Grafting (Joining) Two Garter Stitch Pieces Together

BeforeBeforeAfterAfterI prefer finishing the cabled headbands with a grafting (also called Kitchener) stitch, because the seam is invisible and looks like the knitting. In the cabled headband featured yesterday, however, there are both knit and purl stitches so optimally you would use both knit and purl grafting stitches. In addition, after I wrote about grafting stocking stitch fabrics a number of readers inquired about grafting purl (garter) stitch fabrics, so I have now included stepwise illustrations for this variation.
Read more... for stepwise instructions and related articles.    Click on thumbnails to view larger images.

Grafting is a versatile technique that produces an invisible join between two pieces. It can be used when lengthening (by inserting rows) or shortening a garment in the middle. If a garment were found to be too long across the center back, you could cut across the stitches, unravel a few rows and then rejoin the two portions by grafting.

For garments or flat knitted work, I lay the work flat on a blocking board to graft, as in this article. For socks, I graft directly from knitting needles. Please refer to the two sock article links below for details. For the mohair gloves, I used a modified "flat" technique, by rolling a face cloth and inserting it into the glove so that I could pin open the 2 loops I was working with, since they were so small, dark and fuzzy that I would otherwise have had to strain to see them well to make sure they didn't twist.

If you are grafting stocking stitch or reverse stocking stitch pieces where both sides are viewed (such as a towel or scarf), then use the technique for grafting stocking stitch pieces described in an earlier article. If you are grafting two pieces of reverse stockinette (where the stocking stitch side will not be viewed) or are grafting two garter stitch pieces together, then use this method for grafting.

Related Posts
Basic Sock - Kitchener Stitch (Grafting Toes) (Top Down Sock)
Basic Toe Up Sock - Kitchener Stitch Toe
Knitted Towel with Lace Trim (Sugar 'n Cream yarn)
Grafting (Joining) Two Stocking Stitch Pieces Together.
Knitwear Repairs & Alterations - Cut Apart and Graft Together (Mohair Glove).

Quality Tips

  1. A piece of yarn of 3 times the width of the seam is required.
  2. The original pieces were knitted on 4.5 mm needles. I transferred the stitches for both pieces to smaller diameter needles to make it easier to grab the stitches. In the knitted towel article I used 3.0 mm diameter needles for the stocking stitch example. In this small swatch I used smaller diameter, shorter needles.
  3. Lay the work on a flat area, so that you can see and adjust the tension of the new loops as you work across. You want to pull the new loops to the match the size of the existing purl stitches.
  4. I leave all stitches except the two being worked on the needles, so that the stitches don't run. In addition, after sliding the stitches to be worked from the knitting needle, I extend the knitting needle tip, so that the remaining stitches are far from the edge and less likely to slip off inadvertently. (Refer to the stocking stitch grafting photo to see the extended needles.)

Instructions for Grafting Purl Stitch (Refer to the photos below.)
In the photos below, you see a number of pins. For some fabrics they are very helpful for holding the working loops in the correct orientation, though in this particular example they were only used to assist the photography.

  1. Using a darning needle, bring the yarn up through the first loop of the bottom piece .
  2. Bring the yarn up through the first loop of the top piece and down through the second loop of the top piece. In step 2b below, the yarn has been pulled through two upper loops, forming half of a new loop (purl stitch) between the top piece and the bottom piece. Once anchored in the original bottom loop, the new stitch will be complete. Grafting creates a new garter stitch row between the top and bottom pieces.
  3. From now on the darning needle is passed through two loops each time, whether working on the top portion or the bottom portion, however the needle passes down through the first bottom loop and up through the second bottom loop. In photo 3a, the first new purl stitch has been completed and the second one begun. Photo 3b shows that for some yarn / gauge combinations you can pass through three loops at a time.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all the loops have been worked and the two pieces are completely joined. In the photo below, most stitches have been completed. The before and after photos at the top of this article show the two pieces about to be grafted and once grafted together purlwise.

Photos 1-4
Step 1Step 1a Image 3Step 1b Image 4Step 2a Step 3bStep 2b





Photos 5 - 7
Step 3Step 3 Step 3bStep 3b Step 4Step 4



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