How To: Kitchener Stitch

Also called grafting, the Kitchener Stitch is used to join two pieces of knitting, both of which have live stitches on the needles, in such a way that it appears seamless. Kitchener is a vital skill to learn to make your knitting really look killer. Some people hate it, which Emily can't comprehend as it's one of her very favorite things to do! Once you get the hang of it, we think you'll love it, too.

Some patterns require Kitchener done over stitch patterns other than stockinette stitch - for example a K2 P2 ribbing. This is the same theory on a macro scale, but slightly different if you're thinking about it in terms of each needle step on a micro scale. Below we have written out step by step instructions for both stockinette and k2p2 Kitchener Stitch.

Here's a video that really nicely explains the big picture theory of grafting, by Lucy Neatby.

Here is a video of grafting stockinette stitch, by knttinghelp.com.

 

Kitchener in stockinette stitch with yarn from back needle - as when ending with a RS row

Hold needles next to each other, parallel to the floor, points to the right, with wrong sides of work facing in toward each other. Working yarn should extend from the right side of the back needle.

Cut working yarn to leave a tail 4 times the length of the fabric you will graft and thread it onto a tapestry needle. As you work, be sure to keep the yarn under the points of both needles.

  1. Set-Up: Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl (back to front), into first stitch on front needle, draw yarn through, and do not pull stitch off the needle. Insert tapestry needle as if to knit (front to back) into first stitch on back needle, draw yarn through, and do not pull stitch off the needle. You have not dropped any stitches off the needles.
  2. Front Needle: Insert tapestry needle as if to knit into the first stitch on front needle and pull that stitch off the needle. Insert tapestry needle as if to purl into the next stitch on front needle and draw the yarn through that stitch, leaving it on the needle.
  3. Back Needle: Insert tapestry needle as if to purl into first stitch on back needle, and pull that stitch off the needle. Insert tapestry needle as if to knit into the next stitch on back needle and draw yarn through that stitch, leaving it on the needle. 
    Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until two stitches remain — one on each needle. Now do the first part of Step 2 (front needle, insert purlwise and remove) and the first part of Step 3 (back needle, insert knitwise and remove).
    Something to keep in mind when Kitchener-ing: there's definitely a rhythm, once you get going: you can chant to yourself "Knit, purl, purl, knit."

     

    Kitchener in stockinette stitch with yarn from front needle - as when ending with a WS row

    Hold the two needles next to each other, parallel to the floor, with wrong sides of work facing each other. Arrange needles so that working yarn (from last row worked) and needle points are both on the right. For this version, that means the working yarn will be attached to the front needle (nearer your body).

    Cut the working yarn to about 4 times the length of the fabric to be grafted and thread it onto a tapestry needle. As you work, be sure to keep the yarn under the points of both needles.
    1. Set Up: Insert tapestry needle as if to knit (front to back) into first stitch on back needle, draw yarn through, and do not pull stitch off the needle. Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl (back to front), into first stitch on front needle, draw yarn through, and do not pull stitch off the needle. You have not dropped any stitches off the needles.
    2. Back Needle: Insert tapestry needle as if to purl into first stitch on back needle, and pull that stitch off the needle. Insert tapestry needle as if to knit into the next stitch on back needle and draw yarn through that stitch, leaving it on the needle.
    3. Front Needle: Insert tapestry needle as if to knit into the first stitch on front needle and pull that stitch off the needle. Insert tapestry needle as if to purl into the next stitch on front needle and draw the yarn through that stitch, leaving it on the needle.
    Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until two stitches remain — one on each needle. Now do the first part of Step 2 (back needle, insert purlwise and remove) and the first part of Step 3 (front needle, insert knitwise and remove).
    For this version of the chant, you'll be whispering to yourself, "Purl, knit, knit, purl."

     

     

     

     

    Kitchener in K2 P2 ribbing

    Below are written directions, again by the incomparable Kat Buckspan.

    Set-Up - Starting with Knit Stitch

    Cut yarn, leaving a tail at least four times the width of the work that is to be grafted. Thread tail onto tapestry needle and take a deep breath. Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl, in the first stitch of the front needle, draw yarn through, but do not pull stitch off of needle. Be sure to keep the yarn under the points of the two needles.

    Set-Up: Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl (back to front), into first stitch on front needle, draw yarn through, and do not pull stitch off the needle. Insert tapestry needle as if to knit (front to back) into first stitch on back needle, draw yarn through, and do not pull stitch off the needle. You have not dropped any stitches off the needles.

    Step 1: Front needle (2 knit stitches nearest needle point)

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to knit, in the first stitch of the front needle, and pull that stitch off with the tapestry needle.

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl, in the second stitch of the front needle, and draw the yarn through that stitch, leaving the stitch on the front needle.

    Again, be sure to keep the yarn under the points of the two needles.

    Step 2: Back needle

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl, in the first stitch of the back needle, and pull that stitch off with the tapestry needle.

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to knit, in the second stitch of the back needle, and draw the yarn through that stitch, leaving the stitch on the back needle.

    Again, be sure to keep the yarn under the points of the two needles.

    Step 3: Front needle (1 knit stitch nearest needle point, and 1 purl stitch next to it)

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to knit, in the first stitch of the front needle, and pull that stitch off with the tapestry needle.

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to knit, in the second stitch of the front needle, and draw the yarn through that stitch, leaving the stitch on the front needle.

    Again, be sure to keep the yarn under the points of the two needles.

    Step 4: Back needle

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl, in the first stitch of the back needle, and pull that stitch off with the tapestry needle.

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl, in the second stitch of the back needle, and draw the yarn through that stitch, leaving the stitch on back needle.

    Again, be sure to keep the yarn under the points of the two needles.

    Step 5: Front needle (2 purl stitches nearest needle point)

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl, in the first stitch of the front needle, and pull that stitch off with the tapestry needle.

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to knit, in the second stitch of the front needle, and draw the yarn through that stitch, leaving the stitch on front needle.

    Again, be sure to keep the yarn under the points of the two needles.

    Step 6: Back needle

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to knit, in the first stitch of the back needle, and pull that stitch off with the tapestry needle.

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl, in the second stitch of the back needle, and draw the yarn through that stitch, leaving the stitch on back needle.

    Again, be sure to keep the yarn under the points of the two needles.

    Step 7: Front needle (1 purl stitch nearest needle point, and 1 knit stitch next to it)

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl, in the first stitch of the front needle, and pull that stitch off with the tapestry needle.

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl, in the second stitch of the front needle, and draw the yarn through that stitch, leaving the stitch on front needle.

    Again, be sure to keep the yarn under the points of the two needles.

    Step 8: Back needle

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to knit, in the first stitch of the back needle, and pull that stitch off with the tapestry needle.

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to knit, in the second stitch of the back needle, and draw the yarn through that stitch, leaving the stitch on back needle.

    Again, be sure to keep the yarn under the points of the two needles.

    Repeat Steps 1-8 until only 1 stitch remains on each needle.

    Finish as follows

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to purl, in the final stitch of the front needle, draw yarn through, and pull stitch off of needle.

    Insert tapestry needle, as if to knit, in the final stitch of the back needle, draw yarn through, and pull stitch off of needle.

    You have dropped the final stitch off each needle. Exhale and pat yourself on the back.