Grafting: It’s Not Just for Knitters
When it comes to the world of yarn and fiber, most crafters know that knitting and crochet are very different. Knitting uses two needles, while crochet uses only one hook. Knitting keeps all the stitches on the needles, and crochet finishes a stitch completely before moving to the next. If you don’t do both crafts, you may find yourself slightly envious of one technique or the other. As a crocheter, I admired knitting from a distance—until I discovered Tunisian crochet, and then everything changed.
Tunisian crochet feels, at least to me, like somewhat of a hybrid between the two crafts: Like knitting, it has both knit and purl stitches, and all the loops are placed on the hook, then worked off the hook (similar to moving loops from one knitting needle to the other). I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to knit, but with Tunisian crochet, I’ve found a way to somewhat re-create the stitch patterns seen in knitting.
Why Would a Crocheter Need Grafting?
You may ask why a crocheter would want to re-create knitting patterns. For me, it started when I was searching for a new project and happened upon the Audrey Super Scarf (download it for free). I really loved the look of the knitted scarf and figured that I could imitate the cable- and garter-stitch pattern using Tunisian crochet. Plus, I really like a challenge!
But, of course, I couldn’t just leave the pattern as is, and I decided to turn the scarf into a cowl. My first attempt at seaming, however, had less-than-stellar results. When I worked the pattern the first time with some leftover yarn, I sewed the ends together as I normally would, and I really didn’t like the finished seam. It just seemed to call attention to itself—as though it was the focus, not the least-significant part of the cowl. So when I decided that I really wanted to make this project work, I determined that I needed to figure out another way to put the ends together. Since Tunisian crochet is somewhat similar to knitting, I sought advice from Joni Coniglio, Interweave’s senior project editor for knitting. She suggested grafting the ends of the cowl together. Grafting involves using a tapestry needle to re-create the stitch pattern by drawing yarn through each stitch in a certain way. In order to make the seam invisible, we came up with the following processes to graft Tunisian crochet garter and knit stitches together.
Grafting Tunisian Garter Stitch
Note: The crocheted version of garter stitch is worked by alternating a row of Tunisian knit stitch (tks) with a row of Tunisian purl stitch (tps). Because grafting will create two rows, 1 tps and 1 tks, the swatches shown below begin with a row of tps and end with a row of tks.
STEP 1. Insert the needle from left to right behind the front vertical bar of the edge stitch on the last row of the lower swatch (tks row).
STEP 2. Insert the needle from right to left behind both legs of the edge stitch on the first row of the upper swatch (tps/tks row).
STEP 3. Working from top to bottom, insert the needle above Step 1 horizontal bar and behind the same front vertical bar of the edge stitch used in Step 1.
STEP 4. Pull the yarn through, keeping the stitch the same size as the stitches of both swatches.
STEP 5. With yarn in front, insert the needle from left to right behind the front vertical bar of the next stitch on the last row of the lower swatch. (This will re-create the tps look.)
STEP 6. Insert the needle from right to left behind both vertical bars of the next stitch on the first row of the upper swatch.
STEP 7. Working from top to bottom, insert the needle above Step 5 horizontal bar and behind same front vertical bar of the stitch used in Step 5.
STEP 8. Pull the yarn through, keeping the stitch the same size as the previous grafted stitch.
STEP 9. Repeat Steps 5–8 as needed.
Grafting Tunisian Knit Stitches
Note: When grafting Tunisian knit stitches, you will use both vertical bars of the stitches on both swatches. To graft Tunisian knit stitches, work as follows:
STEP 1. Insert the needle from right to left behind the first vertical bar of the knit stitch on the lower swatch.
STEP 2. Insert the needle from right to left behind both vertical bars of the knit stitch on the upper swatch.
STEP 3. Insert needle from right to left behind 2nd vertical bar of the same knit stitch on the lower swatch.
STEP 4. Pull the yarn through, keeping the stitch size the same as the previous grafted stitch.
STEP 5. Repeat Steps 1–4 as needed.
Now that I’ve explained the processes for grafting Tunisian garter and knit stitches, you can use these processes to graft the ends of the Audrey Super Cowl together! For more information, check out the blog Grafting: It’s Not Just for Knitters.
I’ll bet that after a while, you won’t be able to tell where the original beginning and end meet!
This article was first published in the Winter 2020 issue of Interweave Crochet.