Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Knit Geekery - Grafting

I've just finished knitting a scarf/cowl thingy that is essentially a long strip of knitting that needed the two ends joining together to make a loop.

which is just fine if you are using plain stockinette stitch, or at a pinch garter stitch, because you can just use good ol' kitchener stitch...

BUT the scarf/cowl thingy i was knitting had cables, lots of cables in fact, and after much googling i discovered that grafting any kind of rib pattern seemed to be largely in the too hard basket, even plain ol' kitchener stitch seems to land in said basket too!

so i devised my own way to invisibly graft any kind of knit/purl combo, without having to remember any special technique mantras (ie "knit off, purl, purl off, knit" yadda yadda), and without having to risk losing stitches by using provisional cast-ons...
(ok, so someone might have come up with it first, but nowhere that i saw, so meh, here it is again then!)

i'll try to explain-

the easiest way to begin is to start the edge of the project that will need grafting in a contrast waste yarn, knit a few rows in pattern with this waste yarn, then switch to your main yarn & start the pattern properly....

notes
- if you are doing cables like i was, most cables have rows that aren't cabled, just plain k&p.. you want your sewn graft row to replace one of these plain rows, ok?

- you can do this with a provisional cast-on, i did, it's just that when you free the stitches to graft them, you're going to stick them onto a needle & knit a few rows, in pattern, in your waste yarn to guide you through the graft..

when you get to the other side of the graft, switch to another contrast yarn (DON'T cut your working yarn!) & knit a few rows again... feel free to gently drop all the stitches off your needles now ;-)
so now you have two matching edges of knitting, with a few spare rows on either side...

now with a really long tail from where you finished your main knit - i like to leave 4x the width that i'm going to graft - you're going to start following the pattern that your contrast yarns take through the main colour, in this case my scarf is the blue...

so starting on the white edge, i took the yarn down to the red side & through the first stitch, following the direction that the red yarn takes through the first blue stitch, then back up to the white side.. here you can see my needle following the white yarn through a knit stitch-
you keep going from top to bottom following the path of the waste yarn stitches through your main colour stitches, tucking them to the back like they're not there-
it doesn't matter whether the stitch you are grafting is a knit or purl or changing from one to the other, because you are just copying the waste yarn stitches underneath (just like doing duplicate stitch for embroidery, or sewing in your yarn ends!), this pic shows me sewing two purl stitches together-
at first your sewn stitches will be all loose & messy, but don't worry about that, you can fix that later...
once you get to the end of the row you'll have a whole row of faux-stitches, totally out of gauge with your knitting-
you can gently remove your waste yarn knitting from the back now ;-)

starting at the beginning again, you gently pull the yarn through, one stitch at a time, until your sewn stitches more or less match the gauge of your knitting (ie until it just kinda looks right).. here i've done the stitches on the left, but not the right-
once you've tightened all of the stitches, if it looks good, or close enough, go ahead & sew your left-over tail into the wrong side of your knitting!!
ta da!!!!

ok, mine isn't perfect, but that is actually because i stuffed up removing the provisional cast-on, the grafting technique worked fine, and that is why i'd recommend not doing a PCO, just go straight for a waste yarn lead in...

cool huh? give it a go & i reckon you'll find it way easier than the normal method of doing kitchener, AND it works just as well & easily for stockinette, garter, or any kind of rib!!!

feel free to ask questions or let me know if it doesn't make sense!

5 comments:

Fire said...

You are totally awesome Nova! Thank you for this - very useful and I can't believe you even took photos as you went along!

Rachael said...

Brilliant! How did you know that I tried to graft a cable a few days ago and failed misserably. I have bookmarked this for next time.

Sarah Bean said...

you are such a genius :D

nova_j said...

thanks guys :) it's a little obsessive huh? lol... i just couldn't find anything through extensive googling, so hopefully this helps someone else!!

Shortly said...

Brilliant! i must link this to my After The Rain Scarf - it has a purl/knit combo for grafting. sure to come in handy!!