a variation on Kitchener

This little bag is my India’s first sewing project.  I took it out of storage the other bright sunny day and gave it an airing. It reminded me that even if we think our attempts at something are imperfect, we should never discard them, because when seen afresh they might just be beautiful.

There’s always something new to learn. In knitting as in life.

My latest lesson came in the form of a need to join two pieces of 1+1 rib at the back of a neck.

A bit of research led me to the discovery that there is a way of doing this which, although not perfect, does make a fairly seamless join.

As far as I can see, there is only 1 disadvantage, and here it is:

The resulting join does not stretch and so should not be used in a place where it will be required to (the back of a neck is an ideal place for it, therefore)

So, here is what to do:

1. First, take your 2 pieces of knitting, with equal numbers of stitches on each needle.

2. Slide the alternate purl stitches from each needle onto smaller needles. I tried placing these stitches on a spare thread, but found this to be problematic because the stitches tended to lose their tension which was a problem when I placed them back on the needle. This often happens to me when I place stitches on a spare thread, as for underarms. Does this happen to anyone else? A proper stitch holder seems like the best solution.

Note: this process involves quite a bit of finagling and a couple of swear words, mainly because you’re sliding stitches from one needle onto two different needles while keeping them facing in the right direction. When you’ve finished this part of the process a cup of tea and a deep breath are advisable.

Then you’ll be ready to do the deed.

3. Holding the knit stitches on the needles close together, graft them using Kitchener Stitch.

Here is a reminder of the four steps of Kitchener.

Step 1: Place sts to be joined onto two separate needles. Hold the needles parallel with points facing to the right and so that  the right sides of knitting  are facing outwards.

Bring threaded needle through front st as if to purl and leave st on the needle.

Step 2: Bring threaded needle through back st as if to knit and leave st on the needle.

Step 3: Bring threaded needle through the same front st as if to knit and slip this st off the needle. Bring threaded needle through next front st as if to purl and leave st on the needle.

Step 4: Bring threaded needle through first back st as if to purl, slip that st off the needle, bring needle through next back st as if to knit, leave this st on the needle.

Repeat steps 3 & 4 until no sts remain on needle.

4. When you’re done, turn the work over, transfer the “purl” sts from the smaller needles to the working needles, and graft them together.

The result will be a piece that is joined but does not have the elasticity of rib in that one place. A small price to pay.

6 Responses to “a variation on Kitchener”

  1. woollythinker Says:

    That’s brilliant – thanks for sharing!

  2. Kaye Says:

    Very clever – hope I can remember where I saw this, when I have need to use it. :-)

  3. knitxcore Says:

    my last kitchener was a mess. i may give this a shot.

  4. Mel Says:

    I meant to say in my post, if your Kitchener is too loose or uneven, you can tidy it up by taking a yarn needle or a small knitting needle and working on each stitch along the row, following the anatomy of the stitch. Mine is sometimes too tight, sometimes too loose but I always even it out afterwards, which is easier to do if the stitches are too loose.

  5. Nicky Says:

    Very clever.
    Love the comment about needing a cup of tea once you have the stitches placed correctly.

  6. nys Says:

    Cool! thanks :)

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