Kitchener’s stitch, grafting and three needle cast off

So with my month of socks well underway I thought I’d write a post about how I finish my toes. For those of you who knit a lot of socks you probably always use Kitchener’s stitch which is great, but I have also included some alternatives for people who don’t like grafting (looking at you, mum!)

Kitcheners stitch

Kitchener’s is the most popular way to graft the remaining stitches on a toe of a sock. You set your stitches up on 2 parallel needles with the yarn at the back needle on the right, and sew as follows:

 

 

Step 1: Insert the tapestry needle through the first stitch on the front needle as if to KNIT, pull the yarn through, pulling the stitch off the front needle.

 

Step 2: Insert the tapestry needle through the first stitch on the front needle as if to PURL, pull the yarn through, leaving the stitch on the front needle.

 

Step 3: Insert the tapestry needle through the first stitch on the back needle as if to PURL, pull the yarn through, pulling the stitch off the back needle.

Step 4: Insert the tapestry needle through the first stitch on the back needle as if to KNIT, pull the yarn through, leaving the stitch on the back needle.

Repeat steps 1-4 until all stitches have been worked. Every few stitches check the tension of your sewing, it should look like the rest of your knitting, not too baggy, not really tight.

knitty.com have a great photo tutorial of this, and there are many videos on YouTube if watching it done helps you. Not only can you use Kitchener’s for toes on socks, you can use it for any horizontal seams, shoulders, hoods, anything with two sets of live stitches. The instructions I have included here is for stocking stitch but you can also graft in garter stitch.

Knitted Kitchener’s

I can’t remember where I found out how to do this, but as soon as I did I never went back! This way of grafting doesn’t use a sewing needle and gives exactly the same results as Kitchener’s. You will need to set up your stitches as before, with the yarn at the back, and you need an extra knitting needle.

1.  Using a third knitting needle, PURL the first stitch on the front needle, pull the yarn all the way through, pulling the stitch off the needle.
2.  KNIT the next stitch on the front needle, but this time leave the stitch on front needle; pull the yarn all the way through as before.
3.  KNIT the first stitch on the BACK needle, pull the yarn all the way through, pulling the stitch off the needle.
4.  PURL the next stitch on the BACK needle, but this time leave the stitch on the back needle and pull the yarn all the way through.

I am so much faster this way than with a sewing needle and it’s great if you forget to take a needle with you!

Three Needle Cast/Bind off

The three needle cast off leaves a seam, so I don’t tend to use it for socks as the seam can rub, but it it still as useful way of joining two sets of live stitches. Again you need to arrange your stitches on two needles with the yarn at the back.

  1. Knit one stitch from the front needle together with one stitch from the back needle
  2. Repeat step one, and cast off the stitches you have worked as you normally would by lifting the back one over the front one and off the needle.

Keep going knitting the stitches together and casting them off until all stitches have been worked. I tend to use this for shoulders as it gives them a bit of structure as there is a seam which is bulkier than grafting but there is nothing stopping you from using it on toes or hoods or wherever you like!

These methods are all tried and tested and there are hundreds of useful tutorials and videos out there, why not have a go at one of these methods you’ve not tried before, might become your new favourite thing!

Doris

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