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
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 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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Repeat Steps 1-4 until you’ve worked across all your stitches.
When you reach the last couple of stitches, skip step 2 and go directly to step 3 to finish.
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.
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!
By following our step-by-step mattress stitch knitting tutorial, you'll learn how to make your seams look beautiful and how best to prepare your knitting so that when you seam it with mattress stitch, it goes smoothly on the first try.
The long tail cast on is a great multi-purpose knitting cast on and the perfect place for beginner knitters to start. Learn how to work the long tail cast on and how to estimate the length of yarn needed with our clear step by step tutorial and video.
Find out the latest news from the studio such as sales, pattern releases, and new workshops or KALs our learning community, The Knitwork. We also share helpful tips and exclusive subscriber discounts...