I have been really busy for the last few months working on my fashion business degree, and in my breaks from studying I made some new knitted friends, my bunny and bear.
To make the bunny, I used kitchener stitch to finish the top of the foot, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to post another knitting tutorial.
Kitchener stitch grafts two pieces of knitting together that are still on the needle, and gives a smooth finish to the seam. It is often used in socks and clothing. Apparently it is named after Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, who promoted Red Cross knitting of socks for soldiers in the First World War with a grafted toe using this technique. Whether that is true or not, I don’t know. Perhaps it should be a question on QI?
Here is the tutorial, and if you would like a pdf version for easy printing please visit my “free for you” page.
To start grafting, the two pieces of knitting to be joined should be on two needles. Place the two needles parallel to each other, with the wrong side (purl side) facing inwards and tips pointing in the same direction. If you are right handed, hold both the knitting needles in your left hand and sew the seam with your right hand.
Note that you need an equal number of stitches on each needle for the join. Here I am joining 5 stitches on the front needle to 5 stitches on the back needle.
You will need a length of working yarn at least twice as long as the finished seam, and a tapestry needle. You can attach the yarn to the knitting on the wrong side, or leave it loose and weave in the ends later (just remember to hold onto the tail when sewing your first stitches so you don’t pull your yarn out). Use the same yarn for knitting to graft the seam.
Please note in the pictures, yellow yarn is used to sew the join together so it is easier to see.
To start grafting, make the following two stitches:
STEP A: Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the front knitting needle (the one nearest to you) as if to purl, and pull the thread through leaving the stitch on the knitting needle.
STEP B: Then insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the back knitting needle as if to knit and pull the yarn through leaving the stitch on the knitting needle
Note that the working yarn (yellow) is kept underneath the two knitting needles all the time.
Now that the first two stitches are worked, the rest of the stitches are worked using the following 4 steps:
STEP 1: Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the front knitting needle as if to knit, and slip the stitch off the knitting needle.
STEP 2: Insert the tapestry needle into the next stitch on the front knitting needle (now the first stitch) as if to purl, and leave the stitch on the knitting needle.
STEP 3: Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the back knitting needle as if to purl, and slip the stitch off the knitting needle.
STEP 4: Insert the tapestry needle into the next stitch on the back knitting needle (now the first stitch) as if to knit, and leave the stitch on the knitting needle.
Now repeat steps (1) to (4) until your last two grafting stitches remain. I often have to sing this sequence as I sew!
“KNIT FRONT OFF,
PURL BACK OFF,
Then follow steps (1) and (3) to join the last 2 stitches. This finishes the seam, and you can weave in your ends and secure on the wrong side of the knitting.
And here is the top of my bunny’s foot, to show the finished seam.
I admit it is a bit fiddly and time consuming, but you get a really nice finish to your seams so it is definitely worth a few practice swatches to see how you get on