Working Kitchener Stitch in Garter Stitch

Kitchener stitch is an invisible way to graft two sets of live stitches together, or one set of live stitches against a finished edge. It’s used to close the toes of socks, the tips of mittens, and perform repairs and alterations. It's most commonly seen in a stocking stitch fabric, but it's possible to graft other stitch patterns as long as you adapt the method, and work the correct combination of movements with the needle. We'll be looking at grafting garter stitch, depending whether you're on a right or a wrong side row.

You will have an equal number of live stitches on each needle, positioned with wrong sides facing and the needles facing in the same direction. In this example the front needle has purl bumps directly underneath the needle (the end of a wrong side row), and the back needle has knit stitches directly underneath the needle (the end of a right side row). This is important to maintain the appearance of the stitch pattern.

Cut the yarn from the ball leaving a tail roughly three times the length of piece. It doesn’t matter if the yarn is coming from the back needle, or the front. Thread this onto a darning needle and secure the yarn by passing it purl wise through the first stitch on the front needle, and then purl wise through the first stitch on the back needle. You’re now ready to start grafting!

1. Insert the needle knit wise into the first stitch on the front needle.

Pull the length of yarn through the stitch and then let it drop off the end of the needle.

2. Then pass the darning needle purl wise through the second stitch and leave it on the needle.

3. Repeat the same two steps on the back needle. Insert the darning needle knit wise into the first stitch.

Slip it off the end of the needle.

4. Insert the darning needle purl wise into the second stitch on the back needle, and leave it where it is.

Repeat this 4 step sequence to the end of the needle. It may help you to remember the sequence in shorthand, for instance: knit, off, purl – knit, off, purl, remembering to work two stitches from the front needle, then two stitches from the back needle.

Now, if the orientation of your stitches is reversed, so there are knit stitches directly under the front needle, and purl bumps directly under the back needle, you will need to reverse the sequence: pass the needle knit wise through the first stitch on the front needle, and knit wise through the first stitch on the back needle to set up. Then work: purl, off, knit – purl, off, knit, as the four sequence graft.

Happy grafting, folks!

**This post was originally published on 12/11/2014 on my old blog to accompany the Jersey Basket pattern.**

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