Tuesday, May 8, 2007

An easier way to Kitchener Stitch (also called "grafting seams" or "weaving seams")

includes a how-to
click picture
Lord Kitchener, a British general, was concerned about the state of his men's feet--their sock seams rubbed their toes bloody. Accordingly, he invented (or more likely, IMHO, he had an expert knitter invent, and then took the credit for) a way to finish off socks smoothly. This toe-ending maneuver is now called the Kitchener stitch. Other names for this maneuver are: "weaving" or "grafting" seams.

Kitchener stitch makes a very lovely ending--a sort of optical illusion that the knitting just kept going "around the corner." Without the red yarn picking out the weaving for you to follow (little picture) the seam in this sock toe would be completely invisible (big picture). Kitchener stitching is most often used for sock toes, but is sometimes used to graft other "live edges" together. One example of a recent high-fashion pattern which used huge amounts to Kitchener stitching to close the long seams at the top of dolman sleeves can be found here (scroll--fur trimmed wrap).

Now, the thing about Kitchener stitch is that it is usually done with a tapestry needle and a length of yarn, and typically terrifies knitters, being considered an "expert" skill. The needle goes in and out of the live stitches, following the complicated path that a row of knitting would take, and this accounts for the invisibility of the seam--the fabric is actually grafted together with a seam which is structurally identical to the fabric.

click picturebe my guinea pig?

For some time, I have been nursing the theory that maybe the reason why some knitters avoid Kitchener stitch is because it is actually a species of sewing. It is my theory that if it you didn't have to dig out a tapestry needle -- if it could be done with knitting needles -- Kitchener-o-phobic knitters might find it more attractive.

After a bit of messing around, this new unvention has emerged--a way to graft seams shut with knitting needles. This TECH-unvention is now ready to spring upon the world.

This post asks you, dear readers, to fill the role of guinea pigs. My fellow blogger, kmkat, was the first guinea pig--she graciously volunteered to be a test-knitter before this post was ever published, and she found that the instructions worked for her. Now, perhaps you will try these instructions out for yourself and see whether you like this new method.

Like the traditional sewing method, this new way is still done with a length of yarn pulled through the loops, but the "stitches" are real knitting stitches (knit and purl) not sewing stitches, and the work is done only with knitting needles--you can leave the tapestry needle in the cross-stitch kit, where it belongs.


click picture
K st set up
When you have finished the toe of a sock, you must set up your work as follows: arrange all the front (instep) stitches on one double pointed needle, and all the back (sole) stitches on another double pointed needle--in the instructions which follow, these two needles are called the left needles, both front and rear. The yarn should be coming out of the last stitch on the rear needle--in other words, by the right hand end of the rear left needle, as illustrated above.

For a typical sock toe, about 15 inches of yarn will be more than enough--cut the yarn to that length. This 15 inch length of yarn (illustrated in red, above) is the "working yarn." The work is actually done by manipulating this working yarn, using a third double pointed needle, the "right-" or "working needle." To complete your set-up, you must take this working needle into your right hand, while holding the two left needles in your left hand.

A final note before beginning: Although this method is done with knitting needles, it is different than knitting because it is done with a CUT LENGTH OF YARN--which we are calling the "working yarn." Instead of making endless loops, you are going to do something unusual with your knitting needle--you are going to use it to draw the working yarn ALL THE WAY THROUGH each loop each time. If you look at the illustrations below, you will see that the working yarn (red) passes AS A SINGLE STRAND, through the stitch being worked. In other words, with each of the 4 steps listed below, the working yarn is to be pulled all the way through the stitch until the end of the working yarn has popped free, as illustrated.

Step 1:
click picture
K st step1
Wrap (bring) the working yarn around to the front of the work.  NOTE that the working yarn passes UNDER the two left needles, and UNDER the right working needle.  Insert the right working needle into the first stitch (green) on the left front needle, and use the working yarn to PURL this first stitch. Draw the working yarn backwards (away from you) all the way through this stitch until the end of the working yarn pops free. The loose end of the working yarn (red) will now be in the area between the left needles. The stitch (green) which you were working is now fully bound off.  Push this stitch off the left front needle.

Step 2:
click picturek st step2
The working yarn should now be in the area between the left front and left rear needles. Insert the right working needle into the next stitch (purple)--which is the second stitch on the left front needle. Use the working yarn to KNIT this stitch. Draw the working yarn forward (towards you) all the way through this stitch until the end of the working yarn pops free of the stitch. The loose end of the working yarn (red) will now be in the front of the work. The stitch (purple) you were working on is only half bound off--you must leave this stitch on the left front needle.

Step 3:
click picture
Wrap the working yarn around to the back of the work. NOTE that the working yarn again passes UNDER all the needles on its trip to the back of the work.  Insert the right working needle into first stitch on the left rear needle (blue) and use the working yarn to KNIT this stitch. Draw working yarn forward all the way through this stitch until the end of the working yarn pops free. The loose end of the working yarn (red) will now be in the area between the two left needles. The stitch (blue) you were working is fully bound off--push this stitch off the left rear needle.

Step 4:
click picture
The working yarn should be in the area between the left front and left rear needles. Insert the right working needle into the second stitch on the left rear needle (teal) and use the working yarn to PURL this stitch. Draw the working yarn backwards all the way through this stitch until the end of the working yarn pops free. The loose end of the working yarn (red) will now be at the back of the work. The stitch (teal) you were working is only half bound off--you must leave this stitch on the left rear needle.

These four steps are repeated again and again to create a Kitchener stitched seam. If you want to chant the steps to yourself as you work, here is the mantra:
  • Step 1: Purl front, push the stitch off
  • Step 2: Knit front, leave the stitch on
  • Step 3: Knit rear, push the stitch off
  • Step 4: Purl rear, leave the stitch on
(When my kids hear me chanting like this, they know to stay away until the muttering ceases.)

Resist the temptation to give the yarn a good yank as you pull it through. Instead be mild in your adjustment--remember, as you're drawing the working yarn through the stitches, you don't have a knitting needle around which to form your loop. Therefore, if you want your Kitchener stitch to look like the rest of your fabric, you must leave enough extra slack to approximate the loop the working yarn would otherwise make around a knitting needle. Some instructions have you adjust the tension at the end, but that is really only possible with a smooth yarn over a short span. The hairier your yarn or the longer your span, the more it pays to learn to adjust the tension as you go.

This work goes MUCH slower than you expect, because each set of 4 steps only re-creates what amounts to 1 knit stitch. In other words, even if you could do this as fast as actual knitting, it would take four times as long. Since Kitchener stitch actually takes a good deal longer than actual knitting, progress seems glacial. Persevere, however, and you will have lovely toes (or at least, your socks will).

(Many thanks again to kmkat for her behind-the-scenes willingness to test-knit these instructions before publication, and also for her valuable feedback. If you would like to volunteer to be a TECHknitting test-knitter, please contact me at "techknitting@hotmail.com" Thanks. )

--TECHknitter You have been reading TECHknitting on: A new way to Kitchener stitch, also called "grafting seams" and "weaving seams."


Blogger Airhen said...

Sometimes I think knitters think something is hard just because they're told it's "an expert" technique. I'm new enough not to know any better and find that most things can be fingured out with a little patience. I do hate digging out the tapestry needle, though. It's all the way on the other side of the room!

May 8, 2007 at 10:38 AM  
Anonymous kmkat said...

My real problem with Kitchener stitch, no matter what method I'm using, is that if I look up from what I am doing without remembering exactly which step I was on, I'm lost. Sometimes I can figure out what I just did and hence what I need to do next, sometimes not. My test-Kitchenering has a wonky couple stitches halfway across where I did that last thing. What I do that works, assuming I remember, is to never, ever stop unless I have just completed step 4. Then I know to just start over at the beginning.

If someone could do a tutorial on how to read Kitchener stitch in progress it would be a great help :-)

May 8, 2007 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Micki said...

Even though I'm one of those mutants who has always enjoyed doing Kitchener stitch with a yarn needle, I think your unvention is bloody brilliant!

May 8, 2007 at 5:21 PM  
Anonymous marjorie said...

I've never tried Kitchener as you show it (I've used a tapestry needle), but it always has been an obstacle. I still need to practice before I do it on the actual project. My initial problem arose because my stitches are not oriented on the needle as you show. Being a combined knittter, I have to reposition them so they are. (And the "knitwise" and "purlwise"' instructions of conventional knitting make my head spin.) My second problem is starting the first stitch, and I think your directions will solve that problem. After that, it is reasonably smooth sailing, but it is definitely an advantage to use knitting needles. I'll try your method on my next pair of socks.

The first time I had to close a sock using Kitchener stitch, my husband accused me of using language that would make a sailor blush.


May 9, 2007 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger MaryjoO said...

I'm 2/3 finished with a sock at the moment, so I will get back to you in a few days with my attempt! Sounds intriguing ... Maryjo

May 9, 2007 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I KNEW there had to be a way to do this! Can't wait to try it on my next pair of socks.

May 10, 2007 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Ilene said...

Just bought yarn for the first socks I'llhave knitted in almost 30 years! Now I have what looks like a great way to finish them. Thanks.

May 13, 2007 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger catsmum said...

I don't mind doing kitchener stitch with a tapestry needle but that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore your unvention. On first read through it makes sense so I'm going to try it next time I need to graft toesies.
[ and a slightly belated happy half-blogversary ]

May 13, 2007 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger noricum said...

I think the problem a lot of people have with kitchener stitch is that they try to memorize steps, instead of simply understanding how a strand of yarn moves along a single row.

I noticed that the first two stitches only end up with the yarn passing through them once. I think if you add the following two steps to the very beginning, then repeat the four step process, you'll have the yarn pass through every loop twice:
preliminary step 1 (Step 2): Knit front, leave the stitch on
preliminary step 2 (Step 4): Purl rear, leave the stitch on
(I haven't tried it to double check if it will work or not.)

May 14, 2007 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger --TECHknitter said...

Hi Noricum--

I was wondering whether anyone would bring this up! The thing is, the first two stitches start off with a yarn already through them--it is what ties them to their neighboring stitches, and that yarn was put there when you did the original knitting. So you actually can just start right off in pattern. Same with the last two stitches.

Thanks for writing, (and hello, Winnipeg!)


May 15, 2007 at 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Zoe said...

I'm wondering if you have any hints on grafting lace? I've made three lace shawls now and the very last step is grafting the start and end rows of the lace edging together. I've tried three different things so far: a standard graft (looks like a sewn seam, yucky!), a very loose graft that I go back and adjust the tension on to simulate the pattern(okay but not great) and a three needle bind off that still looks like a seam but not as bad as a standard graft. The problem is the lace yarnovers - a standard kitchener puts a full stitch where a yarnover would maintain the lace pattern.

Anyway, any tips or insights you might have would be so appreciated!

May 15, 2007 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger --TECHknitter said...

Hi Zoe: I wish I could see the problem. From a long distance away, and using only words, the easiest thing I can think of is to add an extra row of plain knitting before trying the grafting, so the YO's aren't at the edge--then do the Kitchener L-O-O-S-E-L-Y adjusting the tension as best as possible afterwards. An extra row of knitting is probably going to be less obvious than having a row which interferes with the pattern.

Another trick along these lines would be to make the YO one row early, and then you'd have a plain stitch to work at the grafting edge--a plain stitch where the YO ought to be. Having the YO one row early will distort the pattern, but again, it is a lesser of two evils situation--that distortion might well be less obvious than a frank seam.

You could also try "manufacturing" a YO where you need one, by working off two stitches together--but play with that in scrap yarn first.

A different sort of solution might be to find an edging pattern which has points which wane all the way down to the fabric edge--a sort of repeated "V" shape where the points of the lace come all the way down to the fabric edge-this sort of edging completely eliminates the problem. If you want a more elaborate edge, work a round and round edge first, THEN put the points on, side to side over the first edging.

One final thought--you KNOW where to look--your eyes go first to the graft, ignoring the rest of the beautiful lace work. No one else's eyes do that. What looks horrible to you is probably never going to be noticed by any other eyes--so take heart!


May 15, 2007 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger alt.ayu said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I tried this out and it's worked well on my socks! :) I really appreciate this!

June 6, 2007 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger --TECHknitter said...

Dear alt.ayu-- I'm glad it worked for you--it is kind of you to write and let me know. As you could tell by the little guinea pig with needles, this is a new trick, not as well field-tested as some others. so feedback on this one is especially valuable.


June 6, 2007 at 7:29 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Worked great for me, and I found that it took care of one problem I always have with tapestry-needle Kitchener: the little "ear" that sticks out from the first couple of stitches, if you know what I mean!

June 12, 2007 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Wow! That is so much simpler than the sewing method. I came to your blog looking for help with Kitchener because I was almost done a pair of slippers and I knew the toes would be obvious if they weren't right and I've never been happy with my sock toes. Thsi worked so well.


June 15, 2007 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger fleegle said...

Dear Tech Knitter--

I wonder if you could translate these directions for garter stitch. I have just spent hundreds of hours finishing a Shetland shawl. I have the beginning stitches of the border on one needle and the ending stitches of the border on a second needle. They need to be joined with a purl row.

After 14 hours of trying, I gave up and threw the entire gossamer shawl in the trash bin. If you can explain how to graft these two rows together, I will fish it out and give it one more try.

I usually have no trouble grafting anything, but I made the terrible mistake of trying to use someone's brilliant suggestion for doing this. Unfortunately, it turns out that only someone who can easily visualize tesseract construction could follow his directions.

I am at a loss. Help?

October 11, 2007 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you! I bookmarked this back in May for the next time I needed to graft and just used it yesterday. My previous attempt at grafting left me in tears (and I KNOW that it should not) and it was only 4 stitches on each side! This was not only easy to follow, it was FUN. It made finishing seem like less of a chore and just more of the fun knitting part.
Thanks again! I love all of your techniques but this one is literally a life changer ;)

October 14, 2007 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger TussahSilk said...

Thanks so much for this tutorial. I found you through Ravelry, and now you are book-marked as my go-to reference. Being left handed, I found Kitchener impossible to do. But your instructions were wonderfully clear. Now I can't pretend that my first attempt came out perfectly, but it is heads and shoulders above the nonsense I was doing before. Thanks for sharing.

December 3, 2007 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger katharine said...

So I should have read the 'Don't yank' part before I started but it really was clear to follow and worked out great.

January 29, 2008 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Cynthia A. said...

Bloody Hallelujah! Thank you, Thank you - you are clever, and my sock is done! On to #2...

January 30, 2008 at 9:58 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

I'll try this on my next sock (just now turning the heel). I feared Kitchener too, but after about 10,000 sock toes grafted I finally got the hang of it. (as you have no doubt deduced, I'm a slow learner) thanks for your great blog, I love learning new knitting tricks!

January 31, 2008 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger knitknots said...

Tried it and liked it. Kudos to your illustrator and congrats if you share that talent too!

I'm stuck trying to make the last 2 stitches work. When I have 1 stitch on the left front, and 1 on the left rear, I can't complete step 2.

Thanks, Knitknots in Kananaskis

February 9, 2008 at 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply Brilliant. I am using it and I love not having to thread a needle
-Socker in California

March 3, 2008 at 2:44 PM  
Anonymous dulcian said...

Thanks for unventing this technique! I found it more intuitive than the tapestry needle method as I was going along, since whether one must knit or purl the next stitch is indicated by the position of the working yarn relative to the stitch in question.

It was also easier to keep the correct tension using your knitting needle method. I tensioned the yarn around my hand for each stitch as if I were knitting normally, which I think helped. I ended up with a gorgeous sock toe with a minimum of futzing after the fact.

March 9, 2008 at 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Tilly said...

Hi TechKnitter
Thanks for your amazing resource, you are an absolute treasure to the knitting community.

I finished my first pair of socks about a month ago, and the only bit I was unhappy with was the toe seam.

Your unvention has encouraged me to go get the socks back (they were a gift), frog the seam out and try again.


April 15, 2008 at 6:06 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I have tried kitchener several times with a yarn needle unsuccessfully. Your directions were easy to follow and mine came out beautiful this time. I did it on purse handles. I can't even tell which row is the grafted row. Thanks so much!

June 14, 2008 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger lababla said...

I had tried that tubular CO for my socks, but it was with a tapestry needle and all stitches on one needle. I love the "3-needles" style, it makes it clearer where we stand.
Now my variations are : I do only 2 prep rows instead of 4, during the last row/round and immediately use the 2 circular needles so that I skip the slip-stitches-only round...Ok,well it saves maybe only 2 minutes in the process. I will try the last part with a crochet next time.
I also found a good mnemotechnic to remember what to do for the "chanting" : knit stitches as they appear (knit in RS and purl in WS), however I intentionnaly make a mistake every time I start on a new needle: RS should be knit ?...ooops I did purl, so I drop the stitch off the needle, then I knit and keep it. WS should be purl?...ooops I did knit, so I drop the stitch off the needle, then I purl and keep it.

July 23, 2008 at 4:50 AM  
Blogger andrea.at.the.blue.door said...

Doing kitchener this way has CHANGED MY LIFE!!! I've been knitting for over 25 years and hated doing kitchener with a tapestry needle and could never get comfortable with it, but this evening I finished off two socks without having to think about it very much and they look great. I'm a southpaw, so I did reverse the entire set of directions.

August 2, 2008 at 1:39 AM  
Blogger Ms. Packrat said...

What about the last stitch on each needle? That seems to be a little problematic to me or am I just freaking?

August 21, 2008 at 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Pam Murphy said...

Dear TECHknitter,

Oh. My. Gosh. I love your brain! I applied for a position as "Stunt Stitcher" for Stitch Diva.com (what a tough test!) and one of the techniques was tubular bind off. Ouch! Never did so many hard techniques at one time in my life and never have done tubular CO or BO. And so, thank you! I am putting you in my faves.

A note to Kmkat. I joted down where the yarn is at on each mantra step techknitter wrote.

Step 1: Yarn from back to front.
Step 2: Yarn between neeldes.
Step 3: Yarn from front to back.
Step 4: Yarn between needles.
(I think that's right)
This way if you need to stop the process you'll be able to figure out where you left off.
Hope that helps ya'!

I'm pretty good at sewing but, to be honest, my kitchener with a needle, is ugly. Makes me wanna get out the shears to stab out my eyes! lol But with a knitting needle it's great. With a little practice I should get my tension nice.

Thanks again.

Have a nice day.
Pam Murphy

August 25, 2008 at 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I found this tip by googling. Thanks goodness! I learned to knit in 1959 and have always had a dread of grafting. I just did your method and it was easy! Thanks for the freedom after all these years! Kathi in Calif

November 7, 2008 at 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you!

November 9, 2008 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger Lucy said...

This sounds great and very logical to me. I've used a similar method of drawing the yarn end right through live stitches many times when I need to, for example, put thumb gusset stitches on waste yarn and don't have a darning needle with me. It's useful to know how to do things without some tools! Don't you have to get the needle out to weave in the ends though?

November 18, 2008 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger --TECHknitter said...

Great question, Lucy! You're right, to weave in the ends you will need a needle--I use a sharp - pointed sewing needle (not a dull pointed tapestry needle) and skim in the ends. Good point!



Cut and past this into your browser to find the post on skimming:


November 19, 2008 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Leonie said...

On my first pair of socks which I knit top down, I went looking on Ravelry for a hint on binding off the toe and found this link. Godsend? Yes absolutely. My sock knitting friends were impressed with the grafting and it was simple enough that when I went on holidays the next week and had to graft the second toe, I did it from memory! I then showed the method to a sock knitter from way back, again from memory and she had the hang of it from the second set of 4. It is a fabulous method which I will always use. Thank you for having such a clever brain and for releasing it's cleverness upon the knitting community!!!

November 30, 2008 at 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clever. I have to hurry and knit up another pair of socks to try it out. Thanks!

December 16, 2008 at 5:43 PM  
Anonymous mbcpacat said...

Hey, that really worked! Didn't make sense while I was doing it, but the finished product looks great. The other instructions for Kitchener stitch always made me feel like a bumbling moron. Thanks!!!

December 30, 2008 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Suzie said...

Thank you Techknitter. I have been doing this for years (never can find those tapestry needles, it's KNITTING not sewing). Aside, I have dozens of tapestry needles, as I usually have to buy a new package if I really need one, then have three or four which I lose before the next time I need them.)

You explanation is so clear. I never could explain what I was doing. I just called it knitting together, and I knew it was a variation of Kitchner stitch, but now I have a way to tell others about it.

It is fairly easy to tell where you are, if you just trace a line of yarn through regular knitting, you will see that you are just pulling the yarn through the live stitches in exactly the same way. I even do it with two by two rib, although the ribs will NEVER NEVER wind up meeting exactly so don't expect them to.

This exact technique can be used to mend knitting which has had a stitch torn or broken and unraveled a bit. It is so very useful.

I am thrilled to have found you blog today. Thank you for all your hard work in teaching us these techniques.

Suzie Volksknitter

January 15, 2009 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Do you have directions for your grafting method for left handed people and/or for grafting cables (moving between knit and purl stitches - cables and background)?

February 4, 2009 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger --TECHknitter said...

Hi Debbie--The directions you want will be posted on the TECHknitting blog someday--but not soon, I'm afraid. Stay tuned--maybe next year!


February 4, 2009 at 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for posting this. It worked great for me! maggie

February 28, 2009 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I just tried this technique and found it much easier than using a tapestry needle. Another commenter asked my question: what about the last stitch on each needle? What do you do with them?

March 20, 2009 at 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Benjamin said...

I tried that, and it was faster than with a tapestry needle, but it didn't.... hold? if that makes sense... like, i tried using a contrasting color and 2 swatches, and they didn't turn out quite so hot. i suppose i need more practice with it, but i've actually tried something similar to this with weaving in ends on a hat. love your blog and the traveling jogless stripes, too. you are BRILLIANT!

April 29, 2009 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger PenCraft said...

I'm leaving a comment in response to Zoe and the lace grafting. Mind you, I haven't tried this, but it sure seems like it would work. Would it be possible to work a few rows after the row to be grafted in pattern with a waste yarn in a contrasting color. I suppose you would have to do this on both ends. Then, could you replicate the path of that waste yarn for your graft? Just a thought.

May 7, 2009 at 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Margie Watkins said...

I, too, have trouble with lace grafting (and my edging has YOs and k2tog's every row) and the last two stitches in grafting a sock toe. I would love to have TECHknitter's input!!

May 12, 2009 at 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think you have ANY idea JUST how helpful this was to me! I have searched the internet many times over trying to find a successful site that has accurately and intricately described this damn stitch! I bow to you.

June 20, 2009 at 8:34 PM  
Anonymous GardeningWitch said...


I just found your blog after hearing about it on the Electric Sheep podcast. I'd just like to say how helpful your blog is, and how immediately useful the article about Kitchener Stitch is in particular! The instructions and diagrams are excellent.

Thanks very much for sharing your knowledge.


September 24, 2009 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger Agness said...

Just tried this for the same time, and on mohair lace to boot (the alpine section of "Wrapped in Tradition"). Works like a charm!

October 20, 2009 at 6:01 AM  
Blogger Rose Fox said...

Thanks so much for these instructions! I'm using a cable needle to work them and they're going perfectly.

I stretch the fabric a bit after every set of stitches to make sure they're sufficiently elastic. It helps to keep them nice and even.

As for knowing where you are if you have to stop in the middle of knitting, here's the key I use:

Step 1: Purl front, push the stitch off: results in yarn coming from cast-off stitches, front needle has one fewer stitch than back needle
Step 2: Knit front, leave the stitch on: results in yarn coming down from a st on the front needle, front needle has one fewer stitch than back needle
Step 3: Knit rear, push the stitch off: results in yarn coming from cast-off stitches, same number of stitches on each needle
Step 4: Purl rear, leave the stitch on: results in yarn coming up from a st on the back needle, same number of stitches on each needle

So finding your place may require a bit of counting, but other than that it's pretty easy. Still, I try to at least complete the four steps before stopping, so when I pick it up I can be pretty sure that the next thing I need to do is purl into the next stitch on the front needle.

November 27, 2009 at 3:18 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Can I please add another vote for grafting in pattern? I'm going to finish a hood that has a cabled border and needs to be grafted. It's beautiful work, and it would be a shame to have it look messy right at the end (and front and center, if you know what I mean). Thanks so much for all you do - you cannot know how much you mean to us.

December 5, 2009 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Michelle: In the spring Interweave knits, there will be a long article (by me!) on grafting--how to graft any fabric, even ribbing. You will be able to follow a chart to be printed in the magazine and graft in pattern. So, stay tuned for the spring Interweave Knits "Beyond the Basics" article.


December 5, 2009 at 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this Kitchener St. resolve the problem of the basis one......
the last two stitches have nothing done to support the outside of the top or bottom stitch.

December 30, 2009 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Sophisticated_Penguin said...

Great instructions, and way easier to remember than with a sewing needle. My toes look great except I'm ending up with a funny loop at the end that won't tighten. Any tips?

January 2, 2010 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Penguin--At the very end, you must imagine that the last two stitches have partners. Of course, they don't, but you must treat the last two stitches as if they do, and go into each of these stitches twice, with the correct angle, using the running yarn. That'll make the loop go away.

Another trick is to work the first and the last TWO stitches as if they were one stitch--this gives a very rounded edge and eliminates loops, but you'd want to start the toe shaping one or two rows further along when using this trick (so you can end when there are more stitches on your needle at the toe end) because working stitches together makes the grafted edge at the toe that much narrower.


January 2, 2010 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

My dear TECHknitter

I absolutely love this way of Kitchenering. I have no difficulties with a tapestry needle, but this is very intuitive and I find it easier to maintain an even tension. When using this for tubular bind off, I got in the habit of giving the bind-off a sharp tug sideways after each pair of steps - after step 2 (finished with needle 1) and step 4 (finished with needle 2). That kept the bind off stretchy and even.

I have a comment on the illustrations, specifically with the illustration for Step 1. I am a very visual person, as far as learning goes. And my mind works well in three dimensions. (I used to be a geologist, and that came in *very* handy.)

I tried to follow the illustrations precisely rather than your words and I ran into difficulties the first 2 times I tried it. If you look closely at the illustration, the yarn is wrapped BEHIND the needle to make the purl stitch. Unless I am mistaken, this will yield a stitch with a "reverse" mount on the needle, that is, with the leading leg *behind* the needle. (I do hope I have the terminology correct.)

All the other illustrations have the yarn wrap in the "normal" way, so the leading leg of the stitch will be in front of the needle.

As I mentioned, I followed the diagrams precisely for the first two attempts, and it looked all wrong. It was wrong. I thought, looked and then tried it purling my "normal" way. Success.

Please take a close look and see if I have things bass ackwards. If there is a need for improvement, think of the other literal-minded knitters who might get confused, as did I. Since I've been knitting since the early-mid 1950s, and learned to Kitchener for a project I knitted in the early 1960s, I can't blame this on inexperience.

I have to make another comment on a different illustration. I apologize, since I have been a draftsperson for pay back in the day, and I know, only too well, how taxing it is to get every fiddly little detail correct. But, being compelled by OCD and a Virgo birthday, there is a small thing that could be improved in the illustration for Step 3. Again, it requires very close inspection, but it appears to me that the needle is *not* going through the stitch. It clearly goes in front of the stitch in front of the needle, but, again looking very closely, it also appears to go *in front* of the stitch behind the needle, thereby missing the stitch entirely.

I send my sincere apologies to the draftsperson who produced these illustrations. The odds of having a reader look with the eagle eye of a comrade-in-ink (literal or virtual) are long, indeed. I really do know how difficult it is to be the one doing the drawing. Been there, done that, and I even have drafted on "drafting linen," if that means anything to the young folk.

Thank you, again, for your priceless blog as a resource for knitting technique. It is a joy to read and learn.

January 26, 2010 at 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Lazy Knits said...

Ok, I am going to try this. I am one of those sewing phobic types you describe! lol

January 31, 2010 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger JosieD said...

I am so happy that someone in a ravelry forum posted this link. I've spent a couple hours trying to figure out how to do the kitchner stitch. For neither love nor money could I get this done right. I did a search on the forums to see if I could find any tips and was lead here. You've been a real life saver. Not only do I feel comfortable doing this I got more of an understanding of the stitches. Thank you.

February 4, 2010 at 2:10 AM  
Blogger Kelligoogle said...

Thanks, This was really helpful. I just did it using a crochet hook to pull the stitches through.

February 10, 2010 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger La Noisette said...

Thank you very much! For the first time, I realize to do my kitchener stitch and it's really look well done...

February 17, 2010 at 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you!!!! Im a lefty and this even worked for me just remember front is back and knit is perl and vice versa!!!

March 16, 2010 at 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, this is very good for lefties--we are used to using knitting needles with our right hand, but not a sewing needle! But I didn't have to reverse anything...

April 9, 2010 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Lenny DiFranza said...

I must join the ranks of the Kitchener-stitch-with-knitting-needle pilgrims...I had consulted 3 different resources for Kitchener instructions (including Mary Thomas) and came up with crappy-looking, clearly WRONG, grafted seams. I tried your method with a knitting needle, ONCE, and have a beautiful knitted graft at the "origami moment" of my SKEW sock to show for it!!!!!! Thank you one thousand million times, TECHknitter!!!

April 18, 2010 at 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Mamalion said...

I stand amazed! I have a love-hate relationship with Kitchener stitch- I love to knit socks cuff down, but hate to Kitchener. I just tried this for the first time, and WOW!!! There will be much muttering in my future!

I've tried repeatedly to knit socks toe-up, since everyone says the fit's better, you won't run out of yarn, yada yada, but truth be told, I do it to avoid Kitchener stitch! I'm forever over that now!

May 15, 2010 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Thank you - just one question: the loop on the last stitch always seems to be too lose. Am I doing something wrong?

May 28, 2010 at 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Strix said...

I shall try this method, thanks for it. I wonder: Does it prevent the "bunny ear" thingy at the end? I'm so dismayed! I am so happy that my socks are coming out so well, now, only to literally have the last stitch "ruin" them :^( that bulky little knob is driving me mad.
I've searched but only found one reference to a vaguely written instruction which I cannot discern. Do you have a cure for it?

Thank you! :')

August 21, 2010 at 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Lori said...

Thank you thank you thank you! I'm a left-handed knitter who could never get the hang of kitchener so I have avoided socks. This technique is my new standard. It has opened up sock knitting to me forever!

August 21, 2010 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Strix: With this method, there is no bunny ear on the leading edge. To prevent bunny ear on the end stitch, you must go through the last stitch AS THOUGH there were another, matching half. In other words, you do both the first and the second move to the last stitch, even though there is no "other partner" stitch to do a move in between the two moves on the last stitch. You then run the yarn into the back, and voila--no bunny ear.

August 23, 2010 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Sheila--sorry it took me so long to get back with you--the comments work in mysterious ways, sometimes not being delivered for a long time. At any rate, have a look at the answer to Strix, above, That ought to solve the issue.

August 23, 2010 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Amazing! My first beautiful kitchener stitch! Finally one that I can understand! So glad I stumbled upon your blog.

August 29, 2010 at 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a super-creative, fun solution, genius! I like Kitchener stitch, but (being left-handed) I have spent so much time playing with how to get the best results when the needles are pointed left and the working yarn is in the left front -- because I happily knit right-handed, but have a hard time managing a tapestry needle with my right hand. Your method makes all my trial and error practice sessions irrelevant -- I simply love the idea of using our needles to work the graft. I've tried it, it's bullet-proof, and it didn't take lots of practice to get invisible seams. You have been my go-to knitting tutor for the past several months, but I just found this old post. I'll be sure to direct all my knitting friends here. You rock. (BTW, I keep Interveave Knits with your Kitchener article in my knitting bag, but you don't discuss this. Why not? I do love how you explain the theory, so we can work it out for ourselves without "tricks").

September 7, 2010 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Wonderful, wonderful! Thanks so much for your lovely clear instructions. I'm left handed too (and so knit backwards) and have never tried kitchener stitch before, but found your instructions really easy to follow and also very easy to translate into left handed speak. My mittens look fab, so thanks!

November 12, 2010 at 5:18 AM  
Anonymous Anjunagirl said...

Googled "Kitchener stitch" out of necessity and found this page. I literally had my work in hand hoping to find easy-peasy instructions somewhere on the net, and you delivered! Pain and hassle-free, worked like a dream first time, will be "bookmarking" this page for the second sock ...!

December 6, 2010 at 6:48 PM  
Blogger R. S. Abrinaud said...

Finally! A Kitchener method that makes *SENSE*!

However, I also have a question about how to avoid the loops/bunny-ear at the end of your Kitchener-ed row. I've read your explanation over at least five times, and being the visual learner I am, just can't *see* it in my head. Might there be a way to do one of those awesome illustrations as an addendum to show us what that little "going into the last stitch twice" thing looks like?

December 31, 2010 at 4:30 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Thank you! I love this technique...especially the "mantra." I never could get a hang of the Kitchener stitch because I couldn't REMEMBER it!

I look stuff up on your blog all the time. I'm constantly in awe of your knitting wisdom and prowess! I'm so glad that you are willing to share it with the rest of us. Thanks again!

January 11, 2011 at 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness this is still online. I have a mitten and a hat waiting while I searched my computer files and notebooks of knitting printouts for this. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

January 18, 2011 at 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Wow this is fantastic. I'm familiar with your site, but I found this post via search -- I'm at work and knitting on my lunch hour, ready to graft but with no tapestry needle on me! This worked really well. This is the first time I've ever grafted something without having to adjust the tension after the fact. Awesome!

January 21, 2011 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

This came up when i googled grafting seams and it was great. I packed up some knitting books and needed to translate an internet pattern. This was so much easier than doing it with a needle, i could never figure out how to knit right with the needle so past socks look a bit unique on the toes. I did this on a diaper cover and it looks awesome.

February 6, 2011 at 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it IS easier. After failing twice with the tapestry needle, I tried the TECHknitgraft stitch and had it right the first time.
Thank you! THANK YOU!


February 7, 2011 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous SuperFoose said...

This was my first time grafting ever. It was really easy to do, and I can't believe how awesome the tow of my sock looks. Thank you!!

March 15, 2011 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger SallyT said...

I have an uncanny knack for messing up toe grafting. This technoque worked perfectly for me. Halleluia! Thanks Techknitter.

May 8, 2011 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Patience Meliora Blythe said...

Thank you SO much! I had never done Kitchener stitch before reading your unvention instructions and it worked like a charm! I just followed your diagrams and kept scrolling down-up-down till it was finished!!! THANK YOU!

May 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! I am a 60 year old grandmother, just knitted my first sock - spent 3 days and about 10 "test" practices before I tried to "kitchener" my toe. It still doesn't look perfect, so, I turned to the internet. I love the looks of your technique and plan to try it on second sock. Without a real live teacher sitting next to me I thought I would end up with hundreds of toeless socks! Thank you.

June 3, 2011 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Anon--congrats on the sock (and on being a grandma!!) Hope you will like the Kitchener stitch with knitting needles. Best, TK

June 4, 2011 at 5:32 AM  
Blogger mysteri1229 said...

Magnificent! I am no longer skeered of toes!! thank you for your help (once again!)

July 30, 2011 at 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Linda in Toronto said...

I'm adding my thanks for your clear instructions! I understand how grafting works but found it very fiddly to execute.
Now I won't need my tapestry needle until I weave in my ends.

August 24, 2011 at 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the clear instructions. Worked the first time trying. :)

August 26, 2011 at 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad I found your directions. Before now, I have always had to give my unfinished socks to my daughter to do the Kitchener stitch. Now, with your technique I can do this by myself - and they came out looking fantastic!! At least 20 times with a tapestry needle, once - first time with this - and I did it. Thank You Thank You.

October 20, 2011 at 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a combination knitter, which makes kitchener even more nightmarish. I tried for ages to get the grafting right using that tapestry needle until I finally gave up and converted sock patterns to toe up or took the time to re-seat all the stitches. Using this method, I was able to graft the stitches without re-seating all my stitches and knitting in my usual style. Thanks!

October 21, 2011 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Oh my good gravy where has this tutorial been my whole life? LOL Brilliant. Love it. The illistrations are wonderful and extremely helpful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

October 28, 2011 at 4:31 AM  
Blogger LLGCrafts said...

Finally a sock I like. I did it, "happy dance". Thanks. Ditto to all the above comments about graphics. I'm definitely a picture person.

I'm going to share this with my knitting group next week!

December 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Have just knit my first pair of socks although I have been knitting since childhood.I never believed I could knit socks.I came across the Kitchener Stitch by chance on youtube and was totally baffled but intrigued.Thank you for your brilliant uninvention that I can't wait to try.Others may find the youtube instructions helpful alongwith your written ones.What a wonderful world of sock-knitters I've discovered.

December 24, 2011 at 4:50 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Worked like a charm. I used it to close the edge binding around a hood on a sweater. Looks perfect! Thanks so much for your help. As a combination knitter the traditional instructions were beyond my abilities, but this produced stellar results. Thanks for sharing!

January 9, 2012 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Marytheknit said...

Sorry, research has shown that Kitchener was merely used on the posters asking women to knit "comforts" for the troops, introducing the new way of finishing socks.

January 16, 2012 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Mary-- I never thought K himself thought up the st--I suspected he got the credit while someone else invented it. However, it Is my understanding that the bloody toes caused by seamed socks were a serious problem...

January 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never grafted a toe with a tapestry needle. Ever. So I was really grateful I found you! Now; I NEVER will!

I'm loving toe-up socks but wanted to increase my skills with the "Kitchener" thing and gain more experience without sacrificing any of those wonderful sock patterns I'd love to knit. Now I can!

Picture me...toe dancing!

February 12, 2012 at 6:28 PM  
Blogger April-Lyn Caouette said...

This is amazing, thank you! I just tried it out on a hat band I had to graft, and it was slow going but worth it. Now I just have to figure out how to keep my tension loose enough that I don't end up with a seam bump on the inside - not a problem for my hat, but not something I want in the toe of a sock.

March 24, 2012 at 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a thought but could this be done with a crochet hook pulling the yarn through?

March 30, 2012 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Sarah--you could pull through with a crochet hook, the trouble is, you don't usually knit with a crochet hook, so you might be tempted to insert incorrectly when told that the needle is to go in knitwise or purlwise. In fact, the directions for working with a sewing needle aren't so very hard, but the reason people screw them up is because, unless they have a knitting needle in their hands, they forget just which way to insert "as if to knit," or "as if to purl." If you can keep track of that with a crochet hook in your hand, then have at it (and I'll bet the hook makes the draw-through easier too!) But if holding a crochet hook ends up being confusing, the good old knitting needle method will be waiting.

March 30, 2012 at 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Carolyn in California said...

Thanks so much, TechKnitter. I've used your technique many times and it never fails me. I have a question, merely out of curiosity. When you use a tapestry needle to Kitchener, do you skip the 2-stitch setup that we've been taught? I'm trying to match up both techniques in my head. :) Thanks again for such a useful post!

April 26, 2012 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Carolyn: If you are grafting two completely independent fabrics, the set up brings the yarn into the same position it would be if the fabrics were separated just before the graft (as they are in a sock toe). So, whether you are using the sewing needle method or the knitting needle method, you can do the set-up when the two fabrics are not joined, and you need not do the set up when the fabrics are joined, as for a sock toe.

HOWEVER, having said all that, you will find that if you like, even with two separated fabrics, you can still pretty much skip the set up, and instead neaten up the edge with a sewing needle and the tail as you are working it in.

April 26, 2012 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Josh Harper said...

The thing about lace grafting is that you just have mentally to "skip" the YOs. That is, when a YO will be the left stitch of the two on the front needle, you work the stitch that you slide off the needle, and then don't do anything while you mutter the second step to yourself, then do steps 3 and 4 as normal. Then you just mutter step 1 while doing nothing, before carrying on with steps 2-4. Skipping first step 2 and then step 1 in effect traces the path of the YO. Likewise with decreases, you simply treat the two loops to be decreased as one stitch, and work through both of them at the same time, which is conceptually simpler than the YO). I hope that helps.

May 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This method looks great and I will definitely try it on my next pair of socks. However, I'm a little curious (and confused) by the order. With a tapestry needle, I've always grafted so that the front needle is "knit off, purl on" and the back is "purl off, knit on" - this way is backwards, i.e. the stitch to be dropped from the front needle is purled, and the stitch dropped from the back needle is knit. I don't get it...

June 6, 2012 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Anon--The fact is, it is the same actual motions, but since you are pulling it through with a knitting needle, it SEEMS different. If you try it, you will see.


June 9, 2012 at 11:18 PM  
OpenID sosoclever said...

I don't remember how long ago I first read this post, but I finally got a chance to try out the technique. It works great! I don't think it's any slower than using a darning needle, but my tension was a lot better.

My only problem is I finished off with a little tab sticking up at the end. I'll just tack it down when I weave in the end.

June 23, 2012 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger FibreMania said...

Wonderful technique. Before I purchase the Spring 2010 edition please confirm that grafting cable blocks of knit and purl are in it.

I made a stupid mistake when shortening some sleeves. Of course I had to shorten the same sleeve twice just to make life interesting.

I used your great technique for the knit band and then found I couldn't figure how to switch it over to do the purl band.

So, I desperately need your help.

June 29, 2012 at 12:39 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi FM: I'm not exactly clear on your question. Please consider sending a diagram or photo to the hotmail address under the "contact me" button on the R sidebar. Best, TK

July 2, 2012 at 12:31 AM  
Blogger SandyJ said...

I've used this technique a bunch of times now, and my seaming is MUCH faster and neater! It's a marvelous technique. Thanks so much!

July 16, 2012 at 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would love to see a video tutorial on how to do this. As I am a visual learner. The kitchener kills me everytime!

August 10, 2012 at 4:30 PM  
OpenID peacethroughknitting said...

Yeah! Found this after finally daring to knit socks after years of being afraid of kitchener. It worked beautifully except for the last stitch "bunny ear". I tried your suggestion:

"To prevent bunny ear on the end stitch, you must go through the last stitch AS THOUGH there were another, matching half. In other words, you do both the first and the second move to the last stitch, even though there is no "other partner" stitch to do a move in between the two moves on the last stitch. You then run the yarn into the back, and voila--no bunny ear."

However, when I did step 1 and then step 2 into the same last stitch on the front, step 2 undid step 1. Can you please tell me what I'm missing? Thanks so much.

August 31, 2012 at 5:56 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Peace...

By the method in the post, you (usually, anyhow) don't get any bunny ears at the first stitch. This is because, if you think about it, that first stitch is already connected to the work along one side (the right side). The same is true about the last stitch--it too is connected along one side (in this case, the left side).

This means that the process (the mantra you chant) actually starts in the MIDDLE of the sequence--the first "purl front, push stitch off" is the second part of working that front stitch, and the same is true for the back stitch. When you FIRST come upon a stitch, you work it, leave it on, work it again and then push it off.

The upshot is that you are at the last few stitches, you keep repeating the mantra (purl front, push off, knit front, leave on, knit rear, push off, purl rear, leave on). At the end, you will run out of (usually) rear stitches, and you will have a front stitch into which you have already worked "knit front, leave on." Since there is no corresponding back stitch, you will now draw the final tail through that last front stitch as "purl front, push off." However, that last stitch is already connected along the left side, so your final maneuver is in the nature of a duplicate stitch. If you will draw the working end to the inside of the sock from where it plunges through that last stitch, you will see a smooth final finish, with no bunny ears, just as the first stitch was done.

If you run out of rear stitches (unusual) you'd do the same thing with the two parts of the rear stitch, starting with "purl rear, leave stitch on," then imagining that you are doing the front stitch (which you can't, because it's not there) and ending with "knit rear, push stitch off."

Hope this helps!--TK

August 31, 2012 at 7:31 AM  
OpenID peacethroughknitting said...

Thanks! I'll give it a try on the socks I'm finishing up. Thanks for the explanation.

September 6, 2012 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger NBB said...

Thank you very much for this. I have gained all my knitting knowledge through detailed posts like this, but whenever I came across Kitchener, I just turned away again (I don't even own a tapestry needle...). Thus my search for a pretty toe never ended.

But these instructions look simple enough to follow (hah! ;) ) and I will try them with my next project (all I ever knit are socks it seems :) )

October 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Riss said...

Of course I tried to do this while watching a movie (I figured since i'd seen the movie many times i could concentrate better on the knitting) and now no matter what i do, i am left with a hole. It seems like i have a whole stitch missing. Help!

November 24, 2012 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Riss--If the seam looks normal in every respect, and the only problem is a whole stitch missing, then the only ways I can think of to have a whole stitch missing are
1) you started with one fewer stitches on one side or another (most probable)

2) you accidentally Kitchenered two stitches as one (you would probably remember doing this, so this is unlikely)

But, there are probably ways to do this that I am not thinking of.

Anyhow, there is a solution, and it should work fairly well. Instead of thinking about this problem as one stitch too MANY, think of it as one stitch too FEW.

UNweave the seam until you have possibly 3-4 stitches left on each needle. For the needle with the EXTRA stitch, act as though the next TWO stitches were ONE. In other words, you'll make the extra stitch disappear by doubling it onto its neighbor, and grafting the two stitches as if they were really one. This is called "shaping" (in this case, decreasing) in the Kitchener row, and can be used whenever you have uneven numbers of stitches to Kitchener together.

The reason to unweave back a little way is to avoid having this doubling occur right at the edge--it works smoother if it is done a bit in from the last weave.

Good luck (and write again if this isn't making sense)

Best, TK

November 25, 2012 at 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I just used your technique on a slipper toe, and it was so slick! Best toe I've ever done. Just a little tugging on the last rear stitch took care of the dog ear I'm usually stuck with. Thank you so much for working this out and sharing it. :)

December 21, 2012 at 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Jennifre said...

Wow, this is wonderful, thank you SO much! I'm still not entirely sure I'm doing it right (like another commenter, I'd love a video link by the author, could just link to YouTube to be easy about it).

That said I am at least less mystified by where the yarn is and what I need to do next by these superb illustrations and "mantra" instructions. This really helped me a lot! :)

January 10, 2013 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Jennifre: Thanks for the idea, I have recently started putting up videos, maybe I will do one for the Kitchener stitch one day. Best regards, TK

January 11, 2013 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Micawber said...

Thanks so much for these instructions - I copied the "mantra" onto a bit of scrap paper years ago and put it in my needle case, and tonight I used it to graft the toe of my first-ever sock. (And it worked!)

I'll be linking to your post when I write my own in a day or so.

On Wisconsin! (I too live in the Dairy State.) :)

January 27, 2013 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger Deedra said...

You're my favouritest person in the whole wide world at the moment. THANK YOU!!!!

February 26, 2013 at 9:26 PM  
Anonymous arabella said...

Idle person's version with fewer separate steps - Uses double pointed (dp) needles, which is the only sort I use anyway.

0. knit toe/heel/whatever so that at the end you have the same number of stitches, front and back, on 2 (dp) needles and
move these 2 to left hand, held one in front and the other behind. Hold so the 'tail' will come out of the rightmost stitch of the front needle. (trim off enough tail to do a few more than the number of stitches on one of those 2 needles)

1. insert a 3rd, your right hand dp needle into rightmost st on back lh needle purlwise, then into rightmost st on front needle, also purlwise. Do a single purl stitch through both these, and pull tail through completely BUT only loose the stitch from the back needle

2. insert 3rd, right hand dp needle into rightmost st on front lh needle knitwise, then into rightmost st on back needle, also knitwise. Do a single knit stitch through both these, and pull tail through completely BUT only loose the stitch from the front needle
(ie similar to 1, but knitwise)

Repeat 1 and 2 alternately until no more stitches - note the need to work loosely. For the last repeat of '2' there will only be the one stitch left.

Sort out the remainder of the tail (I weave in a bit, just in case).

April 29, 2013 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Cindy Dolan said...

brilliant! Thank you!

June 12, 2013 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger Morgaine O'Herne said...

Thank you for this. It is easier.

August 19, 2013 at 5:37 PM  
Anonymous peg lawson said...

Love it! It's been awhile since I last did it, but I'm ready to relearn--it's so much better than with the yarn needle!

August 23, 2013 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

Thank you so much for making Kitchener Stitch easy. I've watched I don't know how many YouTube videos and read instructions from another dozen or so websites and knitting books. None of them made half as much sense as your well-written instructions.

August 29, 2013 at 12:31 AM  
Blogger Solea said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I was about to give up on the kitchener stich. I watched countless videos and still couldn't follow. I just couldn't wrap my head around it and would get lost in the process. With your tutorial I managed to finish a scarf perfectly.
I think your technique is brilliant!
Death to the tapestry needle, long live the knitting needle!

November 4, 2013 at 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant! You have changed my life!
Thanks so much!

November 24, 2013 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger TutleyMutley said...

You cannot imagine how pleased I am to have discovered your 'unvention' - kitchener is Okish - but to no longer have to find the b***** darning needle! Wonderful!
knitting needles rule.

January 20, 2014 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Zillah Bugeja said...

I found this very difficult and ended up dropping stitches and having to unpick several rows. Sewing needle technique much easier for me.

January 31, 2014 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Zillah--that's the way knitting goes! What works for one doesn't work for another. Luckily, you know and like the sewing method, so you're all set in the grafting department. Best regards, TK

February 1, 2014 at 12:25 AM  
OpenID jerusalemtojericho said...

I finally understand Kitchener! Thank you for putting the instructions in terms of knitting. But I am finding using a tapestry needle to be faster/ easier for me. So I am using your instructions, in order to understand what to do with my tapestry needle! ;-) Thanks!

February 4, 2014 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Joy said...

Hi I've never knitted socks before, but my grandma used to knit all the socks for the men in our family so I was determined to try - I am now retired. I knitted the first one and used the 3 needle method as the pattern suggested, but I did not like the lump. I found Kitchener stitch on the net but it looked soooo complicated soI was pleased to find this and have just tried it and am pleased to see the result - not perfect but a big improvement. I shall be looking at the method again and again to get it rift. Thank you so much.

February 18, 2014 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Jan Henderson said...

This is how my grandma grafted socks back in the 50"s. I never saw her with a tapestry needle and was confused when I saw the new tutorials.I love this brilliant blog. Thanks so much.

May 20, 2014 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Trevena said...

I need to graft single (k1, p1) twisted ribbing. Any thoughts? If you have instructions for grafting ribbing I can probably work out the twisting for myself. I am quite happy to use a tapestry needle if necessary as I have always used one grafting stocking stitch.

May 28, 2014 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger Shelda said...

Love the "species of sewing" line, and the bit about how the tapestry needle belongs in the cross-stitch bag. So very true!

I'll have to try this out (even though I'm finding it seven years after you posted)!

September 29, 2014 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

It's an oldie but goodie :)

September 30, 2014 at 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Angela said...

This is truly amazing - Thank You!!! I'm so glad I found your post - I will never avoid the Kitchner stitch again :)

December 3, 2014 at 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Kimberley B said...

I'm a knitting newb but have made a few scarves that I wanted to turn into infinity scarves/cowls and so have done Kitchener stitch with a darning needle. It turned out pretty well both times but what I struggle with the most is getting the original cast-on stitches back onto the needle to make both ends "live". I have searched for info about this but cannot seem to find any sites or videos that can show me how to do it. I know it shouldn't be hard...but I'm not ever quite sure I'm doing it right, and my last scarf wasn't quite perfect due to my wonky stitch-putting-on-ing. Do you have any advice or would you be able to direct me to some info about how to do this (seemingly simple) part? Many thanks!

December 29, 2014 at 1:58 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Kimberley: I myself would start with a provisional cast on in this situation. The provisional cast on I find easiest is COWYAK. Here is a link (cut and paste to your browser window).


As far as the actual placing of the stitches on the needle, this post shows how (although the live stitches are generated in a different way, the idea of first catching them, then straightening them is the same identical issue I believe you are facing).


December 30, 2014 at 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so good! THANK YOU, for content, clarity, technical expertise, excellent diagrams; and for sharing. Andalenz.

January 6, 2015 at 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad I found this! The first pair of top down socks I made in 2011, I used Kitchener stitch on the toe. It inspired me to learn how to make Toe Up socks which is all I've made since lol. I am making a couple patterns that I need Kitchener stitch and find this much more agreeable - thank you!

March 30, 2015 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger Debsunset said...

I am knitting a wool soaker ( a diaper cover for overnight) and the crotch flap is supposed to be grafted onto the front stitches using the Kitchener stitches. As per the pattern I've knitted with circular needles, one set of live stitches are on a statics holder and the other live stitches are on the circular needle. Is there a way to use your knitting method with this configuration? I hope so, I'm a relatively amateur knitter. Or do I put the fronts on double ended needles and go from there?

June 17, 2015 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger LBJ said...

All I can say is, "THANK YOU!" This made sense and worked. Every time I've done Kitchener before it was as if I'd done it inside out leaving a ridge. THIS DIDN'T! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

June 21, 2015 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Deb SS: May I respectfully suggest that you go onto Ravelry techniques forum and ask the same question? There, you will be able to link to the actual pattern, which should give you a more informed answer.

Hi LBJ: you are welcome.


June 23, 2015 at 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Susan Crawley said...

Yea! Yea! Yea! As a leftie, I've been struggling with using a needle in my right hand. I've done it many times, but it is so awkward. Thank you for this!! It works a treat!

August 3, 2015 at 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Works well using a crochet hook too :)

October 9, 2015 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger MJ Pepper said...

Dear sorely missed Teck Knitter,

Finally I put my nerve to the test of grafting with your 'knit' version. AWESOME!!! Yes, it was still a little tedious but I persevered and accomplished a six foot graft (a blanket). What so amazed me was how easy it was to maintain an even gauge.

How can I ever thank you enough for this HANDY DANDY technique?

I am certain I speak for all of your followers when I say how much we miss your frequent posts, vast knowledge and sense of humor. These last few years feels more like losing a close family member. Will you ever return? Or have you wandered off into professional knitting paradise and I just haven't found you yet?

Wishing you all the best, and thank you again.
MJ, the SKEINdinavian

October 31, 2015 at 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with MJ, just above. I really miss your posts. I don't always agree with you, but it was a rare day that I didn't learn something. I hope you can return to active blogging.

And thank you very much for all that you have shared up till now.

Dee aka MeezieMom

November 2, 2015 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi MJ--thanks for the kind words. I'm still pottering around, still tinkering with knitting and thinking about the next step here, whatever it will be...keep trying to write a book and getting stymied--backed up with projects, but no posts. Frustrating. Oh well, there are worse fates.

Glad the "knitted" Kitchener worked for you.

Best regards, TK

November 2, 2015 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger MJ Pepper said...

Well, TK, it looks like I am not alone in missing you. The last I heard was that you had something wonderful 'in the wings' and that you probably wouldn't be around much.

So, now I am wondering what it is you WILL be doing. I CANNOT imagine you not knitting any more than I can imagine it for myself. There isn't a day where I don't hold my needles, very few where I'm not in search of more tips and techniques, much less (believe it or not) designing something.

Your 'book' intrigues me. Are you at liberty to divulge its content? Whatever it is that you do write about, we're waiting with bated breath... and I am wishing you GOOD LUCK in the process.

Best regards to you, and thank you again for sharing your genius.
MJ, the SKEINdinavian

November 2, 2015 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I'm not afraid of using a tapestry needle, but I like knowing that there's a way to do this with knitting needles if I'm caught somewhere without one! :)

January 28, 2016 at 8:41 PM  

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