A Grafting Suite: An eBook and Three Videos

In my last post, I mentioned that for much of 2014 I was working on a “suite” of grafting tutorials, consisting of an eBook and a series of three videos. Each element of the collection was designed to stand alone, but they also complement each other: the videos supplement Chapters 2, 3 and 4 of the eBook.

The lessons begin with the simplest stitch patterns to graft (stockinette stitch, reverse stockinette stitch and two different versions of garter stitch), and the complexity increases with each succeeding chapter, finally culminating with the chapters on grafting lace patterns invisibly. Because each lesson builds on skills learned in previous lessons, the skills are accumulated gradually (and painlessly). Believe it or not, there really isn’t that much difference between grafting using Kitchener stitch and grafting decreases and yarnovers in a lace pattern!

And because each step along the way is fully explained using illustrations, charts and photos, you will gain a mastery of the grafting process and a thorough understanding of how stitches are created, rather than simply memorizing formulas or a series of steps. Not that grafting formulas aren’t useful-they definitely are. I have my own favorite grafting mantras that I use all the time. But they didn’t really “click” for me and I had trouble remembering them until I understood the bigger picture. Now I know how to customize the grafting to fit the stitch pattern and construction of just about any project I have to graft.

So, if you have been considering taking your grafting skills to the next level, here is an overview of what you’ll find in the eBook and video series:

 

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

In this chapter, I talk about what it means to graft lace “invisibly,” rather than simply using Kitchener stitch to join two pieces of lace knitting.  Using Kitchener stitch (even as a substitute for the plain row between two rows that contain yarnovers and decreases) may result in a visible line running through the pattern (see the swatch below). In order to graft this pattern and avoid the line, the decreases and yarnovers of the pattern would have to be incorporated into the graft itself.

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Here’s a photo of the same lace pattern grafted using a lace graft. Even with the half-stitch jog that occurs when stitches are grafted top-to-top, the join is more invisible than when Kitchener stitch is used and there is no longer a solid line interrupting the pattern.

 

And when a pattern is grafted top-to-bottom, as was the cables and lace pattern shown below, there is no half-stitch jog at all and the graft is completely invisible. (This particular stitch pattern was used for the cowl in Chapter 6 and involves grafting cables.)

CHAPTER 2 (Part 1 of the video series): Fundamentals of Grafting

In this chapter, I separate the grafting steps on each needle to show the logic behind the sequence of steps for grafting three stitch patterns: stockinette stitch (or Kitchener stitch), reverse stockinette stitch, and garter stitch (both the knitted and purled versions). In the video, I demonstrate all three types of grafting and, in addition, show how two-color garter stitch stripes can be grafted two different ways. In both the eBook and video, I show how two distinct pattern rows are created when yarn is drawn through both rows of live stitches and how you can create simple charts to keep track of the grafting steps.

 

CHAPTER 3 (Part 2 of the video series): Grafting Rib in Two Directions: Top-to-Top and Top-to-Bottom

Using the lessons learned in the previous chapter about grafting knit and purl stitches, I explain the differences between grafting ribbing top-to-top and top-to-bottom and why you’ll get a half-stitch jog with one (below, left), but not the other (below, right). In the accompanying video, I demonstrate how to graft rib in both directions and how to create grafting charts for ribbing. I also talk about grafting seed stitch and show how it is more closely related to grafting garter stitch than it is to grafting k1, p1 rib, as is commonly believed.

 

CHAPTER 4 (Part 3 of the video series): Grafting Lace in Two Directions

Grafting lace invisibly is a lot easier than many knitters think. Once you’ve become comfortable with creating knit and purl stitches using a tapestry needle and a strand of yarn, you simply have to add a few more stitches to your repertoire. In this chapter, we practice creating single decreases (k2tog and ssk), double decreases (k3tog, s2kp2 and sk2p), twisted sts, and yarnovers on the front needle with the right side of the work facing. (These are skills that will be used in the later chapters.) In the video, I demonstrate all these stitches and also demonstrate how to graft a cable twist.

 

CHAPTER 5: Seven Lace Patterns Grafted Two Ways

This chapter is a “mini” stitch dictionary containing seven lace patterns that are each grafted top-to-top and top-to-bottom. All the patterns can easily be adapted to create a lace cowl (using the top-to-bottom instructions) or a lace stole (using the top-to-top instructions and adding your favorite lace edging to the beginning of each half).

For example, here I took Pattern 6 from the book and made it into a lightweight cowl by grafting the live stitches to the provisional cast-on row.

 

In the video, I demonstrate how to graft Pattern 7 (below) both top-to-top and top-to-bottom. (The pattern is also available as a downloadable pdf with the video.) I think the top-to-bottom version shown here would make a lovely lace-weight cowl.The grafted join is invisible (indicated only by the yarn tails on the left side of the swatch).

 

I also demonstrate in the video how to graft a simple two-row mesh lace pattern. If you want to try your hand at grafting lace, this mesh pattern is the perfect place to start (see the complete instructions below). You can either practice on a small swatch as we did in the video, or make a cowl like the one shown here.

 

Cowl Instructions

Using the crochet chain provisional method, CO an odd number of sts (the sample has 33 sts). (Note: If you use the chain-edge method and crochet the chain with waste yarn onto the circular needle, be sure to knit or purl a row first before beginning the pattern. This will put you at exactly the same point you’d be at if you picked up stitches in the chain.)

Row 1 (RS) K2, *yo, k2tog; rep from * to last st, k1.

Row 2 (WS) Purl.

Rep these 2 rows until the cowl is the desired length, ending with Row 2. Break the yarn, leaving a tail about 4 times the width of the cowl for grafting. If desired, place live sts on a holder and block, then return the sts to the needle. With a 2nd needle, pick up the CO sts from the waste yarn chain as foll:

 

Locate the loop at the very edge of the CO row (opposite the CO tail edge).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick up this loop and place it on the needle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick up the remaining CO sts and remove the chain. (Note: Because you’re picking up the loops between the stitches that were picked up in the chain originally, there will be one fewer stitch to pick up from the bottom of the row. Picking up that edge stitch at the beginning brings you back up to the same number of stitches as were picked up in the chain; 33 sts for the sample). But don’t stop there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After picking up all the CO sts, plus the edge st, thread the CO tail onto a tapestry needle and create an extra loop by wrapping the tail around the needle and then back to the WS of the work. This is an important step if you want the pattern to align vertically when you’re grafting top-to-bottom. For the sample, this is the 34th st on the needle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that every other stitch on the CO row is a yarnover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To graft, hold the needles with WS tog, making sure the cowl isn’t twisted, and with the CO sts in back (remember, this needle will have one more stitch than the front needle). With the grafting yarn threaded on a tapestry needle, graft the sts as foll:

Note: In the 4-step sequences, Steps 1 and 4 create a stitch on the front needle (FN) and Steps 2 and 3 create a stitch on the back needle (BN). The steps on the front needle that are skipped are where the yarnovers of the mesh pattern are located. Steps that involve going through 2 stitches at the same time are the k2tog decreases. Because the pattern row on the back needle is a plain stockinette stitch row (purled on the WS), Steps 2 and 3 on that needle are worked the same each time (pwise, off; kwise on).

 

Graft the first 2 knit sts of the row on each needle:

Step 1 FN: Pwise, on.

Step 2 BN: Pwise, off.

Step 3 BN: Kwise, on.

Step 4 FN: Kwise, off.

Repeat Steps 1-4 once more for the 2nd knit st on each needle.

 

Graft the repeated sequence of the Mesh pattern:

*(Yo on the FN and knit st on the BN)

Step 1 FN: Skip.

Step 2 BN: Pwise, off.

Step 3 BN: Kwise, on.

Step 4 FN: Skip.

 

(k2tog on the FN and knit st on the BN)

Step 1 FN: Pwise through 2 sts, on.

Step 2 BN: Pwise, off.

Step 3 BN: Kwise, on.

Step 4 FN: Kwise through 2 sts, off.

Rep from * until 1 st rem on the FN and 2 sts rem on the BN.

 

The Mesh pattern aligns perfectly and the selvedge edge is completely smooth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graft the last knit st of the row on each needle:

Step 1 FN: Pwise, on.

Step 2 BN: Pwise, off.

Step 3 BN: Kwise, off (because the row is complete).

Step 4 FN: Kwise, off.

 

Now just weave in the ends and you’re done!

 

When working with a variegated yarn, make sure the colors above and below the grafted row (indicated here by the yarn tails at the left side) match up.

 

CHAPTER 6: Three Grafted Projects

The last chapter of the eBook contains three projects (complete with detailed instructions) that involve grafting: a cowl worked in the cable and lace pattern shown above, a hat with a lace brim (both projects were grafted top-to-bottom), and a lace stole worked in two halves and grafted in the center (top-to-top).

 

I hope you enjoy this collection of grafting tutorials. Grafting is a technique that has fascinated me for a long time and there are several other aspects of grafting that I want to explore (including grafting brioche patterns). Are there any techniques you are especially fond of or just want to learn more about?

 

 

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