Bonus: Kitchener Garter Stitch

A knitting truth: Grafting creates 2 rows of stitches

I promised that I would show you how to graft an invisible seam in garter stitch. So here we go as a little bonus to our February KAL for Irish Coffee Cozy. I’ll refer to this as Kitchener Garter Stitch (KGS) so as to differentiate it from regular Kitchener Stitch grafting which is usually assumed to produce an invisible seam in stockinette stitch such as we covered in Bits of Lace 2012 for the Lace Edged Doily.

Grafting for an invisible join

Grafting creates 2 rows of stitches. For a truly invisible join where the pattern stitch appears uninterrupted, simple grafting (in either stockinette stitch or garter stitch) requires the join to span an area of at least 2 rows of plain stockinette or garter stitch.

For KGS we will be creating the intervening garter stitch ridge. Fortunately, in the Irish Coffee Cozy, the intervening garter stitch ridge to be joined is un-beaded, so we will not have that complication.

Note: I designed Lace Edged Doily, and now the Irish Coffee Cozy, to teach the simpler Kitchener grafting  techniques. But more complicated methods where lace stitching or beading is done at the same time as grafting are possible. We could cover something like this in future KAL series if there is interest.

A Prelude to Kitchener Garter Stitch join for Irish Coffee Cozy

Just like regular Kitchener Stitch, KGS joins a set of loops along the cast on edge with the last row of knitted stitch loops still remaining on the knitting needle.


For the Irish Coffee Cozy, the below instructions simply have you pick up the loops along the lower edge of the half-hitch cast on. This method replicates what some of you might have accomplished in other projects by starting with a provisional cast on and then releasing the loops later to work the grafted join.

Note: If you have worked with projects that start with a provisional cast on, the released loops are equivalent to what we end up with the method used for the Irish Coffee Cozy.

Joining with KGS sewn grafting method for invisible seam in garter stitch

Work last pattern repeat until all except the last 2 rows have been completed. These 2 rows will be constructed from the bottom loops of the cast on edge (either simple half-hitch cast on or long tail cast on) + the sewn grafted method for garter stitch as follows:

  1. Cut yarn leaving tail of approximately 15”. (Tip for length of yarn tail to leave for grafting: 3 x width to be joined plus 7 – 8”.)
  2. Hold the strip of fabric so cast on edge is upwards and un-beaded (i.e. wrong side) of fabric faces you. With loose needle pick up each loop along the edge of cast on row plus the extra extra stitch from chain selvedge so that you have 18 stitches picked up along cast on edge.
  3. Hold needles together with un-beaded sides facing and the 15” cut yarn tail to the right.
  4. Thread small tapestry needle with this yarn tail.
  5. Holding knitting needles parallel and close together, “sew” the stitches as follows:

Note: In the following, remember to bring yarn under needles when moving between nearer and further needles.

BEGIN by “sewing” with tapestry needle into first stitch on nearer needle as to purl; then bring yarn under needles, and “sew” into first stitch on further needle as to purl.

REPEAT these steps:

On nearer needle:

1. “sew” into first stitch as to knit and remove this stitch from needle

k-take off nearer needle

k-take off nearer needle

2. “sew” into second stitch as to purl

p-leave on nearer needle

p-leave on nearer needle

(Tip: chant k-take off, p-leave on)

On further needle, repeat steps 1 – 2 above.

k-take off further needle

k-take off further needle

p-leave on further needle

p-leave on further needle

Continue to repeat steps 1 – 2 alternately on nearer and further needles.

END by working only step 1 first on nearer needle, then on further needle.

Adjust tension of sewn stitches if necessary to match knitted fabric.

Grafting completed for invisible seam in garter stitch

Grafting completed for invisible seam in garter stitch

Weave in ends in on wrong side invisibly by following the path of yarn along a garter ridge for 5 – 6 stitches.

Invisible seam on wrong side of garter stitch - weave ends in invisibly

Invisible seam on wrong side of garter stitch – weave ends in invisibly

A Brief Comparison

You might find KGS easier than regular Kitchener (stockinette) stitch, because the actions are the same on both the nearer and further needles. There is no need to remember which is which!

This entry was posted in Bit-size Tutorials and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

What do you think?

Please Login to post a comment