Grafting an Invisible Join

This Tips & Techniques article includes step-by-step details to invisibly seam this month’s stockinette lace edging stitch pattern for Lace Edged Doily using Stockinette Kitchener Stitch. You might already know how to do this, since it is not specific to knitting lace. But I wanted to make sure everyone making the project this month had the technique details to make the invisible seam for the project.

Tips for Getting Ready to Invisibly Join the Doily Lace Edging

Getting Ready Tip 1: After completing your lace edging to length needed,  cut the lace thread so there is a tail that is long enough to complete the grafted join.

Erring on the side of a tail that is a bit too much is understandable. But WAY too much will just get in the way and make sewing the join more tedious and difficult. So don’t fall into the trap of thinking more is better.

For the 15 stitches to be joined in our doily edging project, the pattern instructs to Cut lace thread, leaving a tail of approximately 18”. 

Getting Ready Tip 2: When releasing (“unzipping”) the crochet chain of the provisional cast on stitch by stitch, be sure each stitch is properly oriented as you insert the needle tip through the “live” stitch being temporarily held by the next chain stitch; i.e. the loop sits on the knitting needle so that the right-hand side of the stitch’s leg sits forward of the needle. This will save you time in remounting the stitch properly to avoid twisted stitches that will be a giveaway that will make your seam able to be spotted.

Getting Ready Tip 3: For sewing the loops together with Kitchener stitch, use the smallest tapestry needle possible; i.e. one that is just large enough to accommodate your thread. This will help avoid distortion and snagging as you push and pull the tapestry needle through the stitches to be grafted.

Detailed Instructions for Stockinette Kitchener Stitch Grafting

Step 1: Start with stitches to be joined held on two needles.

If you’ve followed the instructions in the Lace-edged Doily pattern, your released cast on stitches are now on one of your knitting needles so that the straight edge of the lace edging is closest to the point of the needle. The other knitting needle has the stitches from the last row you worked (i.e. row 10).

Step 2: Insert the tail of your lace thread into the tapestry needle.

Note: the following instructions assume you will be sewing right to left.

Step 3: Making sure the lace edging strip is not twisted, hold needles with wrong sides together, and such that the thread going to the tapestry needle is to your right.

Step 4: BEGIN joining by bringing tapestry needle thread under knitting needles, “sew” into first stitch on front needle as to purl; then bring thread under needle  to back, and “sew” into first stitch on back needle as to knit.

Step 5: Repeat the following 4 sewing motions until only the last stitch remains on the  back needle:

On FRONT needle:

1. “sew” into first stitch as to knit, slip this stitch off needle, and draw up thread to same tension as in knit pieces

2. “sew” into second stitch as to purl

On BACK needle:

3. “sew” into first stitch as to purl, slip this stitch off needle, and draw up thread to same tension as in knit pieces

4. “sew” into second stitch as to knit

Step 6: END by working steps 1 and 3 only. Secure thread end on wrong side.

Stockinette Stitch Grafting Technique Tip: In short, chant

“front needle – knit off – purl on;

back needle – purl off – knit on”

Side note 1: Stockinette stitch (Kitchener) grafting is the same as that used to graft the toe of a sock. So if you are already familiar with that, you will find a common ground here, other than possibly dealing with finer thread and needles.

Side note 2: For the Lace-edged Doily pattern, the grafted row acts as the first 15 stitches of row 11. Please follow the pattern instructions for how to work with the 5 stitches remaining on the front needle. In short, they will be knitted (just as in the last 5 stitches of row 11), then bound off (just as in the first 5 stitches of row 12). Since the provisionally cast on stitches acted as the last 15 stitches of row 12 of the stitch pattern repeat, this then completes the saw tooth edge for the final repeat of the stitch pattern. It will be TOTALLY INVISIBLE as to where you started and finished if you follow the instructions.

Side note 3: This simple grafting technique in stockinette stitch works for a stitch pattern of the type used for Lace-edge Doily pattern because of 2 reasons:

  • the grafted stitches act as replacements of stockinette stitches in the pattern stitch repeat
  • the grafted stitches join with stitches in the provisionally cast on row that themselves are replacements for stockinette stitches

For example, in a project like the Lace-edged Hanky where a simple stockinette grafting cannot be used, a more advanced technique is used to invisibly graft in the lace pattern stitch itself that involves yarn overs and decrease stitches. I hope to be able to cover this at a later time. Meantime, please help in spreading the word about learning, sharing and taking the art of knitting to new heights at KnitHeartStrings.

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One Response to Grafting an Invisible Join

  1. momtat92 says:

    ooo…. nice instructions. Any way we can get this in pdf format for future reference>

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