GK Knitting Help: The Kitchener Stitch

The kitchener stitch is the perfect way to invisibly graft live stitches of 2 workpieces together. This technique is definitely not the most popular one among knitters but it is very useful if you don’t want seams to be seen. It is usually used to bind off the last stitches of top down socks.

In my designs, you will usually come across this bind off method in two situations:

  • When binding off the body of a baby pixie hat, where the bind-off edge will be at the back of the pixie hat and the selvedge will be the bottom.
  • And when binding off the hood of a jumper, where the bind off edge will be at the top of the hood and the selvedge will be the front.

In both of these cases you have to graft the two sides of the same work (folded) together (so they are not separate pieces). You may also see that both of the pieces show above as a sample are knitted in stockinette. It is possible to use kitchener stitch with reversed stockinette as well but that is a slightly different technique, and we are not going to concentrate on that this time.

For the kitchener stitch, you will need a tapestry needle and of course your workpiece, folded in two, with the same amount of stitches on each needle, the right side facing outside. Usually you will use your working yarn to perform this technique but I will use a different color in this tutorial so the join will be easily recognizable.

Since you are going to work with tapestry needles, you will need to cut your working yarn, and you have to leave a tail that is long enough to perform kitchener stitch from the beginning to the end of your bind off row. The length of the tail can easily be determined: as long as you leave at least 3 times the length of the workpiece, it should be fine.

The first thing to do after cutting your working yarn and thread it into a tapestry needle is to set things up: with the folded workpiece in your left hand, the tapestry needle in your right, pull yarn through the first stitch of the nearside knitting needle purlwise. Then pull yarn through the first stitch of the farside knitting needle knitwise. From here you will need to learn 4 steps and repeat them until you run out of stitches to bind off:

  1. pull yarn through first stitch on nearside needle knitwise, slide stitch off the needle
  2. pull yarn through next stitch on nearside needle purlwise, leave that stitch on the needle
  3. pull yarn through first stitch on farside needle purlwise, slide stitch off the needle
  4. pull yarn through next stitch on farside needle knitwise, leave that stitch on the needle

Try to memorize the mantra of “knit-slide, purl-leave, purl-slide, knit leave” and say it out loud as you are doing it, it will help a lot!

If you ever have to stop while performing these steps, always try to stop at step 4, so you will know you will have to start the sequence from step 1 next time. Otherwise there is a good chance of ripping it out and having to start the whole thing again from the beginning…

I made a video for you about the implementation of kitchener stitch, you may watch it here:

I hope this was helpful to you! You can find more tutorials in my Knitting Help library. If you still need assistance with my pattern, please feel free to contact me via this form or send an email to gynkaknitwear@gmail.com.

I hope to see you in the next one! 🙂


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