Friday, December 7, 2012

Shaping in the Kitchener row--useful for getting rid of the "donkey ears" on sock toes, or grafting uneven numbers of stitches together

This is part four of a four-part series on grafting (Kitchener stitching) hand knits with a sewing needle. The first three parts are already on-line (part 1, part 2, part 3).

Because this is part of a series, the numbering of the illustrations is sequential.  This post contains only illustration 9.  Illustrations 1-8 are in the previous installments.

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It is possible not only to graft a seam with the Kitchener stitch, but even to do shaping. One common place this might come in handy is at the “donkey ears” on either side of a sock toe.  Another place this might be very useful is when grafting uneven numbers of stitches together.

In illustration 9, a decrease (orange) is being worked every third row on a sock toe.

The final decrease is being done on the Kitchener stitched grafting row: the first two stitches on the front needle are being worked together as a single stitch, while the neighboring stitch to the left (which would be worked next in the Kitchener stitch sequence, as discussed previously in this series) would be worked normally (as a single stitch). You would then work the first two stitches on the rear needle as a single stitch, while the neighboring stitch to the left, which is worked next in sequence, is worked normally, as a single stitch.  Obviously, the last three stitches on each needle would get a matching treatment, with the very last 2 stitches on both front and back needle worked off as one.

If your decreases are not made at the very edge of the fabric, you can just as well do this trick of working 2 stitches together as one, at any place as appropriate along the grafting row, in order to keep your decreases aligned.  However, if you're grafting socks, decreasing on the very edge of the toe as shown will eliminate the dreaded "donkey ears," because the decreases lock the (loose) first and last stitches away from the edge.

This trick of working 2 sts together as one also works when you need to graft uneven numbers of stitches together.  On the fabric with more stitches, do a decrease-while-grafting, as shown above, while on the fabric with fewer stitches, simply graft each st individually.  In this manner, you can get rid of quite a few extra stitches from one fabric while grafting it to another, narrower one.

Good luck and good knitting! TK


  1. Great tip. I can't wait to try this.

  2. OK, you totally just blew my mind. I have a pair of socks in progress at the moment and will definitely be trying this!

  3. This is genius in its simplicity. Thank you!

  4. thanks so much! those pointy sides make me craaazy! can't wait to try this.

  5. Your blog is so great, I do thank you for sharing your wisdom

  6. Oh, pardon me. Now I do get it, and you're absolutely right the first stitch would be knit, not purl.

    Who needs Lumosity, when you can study the Techknitting blog and make something beautiful too? Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.

  7. Thanks so much for this helpful tip!
    I usually have such an ear only on the left side (the last stitch when grafting) - not at the beginning, the right side.
    I've just used the Kitchener stitch with a sock and grafted the last 2 stitches together (on front and back needle) and it works perfectly!

    I really love your blog: each time I visit this website it's sure that I learn something new.

    Sending you tons of thank-yous from Germany,

  8. Thanks for the useful tip. Normally I do a double decrease row (k3t / sssk) on the first and last 3 sts each side on the row before grafting to minimise rabbit ears, but this is certainly worth a try.




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Thanks, TK