Monday, 14 April 2008

Three needle grafting - how to do it - (or, Kitchener stitch without a yarn needle!)

First of all, I'd like to emphasise that this is not the same as a three needle bind-off or cast-off. That is a different thing altogether.

This produces a result exactly the same as Kitchener stitch - the two sides are grafted together - except that you don't use a yarn needle to work it - you use three knitting needles.

So, I've called it three needle grafting.

It is an extremely useful technique, especially for sock toes, because you don't need anything apart from the needles with which you made the sock. And a pair of scissors to cut the yarn, of course.

You need, as usual, to have the stitches from each side on a separate needle, and to hold the needles side by side. Now, cut the yarn, leaving a tail of a suitable length for grafting whatever number of stitches you have. I've only got four stitches from each side of the sock toe, but I'm still leaving a decent length of yarn tail for clarity. (Well, hopefully.)

As with Kitchener stitch, there are two steps at the beginning. Start by knitting the first stitch on the front needle.


However, don't slip the stitch off the left hand needle. Instead, pull the new stitch out into a long loop - and keep pulling it out -


- until you've pulled the yarn all the way through the original stitch. We cut the yarn already, remember?



We do this with every single stitch. Instead of leaving each newly formed stitch on the right hand needle, we pull the yarn all the way through the old stitch. Every time.

Now, the back needle. Purl the first stitch.


Don't slip the stitch off the left hand needle. Pull the new stitch out into a long loop -


- and pull the yarn all the way through.



From this point on, there are just four steps, which are repeated.

  • Purl the first stitch on the front needle. Slip the stitch off the left hand needle in the usual way -
- and then pull the yarn all the way through. I've got three stitches on the front needle now.

  • Knit the next stitch on the front needle. Leave the old stitch on the left hand needle, and pull the yarn all the way through it.

  • Now the back needle. Knit the first stitch on the back needle. Slip the stitch off in the usual way, and pull the yarn all the way through. Now there are three stitches on each needle.

  • Purl the next stitch on the back needle. Leave the old stitch on the left hand needle, and pull the yarn all the way through it.

And there you have it. Purl, knit - knit, purl. The first stitch on each needle is slipped off in the usual way - the second stitch is left on the needle. And the yarn is always pulled all the way through the old stitch.

When you've got just one stitch left on each needle, finish (as you'd expect) by purling the stitch on the front needle, slipping the stitch off the left hand needle in the usual way, and pulling the yarn through - and then finally knitting the stitch on the back needle, slipping the stitch off the left hand needle in the usual way, and pulling the yarn through.


And there is your three needle graft.

You'll never need a yarn needle to work Kitchener stitch again!

5 comments:

mogs said...

Brilliant!
I'm sure I always used to graft without a sewing needle, maybe this was how.

Martelle said...

This is great - thanks. I'm going to try it on my current wip socks (Leafling, RSC March's pair). I groaned when I saw that this pair has a Kitchener toe, but now I can look forward to trying this out.

Heather said...

Thank you! I will be trying this on my next pair of socks.

Lisa said...

That's a great tutorial - thanks! And it makes so much sense too :)

Pixie said...

This is a great way to finish top down socks, so much better than with a darning needle.. many thanks :)