Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Quick Tip Tuesday: Kitchener Stitch

One of the most common comments I hear from knitters who knit often is that they look up the Kitchener stitch every time they do it. It isn't called for often enough that people feel like they remember it well.

  • What is the Kitchener stitch? It is a way of grafting your live stitches together. The way it is performed ends up duplicating a knit stitch V so that your "seam" is a flat knitted area. When your project is done, you shouldn't be able to even see where the Kitchener was performed.
  • When to use Kitchener? The most common place to use this technique is on the toes of socks. However, you may come across it on shoulder or side seams of sweaters, depending on the construction. I have several patterns coming out this fall and winter (of 2013) that use this technique to close up pieces that are "closed" at both the cast on and ending edges.
  • How do you do it?

Thread your yarn onto a tapestry needle. I like the tapestry needles with a big eye and a curve on the end. Most patterns that instruct you to Kitchener will tell you to either leave a long tail for the procedure or to use a long cut of matching yarn.

Many knitters prefer to "anchor" the first stitch on each needle. To do this, go in Purlwise to the first stitch on the front needle and LEAVE the stitch on the needle. Then, go in Knitwise to the first stitch on the back needle and LEAVE the stitch on the needle. Then, begin the four step process outlined below:

You will have live stitches on two needles...commonly called a front needle and a back needle because of the location in which you hold them. When working in the front stitches, you go in Knitwise and drop the stitch off...

...then you go in Purlwise in the next stitch of the front needle and leave the stitch on the needle. This anchors it and creates one leg of a V.

After you perform the first two steps on the front needle, you go into the stitch on the back needle Purlwise and drop the stitch off...

...then you go into the next stitch on the back needle Knitwise and leave it on the needle. Repeat these four steps until you have zero stitches on both needles. Often your work will look messy as you drop the stitches off. This is usually because the work isn't tightened just yet. That is okay. After you have it all done, you can pull on the ending tail and it will pull the work into place. 

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