5 Grafting Myths: MYTH #3 (Part 2)
In the last post, we saw that two pattern rows are created when two sets of live stitches are grafted together, even though only one physical row is added. This means that if you are grafting a stitch pattern that changes from row to row you must allow for two pattern rows if you want the grafting to look continuous. In this post, we’ll look at how this would work when grafting a pattern such as this simple lace pattern top-to-bottom.
Choose two consecutive chart rows for the grafting: the lower row for the grafting on the front needle and the upper row for the grafting on the back needle. For my swatch, I chose Row 1 for the front needle graft and Row 2 for the back needle graft because I wanted the more complex grafting maneuvers (decreases and yarn overs) to fall on the front needle (with the stitches facing me).
Cast on using a provisional method. I like to use the crochet chain provisional cast-on. Using contrasting waste yarn, I make a chain that is a few stitches longer than the number of stitches I need to cast on (Figure 1). Then with the working yarn, I pick up the stitches in the back of the chain (Figure 2). This row of working yarn loops does not count as a pattern row (yet); it forms the base of the pattern row that will be completed when the grafting yarn is drawn through the loops on the back needle (Row 2 of our sample pattern). You can also work the chain directly onto the needle (called a chain-edge CO), but if you do this, make sure to knit a row with the working yarn before working the first pattern row. The cast-on isn’t complete until the working yarn stitches are on the needle. If you use the chain-edge method, do not work in pattern over the stitches of the chain. There’s no point to doing this because as soon as you remove the waste yarn chain, any knit or purl stitches you’ve worked will disappear and you’ll simply have live loops. Moreover, working a combination of knit and purl stitches across the chain just makes it more difficult to remove the chain because it will be twisted around the picked-up stitches at each transition between a knit and purl stitch.
|Figure 1||Figure 2|
Once the stitches have been cast on, it is time to start the pattern. Since Rows 1 and 2 have been designated for grafting the lace pattern and the loops for Row 2 are the stitches picked up in the chain, the first pattern row worked should be Row 3. When the piece is the desired length, end with the pattern row that comes just before the row designated for the front needle graft (in our case, we need to end with Row 4).
Remove the waste yarn chain and place the provisional cast-on stitches onto the knitting needle. The loops that will be placed on the needle are the running threads between the stitches that were picked up in the chain and should be very visible if you used a contrasting yarn for the chain (Figure 3). Because these loops are situated between the working loops on the needle, there will be one fewer of them than the number of stitches that were cast on.
When I graft a stitch pattern top-to-bottom and want to make sure the stitches on the front needle line up perfectly with the stitches on the back needle, I also pick up a half loop at the edge opposite the edge where the cast-on tail is located. (Figure 4)
Then I create another half loop at the cast-on tail edge by drawing the tail through an edge stitch and to the wrong side of the work (Figures 5 and 6). You can read more about this here in Myth #2.
|Figure 5||Figure 6|
For the sample swatch, I cast on 25 stitches. There were 24 cast-on loops available to place onto the needle (25 minus 1), plus the two half loops at the edges made a total of 26 loops (Figure 7).
Now it’s time to graft the stitches. When I graft a stitch pattern other than Stockinette stitch or garter stitch, I make a cheat sheet using the chart for the stitch pattern:
The cheat sheet is ready to follow. Each grafted stitch follows the same path:
1. Through the stitch on the front needle, leave the stitch on the needle.
2. Through the first stitch on the back needle, remove the stitch from the needle.
3. Through the next stitch on the back needle, leave the stitch on the needle.
4. Through the stitch on the front needle, remove the stitch from the needle.
To graft yarn overs on the front needle, Steps 1 and 4 are simply skipped and you just work the steps on the back needle (Steps 2 and 3). The decreases are grafted just like knit stitches, except that you go through two stitches at a time (first rearranging the stitches for the ssk so that the stitches will be oriented correctly).
Here are the written steps for grafting the lace pattern and how they relate to the steps on the cheat sheet:
When six stitches remain on the front needle and seven stitches remain on the back needle, work the last six stitches of the grafting chart.
Some knitters like to knit a few rows of the pattern with contrasting yarn and then follow the path of the stitches to graft the stitches together, rather than grafting live stitches from the needles. If you prefer this method, it will still be necessary to know which chart rows to work in relation to the waste yarn rows. For the upper swatch, I cast on with waste yarn and worked a few rows, ending with Row 1. I then changed to the working yarn and continued the pattern from Row 2. Note that this is the same row that I allotted for the back-needle graft in the example above. A row worked over a row of waste yarn is not a true pattern row because as soon as the waste yarn is removed, the loops will no longer intersect with loops below them. Working Row 2 over the waste yarn is simply creating a template for tracing the stitches with the grafting yarn. For the lower swatch, I cast on with the working yarn and worked a few rows, ending with Row 4. I then switched to the waste yarn and worked Row 1, plus a couple more chart rows before binding off. Thus, when the waste yarn stitches are traced with the working yarn, Row 1 will be created with the grafting yarn by tracing the stitches on the lower swatch and Row 2 will be completed by drawing the yarn through the first row of working yarn loops on the upper swatch.