Its not that hard. If you can make a knit stitch, a purl stitch, and thread a tapestry needle, then you can Kitchener Stitch.
It is very hard to keep track of where you are in the stitch. That where the trouble comes from and I think I can help with that. So today, we conquer the Kitchener Stitch!
If you have never heard of Kitchener Stitch, never tried it before then good. I’m glad I found you first. Kitchener Stitch is a technique that you do with a tapestry needle and a separate length of yarn that allows you to seamlessly graft two pieces of knitting together.
What You Need to Kitchener Stitch
- two pieces of knitting still on the needles. Don’t bind off.
- the two pieces need to have the same number of stitches
- a tapestry needle and a length of yarn
Why Kitchener Stitch Is Worth the Trouble
With this technique you are making a row of knit stitches that joins one piece of knitting to the other. Its a seam that is not a seam at all. Its just another row of knit stitches. It will lay perfectly flat and visually blend with the rest of the piece. Best of all, it will block out at the same tension as the rest of your knitting. Kitchener Stitch is a great way to finish a (cuff down) sock. Its handy for joining the left/right front of a cardigan to the back. Most infinity scarf patterns call for a provisional cast-on just so that you can Kitchener Stitch the two ends together.
The problem is that most Kitchener Stitch instructions look like this:
Maybe those work for you. They don’t for a lot of knitters. Too dense! Too hard for the eye to keep track of where you are!
I like to re-format information so that its easier to see and internationalize. Try this instead:
- Kitchener Stitch is made with a tapestry needle
- You will take that needle and go into stitches either knit-wise or purl-wise
- Arrange your stitches onto 2 needles with one piece facing towards you with the stockinette (knit) side and one towards you with the reverse stockinette (purl) side.
The Set Up
To get started, work these two steps one time only:
Work these four stitches until all the live loops are off the knitting needles.
I hope that helps. I think it will. As a teacher, and a hopeless geek, I’ve found that reorganizing information from text to tables often makes a HUGE difference. Personally I love tables. But then I have that geek thing going on.
One last word of advice: once you start Kicthener’ing, don’t stop. Unless your house is burning down, keep going until you have worked off all those stitches. Most mistakes come from stopping in the middle, getting distracted, and then having to guess at where you are in those four steps. I know that if I stop, I’m screwed and have to take the whole thing out and start over.
So… once you have that Kitchener groove going, keep going!
And if you like this free tutorial, I have more. I have lots more!
"There is no failure. Only feedback." - Robert Allen
10 Comments on "Conquering the Kitchener Stitch"
I usually just knit the last two off (Kitchener is a common BO for amigurumi) and it also seems to work just fine 🙂 I was really luck Hansai included a detailed set of picture instructions in her book or I would have been completely lost!
Ahh so you are a visual learner!. Sorry. Occupational habit.
This is great, a really good way of remembering. I think you may have made a mistake on the first set of four, you say ‘go in knit wise’ (first stitch, front needle), but you go in purl wise, apologies if I’m wrong.
I re-watched it and I didn’t see any boo-boos. That does not mean they aren’t there of course! But the knitting looks good too. Maybe its that first stitch. You do start with a Purl on the front needle when you are setting up.
Shrug. I think the video is good but if it turns out to not be I’ll take it down and re-do it. 🙂
Thank you! That was great. Easiest explanation of Kitchener stitch I’ve seen. I will definitely watch the video and use the chart for my next cuff down socks!
I think the more ways information can be presented, the better chance people have of absorbing what the need to know. And we ALL need to know how to kitchener!
I bought one of the printed dogtags, took a picture of it, and saved it on my computer. When I get to sock toes, I make that picture the only thing on my screen, and read it aloud over and over, line by line, until I’m done. You are SO RIGHT about not stopping mid-way through!
Ahh that Kitchener is as handy as it is troublesome. I remember a blog post on Yarn Harlot (love that blog) where she found a man that has tattooed the Kitchener instructions on his forearm so he always had them. that’s pretty hard core. I just have those two able printed out and pinned to my wall.
Haha, you’re awesome, Jenn! I have always gone instantly dumb when reading instructions for this stitch. I thought I had it with the tables, and now I know I have it down with the video. Now I just have to knit something. Thank you!
Thanks hun! We’ll get you onto the pointy sticks someday. Its inevitable.