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How To... Kitchener Stitch - Loveknitting blog

Published on October 16th, 2014 | by Elizabeth Bagwell

4 comments

How to do Kitchener stitch, with or without a darning needle

Graft sock toes, finish a hat or lengthen a scarf. Elizabeth Bagwell talks you through Kitchener stitch, a really handy invisible, seamless join.

Kitchener stitch is also called grafting, and is a way of creating an invisible, seamless join between two pieces of knitting. It’s most commonly used for sock toes, but has dozens of other applications. (Want to know more? Read a history of the Kitchener stitch.)

In its simplest form, Kitchener is used to join two sets of live stitches (i.e. stitches that are still on the needle and not cast off). Each set should have the same number of stitches. Line the two sets up on separate needles, with the trailing thread (if there is one) at the back on the right. Now, cut a long tail of yarn: at least 1cm per stitch, more for yarns thicker than DK.   I cannot stress enough that it’s better to have too much than not enough. At each step, pull the tail all the way through – do not create any more loops / live stitches!

How to Kitchener with a darning needle
Thread the darning needle. Working from right to left across the stitches, bring the darning needle through the first stitch on the front knitting needle from right to left, as you would put a knitting needle if you were about to purl. Go through the first stitch on the back knitting needle from left to right, as you would put a knitting needle if you were about to knit. Pull through in each case. This is the set up. Now repeat the following until you have run out of stitches:

Knit and off, purl
Purl and off, knit

This means:
Put the darning needle through the first stitch on the front needle as though to knit, and slide the stitch off the needle. Put the darning needle through the second stitch on the front needle as though to purl, but do not slide it off.

Put the darning needle through the first stitch on the back needle as though to purl, and slide the stitch off the needle. Put the darning needle through the second stitch on the back needle as though to knit, but do not slide it off.

This youtube video shows how to work the Kitchener stitch.

 

How to Kitchener without a darning needle
You won’t need a darning needle, but you will need a third knitting needle, crochet hook or something else to hook the yarn through with. The process is the same as for darning with a darning needle, but as you’re hooking the yarn back through (like you do when knitting) rather than pushing a needle through (as with a darning needle) the steps appear reversed.

Knit the first stitch on the front needle, don’t slide the stitch off the needle. Pull the yarn tail all the way through the stitch (always pull the yarn tail all the way through while grafting). Purl the first stitch on the back needle, don’t slide it off.

Then:
Purl and off, knit
Knit and off, purl

This means:
Purl the first stitch on the front needle, and slide the stitch off. Knit second stitch on the front needle, but do not slide it off.

Knit the first stitch on back needle, and slide the stitch off. Purl the second stitch on the back needle, but do not slide it off.


About the Author

Elizabeth is a keen knitter, occasional designer, enthusiastic traveler and a professional freelance writer. She spent three years working for British knitting magazine, Simply Knitting, and has also written for The Knitter and other craft titles. She blogs at: www.elizabethbagwell.me.uk


Last updated: October 20th, 2014.

4 Responses to How to do Kitchener stitch, with or without a darning needle

  1. Jayne says:

    Thank you for the GREAT technique for the knitted version. I bookmarked it for later use.

  2. Joy Johnson says:

    It was great seeing the article about Kitchener Stitch bought memories of my grandmother when I started to knit at the age of 8yrs. Told me I could not say I could unless I could do grafting.
    I am now 86yrs old and I still graft where I can.
    Joy

  3. Mary.T. Jones says:

    Ty so much for showing us your techniques, especially your Kitchener Stitch…..very helpful.

  4. Mags says:

    Wish I’d watched this two days ago when I joined two ends of a button band of a cardigan. Almost tempted to unpick and do the kitchener way. Lol
    Will definitely be keeping this one for future use. Thank you.
    Mags

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