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Kitchener Stitch in Two Simple Steps


Kitchener Stitch in Two Simple Steps

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Apparently, we will never know exactly why a particular way of grafting was called a “Kitchener stitch”. One thing is for sure – it is somehow connected to Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener who served as a senior British Army officer during WW1.

Whether Earl Kitchener used this technique in the sock pattern he designed, or whether he just played a big part in promoting a seamless way to finish a toe (to ensure his soldiers were comfortable), this knitting technique now proudly bears his name.

Many knitters find this super useful technique confusing and time-consuming. While it does take time to make this special seam, it is not difficult at all. In fact, it can be done in just two simple steps. Let’s see what they are.

If you are a visual learner, you can watch the process described below in this video tutorial.

A FEW NOTES BEFORE WE GET STARTED

STITCH PATTERNS

Kitchener stitch works best on stockinette stitch. If you work in a pattern that has a plain knit row, if possible, work to that row before you start making the seam.

For seaming pieces worked in reverse stockinette stitch, make the seam with the wrong side of the work facing to you.

To make an invisible seam on garter stitch, make sure each of the pieces you plan to join ends with a row that creates a garter ridge on the right side of the work.

YARNS

Kitchener stitch is done with a wool needle. That means that we’ll be pulling the yarn tail through stitches many times (the more stitches we have to join, the more often we’ll have to pull the yarn through stitches). That stresses the yarn.

If the yarn is too thin and fragile, or if it’s textured, you might want to use a few smaller pieces of yarn to make the seam instead of using one long yarn tail. Or, you can choose a totally different way to join the stitches. The seam explained in this tutorial makes a good alternative.

COLOURS

One of the biggest advantages of Kitchener stitch is that it creates an absolutely invisible seam. To keep it invisible we usually use the yarn in the same colour as the work. In fact, it’s logical to leave a long yarn tail when you finish knitting and use that tail to make the seam.

In this tutorial, I’ll use a piece of yarn in a contrasting colour to make sure you clearly see how this seam is done. When I use Kitchener stitch to seam an actual project, I always use the same yarn I used to knit that project.

Ok, now that we have these little things sorted out, let’s get to seaming!

SET UP

Here’s how it looks in the video tutorial

When you finish knitting the two pieces you plan to join, don’t bind off stitches. Keep stitches on a needle. If you left the stitches on a piece of scrap yarn or a stitch holder, transfer all stitches back to a knitting needle before you start seaming.

Cut the yarn leaving a small tail on one of the pieces, and a long tail on the other piece. The long tail should be at least three times longer than the width of the piece. If you work with thick needles (as I do in this tutorial), leave a tail that is four times longer than the width of the piece.

With the right side of the work facing to you, place both pieces on a flat surface so that the piece with the longer tail is at the bottom, and the piece with the shorter tail is at the top. The long tail and the tips of the needles should be on the right side of the work.

Thread the long tail into a wool needle.

Insert the wool needle from back to front into the first stitch on the piece at the bottom and into the first stitch on the piece at the top.

Slip both stitches off the knitting needles.

Pull the yarn through, but don’t pull it too tight. The strand between the two pieces should be as long as an average stitch in your work.

Now we are ready to start seaming.

STEP 1

Click here to watch it

Insert the wool needle from front to back into the first stitch on the bottom piece. Let’s call it “a current stitch” because it’s the stitch we’ve already worked into.

Then insert the wool needle from back to front into the second stitch on the bottom piece. Let’s call this stitch – “the next stitch”.

In short, we insert the wool needle IN the current stitch and OUT the next stitch on the bottom piece.

Slip the second stitch off the knitting needle.

Pull the yarn through so that the strand between the top and bottom pieces is about as long as an average stitch.

STEP 2

Click here to watch it in a video tutorial

In this step, we’ll do the same “in-and-out” movement, but this time we’ll do it on the top piece.

Insert the wool needle from front to back into the current stitch on the top piece, and from back to front into the next stitch.

Slip the second stitch off the knitting needle.

Pull the yarn through so that the strand between the top and bottom pieces is about as long as an average stitch.

That’s it. Now repeat steps 1 and 2 until you join each stitch of the top piece to a corresponding stitch of the bottom piece.

Remember to insert the wool needle into each stitch twice – once when this stitch is a “next stitch”, and the other time when it becomes “the current stitch”.

Make an extra stitch to join the last stitch of the bottom piece to the last stitch of the top piece same way as we did when we joined the first stitches in the “set up” section of this tutorial. Watch how to do it. Then secure the yarn and weave in the tails.

You can also make this seam when you hold the knitting needles together with one piece at the back of the other one. It’s a great way to do Kitchener stitch, but I prefer to lay the pieces flat, so I could better see the work and adjust the length of the strands to make the seam invisible even to the sternest critic 🙂

Apparently, we will never know exactly why a particular way of grafting was called a “Kitchener stitch”. One thing is for sure – it is somehow connected to Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener who served as a senior British Army officer during WW1. Whether Earl Kitchener used this technique in the sock pattern he designed, … Kitchener Stitch in Two Simple Steps Read More »

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