Grafting Using Kitchener Stitch
I've been meaning to make a tutorial on grafting for a long time because it's such a useful technique and I use it a lot in my patterns. I didn't realize how many of my patterns feature Kitchener stitch until I was listing them under my tutorial page - 14! And that only counts the independently-published ones. I hope this helps you if you're new to grafting or just need a refresher. You can also find this under the Tutorials section of my website.
This tutorial shows the technique on a sock toe, but it's useful anywhere you want to join two sets of live stitches without a seam.
Arrange the stitches so that all of the instep stitches are on one needle and all of the bottom of the foot stitches are on the other needle.
Cut your yarn, leaving a long tail (about 3-4 times longer than the width of the fabric to be grafted).
Thread the end of your yarn on a tapestry needle and hold the project so that one needle is in front and one behind with the needle tips pointed to the right.
Set up for working Kitchener stitch:
First, insert needle as if to purl in the first stitch of the front needle and draw through.
Next, insert needle as if to knit in the first stitch of the back needle and draw through.
Now that the set-up is complete, follow these steps to graft:
1. Insert needle as if to knit in the first stitch of the front needle.
Slip that stitch off the needle and draw yarn through without pulling too tightly.
2. Insert needle as if to purl in the next stitch of the front needle and draw through, leaving this stitch on the needle.
3. Insert needle as if to purl in the first stitch of the back needle.
Slip that stich off the needle and draw yarn through without pulling too tightly.
4. Insert needle as if to knit in the next stitch of the back needle and draw through, leaving this stitch on the needle.
Repeat steps 1-4 until only 1 stitch remains on each needle. Then simply slip the needles out.
I have a chant that always helps me maintain a good rhythm while working Kitchener stitch:
"As if to knit, slip off; as if to purl, leave on. As if to purl, slip off; as if to knit, leave on."
I just repeat that mantra as I work and it helps keep me from getting confused.
When you finish, you may notice that the grafted stitches aren't quite the same gauge as the surrounding stitches. Just use your tapestry needle to gently tug on the stitches, one at a time until they are more uniform.
If you have any gaps on either side of the graft, use your remaining tail to cinch them closed while you weave it in.