December 09, 2021 0 Comments

Kitchener stitch is a knitting technique used for grafting together two sets of live stitches, most often stockinette stitch. Instead of binding off and sewing two edges together, you can use a tapestry needle and yarn to join the stitches completely seamlessly. Kitchener stitch creates a new row of knitting by drawing the tapestry needle through the stitches in a particular order. It’s best used for sock toes, hats, mitts, and anywhere else you need to join two pieces without a bulky seam. However, Kitchener stitch isn’t a great choice for sweater shoulders or other structural seams because it’s just as stretchy as your knitting!

Set Up for Kitchener Stitch

A tube of stockinette stitch, split over 2 double pointed needles, ready to graft.

Have your two sets of stitches ready, on two needles (or both needle tips of 1 circular needle). The two needles should be held together parallel, with both needle tips pointing to the right. The needle closest to you is the “front” needle and the other is the “back” needle.

Cut a long tail of yarn and thread it onto a blunt tapestry needle.

Cut your working yarn, leaving a tail at least 3 times as long as the section you need to graft, and thread it onto a blunt tipped tapestry needle. In the step-by-step photos below we've used a contrast colour so you can clearly see which stitches have been added, but you'll almost always use you working yarn. 

Kitchener stitch directions – video

Kitchener stitch directions 

Insert the tapestry needle purlwise into the first stitch on the front needle.

Pull the yarn all the way through the stitch.

Insert the tapestry needle purl wise (from right to left through the front of the loop, as if you were going to purl it) into the first stitch on the front needle, and pull the tail all the way through.

Insert tapestry needle into the first st on the back needle knit wise.

Pull the yarn all the way through.

Then insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the back needle knit wise (from left to right through the front of the loop, as if you were going to knit it), and draw the yarn tail all the way through the stitch.

Continue Kitchener Stitch

Go into the first stitch on the front needle knit wise, pull the yarn through, then drop the stitch off the needle.

Step 1. Insert needle through the first stitch on the front needle knit wise, draw the yarn through, then drop this stitch off the knitting needle.

Go into the next st on the front needle purlwise.

Ready to work the next st.

Step 2. Insert needle through the next stitch on the front needle purl wise, draw the yarn through, and leave this stitch where it is.

Insert tapestry needle into the next stitch on the back needle purlwise and remove this stitch from the needle.

Step 3. Insert needle through the next stitch on the back needle purl wise, draw the yarn through, and drop this stitch off the knitting needle.

Go into the next st on the back needle knit wise and leave it on the knitting needle.

Step 4. Insert needle through the next stitch on the back needle knit wise, draw the yarn through, and leave this stitch on the knitting needle.

Kitchener stitch.

Repeat Steps 1-4 until you’ve worked across all your stitches.

When you reach the last couple stitches, omit step 2 and continue to step 3 to finish.

Finishing the last stitch.

When you reach the last couple of stitches, skip step 2 and go directly to step 3 to finish.

Adjust the tension of the grafted sts using the tip of the tapestry needle.

Every few stitches, adjust the tension on the grafted stitches using the tip of your tapestry needle. Be careful not to pull your grafting yarn too tightly, or the join will be visible and not stretchy.

Completed Kitchener stitch.

The Concise Version

If you’ve worked with Kitchener stitch before and just need a refresher, here you go:
Setup: Front purl, back knit
The rhythm: front knit off, front purl on, back purl off, back knit on, repeat.

Kitchener stitch definitely takes a bit of concentration and practice to master, but you will get into a rhythm with it! Your perfectly seamless sock toes and mitten tops await!



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