Sunday, January 13, 2008

Kitchener Stitch

In answer to my question on the Internet Knit List back years ago I guess (sorry I don’t remember the date of this) WHY CAN'T I KITCHENER STITCH?
Several people answered my plea for help and we even learned how the word Kitchener got its name.
One of the most important hints I got was:
From Norma Sweet:
Always start with the stitch that the yarn end is on, go through it (as if to K) and then go to the stitch opposite it. Back to it and continue. If you don't start with that stitch, you'll be 1/2 stitch off all the way across.
From Brenda Staurowsky:
Back in my hand knitting days when I would graft shoulder seams together, an owner of our local knit shop taught me how to do this. This is in regards to your Kitchener stitch. "Pretend" you have your scraped off sts. on two regular knitting needles. OK-- You have a "top" needle and a "bottom" needle. Now this is really easy cause you just keep repeating to yourself-- Knit off Purl on Purl off Knit on In hand knitting, what you are doing to start with is to take your yarn which is attached to the top "row" and take that to the bottom st. as if to knit and knit it off. Take your thread thru the next bottom st and go thru as if to purl and leave it on. Go to top needle (row), purl off, then yarn thru next st. and knit leaving it on. What is happening here is you're going thru the sts the correct way. Knit ---(bottom row) Purl ---(bottom row) Purl ---(top row) Knit ---(top row) Bren
Denise Gaertner:
The following was just posted to one of the hand knitting lists as being a quote from Elizabeth Zimmerman:"Grafting? Weaving? Kitchener Stitch? What is the explanation of the latter term? I considered offering a prize in Wool Gathering for a logical derivation, but Dorothy Camper, of Madison, Wis. anticipated my little scheme, and contributed the following . . . ."Kitchener Stitch is called after Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, British military hero of Boer War and WW 1. He associated himself with a Red Cross plan to dragoon US womanhood into knitting 'comforts' for the men in the trenches, and contributed his own sock design, which included a squarish 'grawfted' toe. Hence the Kitchener Sock; hence Kitchener Stitch. Truth is indeed stranger than imagination . . . ."
Jennie Merritt wrote: This is the handout I've written for my advanced beginners class for Kitchener. It's all a matter of pretending (used the words "think of" in the pattern but use "pretend" verbally when teaching) and remember what we are pretending.KITCHENER STITCHA hand manipulated stitch that results in a row of knit1. Count the stitches on each needle to be sure both needles have an equal number.2. Hold the needles parallel with purl sides facing each other.3. Think of the knitting needle closest to you as the knit needle, and the knitting needle away from you as the purl needle. (K comes before p in the alphabet). Think of the tapestry needle entering each stitch knitwise or purlwise.4. With the tapestry needle and a length of yarn at least three times the width of the fabric, enter the first stitch of the purl needle knitwise. Leave the stitch on the needle.5. Enter the first stitch of the knit needle knitwise. Drop the stitch from the needle. Each time you enter a knit needle stitch knitwise, drop it from the needle.6. Enter the next stitch on the knit needle purlwise. Leave the stitch on the needle.7. Enter the first stitch of the purl needle purlwise. Drop the stitch from the needle. Each time you enter a purl needle stitch purlwise, drop it from the needle.8. Enter the next stitch on the purl needle knitwise. Leave the stitch on the needle.9. Repeat steps 5 - 7.

Marion Stephen:
Hi, Roz - I have hand-knitted socks and finished them with Kitchener stitch for over 50 years and I can't remeber the Kitchener formula from one pair to the next. So I keep an index card with instructions in my hand-finishing box. Here it is:Two-needle KitchenerKnit first stitch on front needle and dropPurl second stitch on front needle and leavePurl first stitch on back needle and dropKnit second stitch on back needle and leaveRepeat these four steps until all stitches are sewn off.By the way I have always had trouble working from sts that have been scrapped off, so I take the raw sts off the scrap onto two sock needles and Kitchener from the sock needles beginning at the right and the wrong side of the sock is inside with the right side facing.
Charlotte Wood:
One of the neat tips I think I saw on this list awhile back was......after you have finished the toe of a sock (or before you start if you are knitting the other direction), knit 2 rows of waste yarn, then switch back to main yarn that you want to graft with, and knit 2 rows, then several more rows waste yarn. Now when you block this you have set the stitch size in the 2 rows of main yarn. You can carefully remove the waste yarn down to this and use it to kitchener with.....the stitches should practically fall into place as they are already preformed by the blocking. Sorry, I can't remember who posted this tip....I sure like it. (I would also do this on a sideways skirt...a grafted seam looks so much better than anything else I have seen.)
I learned to Kitchener by doing row with ravel cord first then following it with the main yarn. That way I could really see what I was doing (like Roz, I was obsessed with socks and couldn't close the toes properly!). I got the directions from a handout at my local hand knit shop. Another thing that helps me is doing it from the purl side whenever possible. For some reason it just seems easier to do.
Nancy Philipp:
Don't know if this will help but I will tell you how I do the Kitchener stitch. Generally the knit material you are joining has waste yarn rather than open loops. I just follow the waste yarn path with the main yarn from one piece to the other. This is like a continuation of the knitting stitch (knitting with a tapestry needle). The thing that really makes the Kitchener seam invisible is matching the tension of the knit material -- too tight and there is a definite seam; too loose and there is a ladder. Remove the waste yarn; weave in yarn ends, steam and your done.*****************************
Hi, I couldnt do kitcheners stitch to save me no matter what the directions were. Then once I sat down and worked it out myself. Once I did that and knew what was going on I haven't had problems since. So I would suggest that to everyone. Do it a few times with the directions -till you 'almost' have it and then work it out on your own. It will never be a bugaboo again.
Melva Bass:
Roz, why don't you end your rows with ravel cord and waste yarn, then thread your needle and follow the ravel cords? When it leaves your garment piece and goes to the scrap, skip up to the other garment piece and follow it through there and then back to the other piece, etc., back and forth, until you're through, pull out the ravel cords and even up your stitches. After a time or 2 , you won't need the ravel cord.
Lou Damewood:
Roz---- Thought you used to be a hand knitter. All hand knitters learn this early on. I learned it from a Learn How Book from Woolworths too many years ago to count. It is basically making a row of knitting by tapestry needle. Usually people tend to pull too tightly on the thread. You have 2 rows of open stitches facing each other. Observe the way the stitches lay. Go into one and then the opposite one-- Go back into the first and through to the adjoining stitch. On opposite side do the same thing. Practice on old swatches until you see how it is supposed to look. Try from the front first and then practice from the back or purl side. Some find one easier and some find the other. Almost any hand knitting instructions show the pictures of this in detail.
Nella TenBroeke:
Roz, whenever I teach someone to Kitchener I have put the "right sides" together as we do for sewing material, tuck the scrapped off edges down in the center of this. the stitches to be used will be between the scrapped off stitches (they say "here I am").have the needle going through both stitches and before pulling it through stop and snug the previous "pull through". A tapestry or double eyed needle can be used. I usually say, new, old, stop, snug (new stitch, old stitch, stop, snug). don't snug too tight (you are actually knitting another row and don't want it to show)!!! I never could do it with the wrong sides together as is shown in diagrams in some books.
Leslye Solomon has described Kitchener Stitch and has good close-ups on her video Sweater Finishing for Hand and Machine Knitters. Those of us who need a visual aid might find this invaluable.
Margaret Hall :
I find that the easiest way is to work from the purl side. If the stitches are on a contrast waste yarn, you just follow the route and tension of the waste yarn from side to side. Margaret
Deborah Shanahan :
The Kitchener stitch is difficult to describe, but simple to do. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and forget the detailed steps; forget that your dealing with knitting.Here's what a Kit St really is: a series of back-stitches sewn into *predetermined* holes, alternating between 2 pieces of fabric. In fact, while you're learning to do it, use woven fabric. Pin the 2 pieces of fabric to paper to keep everything stable, maintaining about an eighth-inch space between them.For right-handed people the needle goes from right to left, into the fabric ALWAYS from the top, down under, and back up again. Look at it while the needle is still in the fabric. It's like every basic sewing stitch you ever did. Now take a stitch in the second piece of fabric the same way, sticking the needle into the fabric at a point that would be half-way between where the needle went in and came out, relative to the first piece of fabric.Now make the second stitch on the first piece of fabric. Where do you poke the needle? Right into the hole it came out of on the previous stitch. Keep alternating stitches between the 2 pieces of fabric, always poking the needle into the hole where the thread came out of on the stitch before, working from right to left. After about 10 stitches on each pieces, stop and look at your work.What you'll see on the front is a zigzag stitch, just like a sewing machine zigzag. That's the "knit" side. The back side should look like 2 parallel rows of straight machine sewing. Those stitches would be the "purls" if you were working with knitted fabric. If you didn't quite get it, take a few more stitches until you do. EUREKA!! Once you find the way, you'll never have to read or remember the Kitchener stitch steps again. Left-handed people must have even more trouble than righties do with Kit St directions. I assume (not being a leftie myself) that you sew from left to right. Again, you're just making a series of back stitches alternating between 2 peices of fabric. When you actually work with knitting, you usually finish knitting with the yarn on the right. Just rotate the work so that the yarn end is on the left, and start sewing.What about those *predetermined* holes that I mentioned a few paragraphs back? When you actuallly work with knitting, they're the yarn loops from your 2 pieces of knitting. You'll never get into trouble as long as you remember to start a stitch by poking the needle into the same loop that the needle came out of for the previous stitch on that piece of fabric.Hope this helps a few of you.

No comments: