Friday, May 26, 2017

Grafting in Pattern (at the Top of Both Pieces)

As predicted, I've spent the last two weeks acquiring yarn for the designers of the Fall issue of Cast On.  Of all of the things I now do for the magazine, this is the one that has surprised me the most.  It takes so much time!  I'm still waiting to hear from two companies.  Since TNNA is just a few weeks away I think they may be preparing for it.  Since they've added Cash and Carry to the event, many companies haul a lot of yarn to Columbus.

I didn't get that many lessons to review but I did get my first MiniCourse lesson.  I don't teach many but I did develop one last January for knitting Fair Isle Flat.  I only developed this class to answer the questions I get about how to do it since it is my preference.  More about that under Current Projects.

I have successfully avoided this topic for years for a variety of reasons.  First of all, I find teaching grafting (or Kitchener Stitch) to be a pain.  I've never found a great way to explain it.  Some students get the whole Knit Off Purl On, Purl Off Knit On thing but many don't.  Then there is my general dissatisfaction with the results of grafting in pattern when using it on two separate pieces.  (A bit of a side note...I can spend hours and hours trying to find a solution to a knitting problem that can not be solved.  For example, when I knit my first sweater I had trouble getting over the fact that the armhole on the right side was longer since you bind off on the RS of the back and on the left side you bind off on the WS.   I eventually got over this.)

I put grafting in pattern in that same category since it always results in a half stitch offset which just drives me crazy.  (This applies only when grafting two pieces knit separately. There is a different technique for something worked in one piece.  See )  I was working on a birthday gift that required grafting in pattern and I stumbled across a video that had the clearest and simplest description of grafting I'd ever encountered.  Jodie Gordon Lucas has a video in her website which I think will click for many knitters.  (QueenieKnits).   It covers any combination of stitches you might encounter (except for K1P1 ribbing or garter which are special cases).

Most Kitchener instructions begin with positioning the stitches to be grafted on two needles, one in front of the other with the wrong sides together.  Jodie's explanation is to look at the stitches as pairs. If they are the same type of stitch (two knits or two purls), you go into the first stitch in the same direction as the type of stitch (knitwise into a knit stitch), then you go into the second stitch in the opposite direction.  If the two stitches are different, a knit followed by a purl) you go into the the stitches in the same direction and the first stitch determines that direction.

Note the length of the paragraph above.  It is short.  That is why I like this method.  It is so simple and easy to remember.  Here is my video:  Grafting in Pattern

Now for the disclaimers about grafting in pattern.  I can't say I've done a ton of research on the topic but most do not mention at all the half stitch offset.  TECHknitter is the exception.  Just how big of a deal is this?  Well, most of the time you are grafting in pattern you are working with some sort of cable pattern or ribbing.  The good news is that the texture of cables and ribbing tend to hide those nasty offsets.  If you look at the photos below you can see that the offset isn't visible in the first.  You only see it in the second if it is stretched.

In an actual project it is barely noticeable.

I've just decided this doesn't bother me.

As I said above, two stitch patterns which require special handling in grafting are K1P1 ribbing and garter.  I'll do a video in my next entry on K1P1 ribbing.  I'll get to an entry on grafting a provisional cast on edge to the top edge at some point.

Salon will be on Saturday for a change.  The time will be 1:30 to 3:30.  Hope you can make it.

I finished up another birthday present (except for weaving in yarn tails.)

I love this stitch pattern.

I'm finally getting a start on my project for Cast On.  I'm using RedFish 3 ply and size 2.25mm needles.  This is the bottom border.  Beehives are above the bees.  The colors will reverse for the top part of the sweater and the bee design will change.  The honeycombs will interlock.  The photograph doesn't do the colors justice.  I'm knitting this flat as I find it easier to maintain good tension on the floats.


  1. Hi Arenda. Thanks for the feedback on my grafting video. It is so nice to know when someone finds my videos helpful...because YOU know how much work they are!

    Here is a direct link to my original video for your readers:

    I am jodiemom on ravelry (which has more of my designs currently than my website) and QueenieKnits on YouTube.

    Thanks again!

    Jodie / Queenie

  2. I agree about the half-stitch offset in grafting - for ages I thought I must be doing something wrong, because the reference books I was looking at did not impart this important piece of information. I've even seen some illustrations that show the result as not being offset - grr!

    1. Direction is everything when it comes to grafting. It all depends on whether the stitches are grafted top-to-top or top-to-bottom.

      The half-stitch jog is only inevitable when grafting a pattern such as ribbing (with knits and purls on the same row) top-to-top.

      But you can absolutely avoid the half-stitch jog when grafting ribbing top-to-bottom (live stitches to a provisional cast-on row) as long as you align the stitches correctly at the outset. You also need to adjust the grafting steps to account for the fact that the knit/purl arrangement on the provisional cast-on row is different from the knit/purl arrangement on the last row of knitting.