Master sim­ple graft­ing

Add Kitch­ener stitch to your skill set.

Simply Knitting - - In This Issue -

G raft­ing or Kitch­ener stitch as it’s also known, is claimed to have been in­vented un­der the or­ders of Lord Kitch­ener, dur­ing the First World War. It is said he no­ticed that Ã!"`#iÀÃ$Ü!Õ"`$Li%iwÌ$vÀ!&$ seam­less socks to pre­vent sores and blis­ters brought about by rub­bing. Luck­ily for us, graft­ing is used to this very day to make socks, in par­tic­u­lar, su­per snug­gly at the toes. But that’s not all graft­ing can be used for. Read on to dis­cover the dif­fer­ent tech­niques used for stock­ing stitch, garter stitch, sock graft­ing and when not to graft. With a lit­tle prac­tice you’ll soon be an ex­pert.


Graft­ing is join­ing two sets of knit­ting stitches in a seam­less, and prac­ti­cally in­vis­i­ble way us­ing yarn and a darn­ing nee­dle. By work­ing back and forth with the darn­ing nee­dle and yarn across the di­vide be­tween the stitches, you cre­ate a new set of ‘knit­ted’ stitches. Not only does this grafted row do a great job of join­ing two sets of stitches to­gether, if it’s worked at the same ten­sion as the orig­i­nal stitches, it should be im­pos­si­ble to spot.


Graft­ing is most of­ten used to join the top and bot­tom stitches to­gether on the toe of a sock. How­ever, it’s also use­ful for other things. Graft­ing can be used to join the first and last rows of a cowl to make it seam­less. Lace scarves with a dec­o­ra­tive bor­der at both ends some­times need graft­ing as the bor­der at ei­ther end has to be worked in one di­rec­tion. Af­ter mak­ing the first bor­der, and work­ing the main sec­tion of the scarf, the live stitches are set aside and a sec­ond bor­der is worked on sep­a­rate nee­dles. When this bor­der is fin­ished it can be joined to the end of the first knit­ted piece us­ing graft­ing.

Graft­ing can also be used to change the length of a gar­ment. You can cut the cuff from a gar­ment with sleeves that are too short for you (or the bot­tom rib of a jumper that’s rid­ing a lit­tle high) and slide the ‘live’ stitches of the main sec­tion onto your nee­dles, leav­ing the cuff or welt on spare yarn or a stitch holder. Knit down to your new cho­sen length of sleeve or jumper, then graft the cuff or rib back on!

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