts, WiP Posts | 1 Comment