The Kitchener Stitch Waltz

Kitchener Stitch is a way of making knit stitches without actually knitting them. It joins the top stitches to a bottom stitches without a seam. Kitchener Stitch is also called grafting and is easier to do than to talk about. You just need to get a rhythm and learn a little dance.

Kitchener_Stitch_Header

 

Start by cutting your working yarn, leaving a long tail. About a foot should do it. If you’re working a long seam, you can use multiple pieces and weave in these ends like any others. Thread your tail onto a tapestry needle and and we’ll learn the Kitchener Stitch Waltz.


WaltzYou know how to waltz, right? Good old Box Step One, two, three; one, two, three; back, left, together; forward, right together.

Well, Kitchener Stitch has the same rhythm and it goes: Knit, off, purl; purl off, knit; knit, off, purl; purl, off, knit; etc.

Pick your favorite waltz tune (I like the Tennesee Waltz or The Blue Danube, myself.) and sing it to your self for a bit…  “Knit off, purl; purl, off, knit. Knit, off, purl; purl, off, knit…”

Got that all firmly in your head? Great. Now I’ll introduce you to…


The Kitchener Stitch Waltz

I’m sure you’re wondering what in yarnation it means, and how to put it all together right? Well, let me tell you. And here, I’m going to ask you to read all the way through before you begin.

Just to be clear, in the following description, knit-wise and purl-wise refer to the direction the needle moves through the stitch on the needle. It means going in the direction you would use your knitting needle if you were working the stitch.

Purlwise_vs_Knitwise

Start by sewing through a stitch on the needle closest to you in a knit-wise direction, drop that stitch off the needle, then sew through the next stitch on the needle closest to you in a purl-wise direction. Then sew through a stitch on the needle farthest away from you in a purl-wise direction, drop that stitch off the needle, then sew through the next stitch in a knit-wise direction. Then come back to the needle closest to you and do it again… and again, and again until you have no more stitches. Easy, right?

There is one catch, though. The first and last stitches will have a variation. Every other stitch in our lovely Kitchener Stitch Waltz has two dance partners, one on each side. The first and last stitch only have one dance partner apiece. So in order to make the Kitchener Stitch Waltz come out right, we’ll have to invent an imaginary dance partner for each of them. That means your first “Knit, off…” motion on the needle closest to you will be in the air and your first “…purl” step will be into the first live stitch on the needle closest to you. And your first “…Purl off..” motion on the needle farthest away from you will also be in the air. And you’ll do the same for the last stitch on both the needle closest to you and the needle farthest away.

Ready to try it? it will go like this:

• Sew through the imaginary stitch on the needle closest to you in a knit-wise direction and imagine dropping it off the needle, then sew into the next stitch (actually the first real stitch on the needle closest to you) in a purl-wise direction.

• Now sew through the imaginary stitch on the needle farthest away from you in a purl-wise direction, imagine dropping it off the needle, then sew into the next stitch (actually the first real stitch on the needle farthest away from you) in a knit-wise direction.

• Proceed to the needle closest to you and sew through the first stitch in a knit-wise direction, drop it off the needle, and through the next stitch in a purl-wise direction.

• Move to the needle farthest away from you and sew through the first stitch in a purl-wise direction, drop it off the needle and through the next stitch in a knit-wise direction.

• Back to the front needle knit, off, purl. To the back needle and purl, off, knit. See?


As you’re dancing the Kitchener Stitch Waltz, keep the tension of your sewn stitches about the same as the stitches you actually knit, and you’ll quickly see that they make a knitted row in between the rows you’re grafting together. It’s like magic! Keep up the “Knit, off purl; purl, off, knit…” until all your stitches are off the needles.

Weave in your ends, and get a glass of something delightful. You’ve earned it.

Written by mim

mim

6 Comments on “The Kitchener Stitch Waltz

  1. Nice and clear directions, Mim! I especially liked the idea of the imaginary stiches to begin and to end with!

    • You know how much I love using analogies, Anne. Oh, and I love to waltz.

  2. Perfect timing of these very clear directions Mim, as I am about to graft live stitches using this. I’ve printed them out and will have right in front of me when I do this.

    • Let me know how it works out, Laurie. Send me a picture, even. I love to see everyones beautiful knitting.

  3. How did it go, Sue? Send me a pic or bring your lovely kitchener stitched by and let me take a gander.

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