Grafting "In Pattern"

For the cabled headband, my preferred method of joining it in the round is with the Kitchener (also called grafting or weaving) stitch, because it creates an invisible join and does not add bulk. When grafting knitted pieces that are "in pattern", such as this garter, purl and knit stitch pattern, a combination of the two basic grafting stitches is used. Read more ... for quality control tips and additional information.

When you graft two pieces together, you create a new row of stitches between the upper and lower fabrics. Grafting "in pattern" combines the techniques of grafting stocking stitches and grafting garter stitches. Each stitch is evaluated independently. If it is a knit stitch, then for this stitch the grafting instructions for stocking stitch fabric are used (i.e. the yarn is inserted through the loop on the initial and final passes as if you were grafting two stocking stitch pieces). If it is a purl or garter stitch, then the instructions for garter stitch grafting are used.

The most important quality control is to make sure the stitches do not get twisted, so I used 2 pins to maintain the loop orientation, one pin to hold a loop from the upper knitting needle and one for a stitch from the lower needle. (Click on the photo above to enlarge it and view the pins.) I did not remove a stitch from the knitting needle until I was ready to use it. So, after I made the second pass (return pass) through a loop held by a pin, I removed the pin and immediately used it to hold the next stitch in the sequence.

I took the photo below before weaving in the yarn tail, to indicate the grafting row.

Quality Tips
The single most important factors are preventing twisted stitches (a twisted knit stitch will look like a purl stitch) and pulling up the tension after each stitch to match the pieces being joined.

  1. For optimum results, join two rows having equal numbers of stitches. You can sneak in a few decreases, if you must.
  2. When you remove a stitch from a knitting needle, immediately pin it open in the correct orientation. If you are working with a flat piece like a towel or scarf, you may not need pins, but I found with gloves and the crowned headband, pinning the loops prevented errors and sped up the work. With a long pin, the loop is suspended slightly above the surface, so you can easily pass your darning needle through the loop. This prevents the stitch from twisting. It also helps you pass the needle through the correct loop, in the correct direction, on the second pass when you complete the new stitch. Leave the next stitch on the knitting needle until you are ready to work it.
  3. For holding the stitches to be grafted, use a smaller diameter needle than was used to knit the work. The headband was knitted with 3.5 mm needles, so 2-3/4 mm needles were used to hold the stitches awaiting grafting. This makes it easier to remove a stitch or to pass the darning needle through the stitch while it is still on the needle.
  4. To prevent stitches slipping off the needles, use long needles and extend the tips past working zone. In the photo at right, the top needle is extended past the working zone, while a stitch is being worked from the bottom needle.
  5. Adjust the yarn tension after each stitch is completed and check your work frequently to make sure the stitches look good. Make minor tension adjustments after every few stitches (if necessary) and double check after each stitch to make sure you haven't in advertently purled a knit stitch. It is quick work to correct a stitch immediately, tedious if you have to undo your grafting.
  6. While grafting the headband, I supported it on a rolled up kitchen towel, into which the pins were inserted.

Grafting Instructions Links
Grafting (Joining) Two Garter Stitch Pieces Together (purl & garter sts)
Grafting (Joining) Two Stocking Stitch Pieces Together (knit sts and reverse stockinette pieces)

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