Learn it: The Kitchener Stitch

The Ardwinna sock knitting pattern is free! Download it today and make these beautiful, lacy socks.
    

I've talked before about how I struggle with the Kitchener stitch (also known as grafting). For the longest time, I've avoided it, and when I was forced to use it, my efforts were not rewarding. I ended up missing a stitch, working way too tight, or loosing my way mid-row and having to pick out all of my progress to start over.

I defaulted to the three-needle bind-off, which is a great technique, but it lacks the seamlessness, if you will, of the Kitchener stitch. The three-needle bind-off also leaves a ridge on the inside of your work, which isn't always desirable. On the toes of socks, for instance, you want a smooth, round finish, not a ridge that might irritate your toes.

Recently, I've decided to embrace the Kitchener stitch. If I have to try a couple of times to get it right, who cares? Practice makes perfect; avoidance will never help me improve. And like I said, there are times when you really need to use it!

Ardwinna, the sock knitting pattern shown at left, uses an afterthought heel (pretty cool!), which needs to be grafted in the middle. You really can't use any other stitch than the Kitchener. If I want to make this socks, I must get some practice!

On Knitting Daily TV with Vickie Howell, episode #1204, Vickie's Loose Ends segment is a Kitchener stitch tutorial. Here's Vickie to show you how it's done:

Here are my favorite illustrated instructions, from another fabulous Vicki, Vicki Square and her must-have reference book, The Knitter's Companion.

Step 1 (above left): Draw the yarn through the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit (from back to front), and slip this stitch off the needle.

Step 2 (above right): Draw the yarn through the second stitch on the front needle as if to purl (from back to front), but leave this stitch on the needle.

Step 3 (above left): Draw the yarn through the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl, and slip this stitch off the needle.

Step 4 (above right): Draw the yarn through the second stitch on the back needle as if to knit, but leave this stitch on the needle.

Repeat steps 1–4, striving to match the tension in the knitted work.

The Kitchener stitch is so useful. And once you get started, working it becomes kind of meditative because you repeat the same steps over and over.

Join me and conquer your fear of Kitchener stitch! Download KDTV episode 1204, "What a Heel!" today. Check out the other single episode downloads, too. I've already downloaded and watched several of them!

And if you're looking for more free sock knitting patterns, check out our free eBook!

Cheers,

P.S. Are you a Kitchener stitch expert? How did you get to be so darn good at it? Leave a comment and let us know!

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