Tag Archives: grafting

Cut! My knitting? Grafting adventure!

I love being the boss of my knitting, even to the point of cutting it up to make it behave. Steeking had been on my bucket list for years, and I took a class from the fabulous Mary Scott Huff several years ago to force me to actually do it. As you probably know from my blog, I embraced it and ran with it, and even teach classes using my Bucket List coffee accessories pattern.

I’ve also cut off sleeves that were knit bottom up but ended up being too long. Knitting ravels down, not up, so rather than removing the sleeve from the body to shorten the top, I snipped one thread of the sleeve at the new wrist length and then picked up the freed stitches and knit a new cuff downward. Not so scary, as long as you plan the right location for the cut.

One technique I tend to avoid is grafting, or kitchener stitch. I’ve done it a few times, but don’t love it, and will usually use 3 needle bind off to duck it. So I was a little horrified when I realized there was no way out of it this week.

I had sent a project out for test knitting, not realizing there was a math error on my part. The home decor item in question came back twice as long as it was supposed to be. It was…okay, but definitely not what I intended.

I would have offered to re-knit it myself, but I’m working on another deadline right now. How could I fix it? I could think of only one way out. I suggested cutting it, frogging it to a more reasonable length, and then grafting it back together. Great, they said; can we send it to you to do it?

Uhhhh, sure…

So armed with Google and a swatch to practice on (complete with the same stitch pattern so I could plan where to place the cut and graft), I tried it out. I wasn’t sure if the stitches would be a half stitch off as they are when you’re grafting end to end. It shouldn’t be, since both pieces were knit in the same direction, but I wasn’t taking any chances. So where would you place the cut and graft?

I decided to put it at the beginning of the section before the dot pattern began, so there would be no chance for the dots to be out of register with each other. I’d replace one of the plain stockinette rows, no grafting in two colors for me!

I snipped a thread 2 rows below where I wanted the graft at the end of the project, so I could pick out the stitches one at a time to get them back on the needle. I was a bit shocked to find that I could tink out that last row, even though it was in the wrong direction; I was raveling up! (I’ll have to think about that later; I didn’t think that was possible.)

The other half of the work was easy to frog, raveling down to remove excess fabric.

I found this video of grafting in the round from KnitPurlHunter to be very helpful with the beginning and end of my grafting round. In case you ever need it.

And I found that using previously blocked yarn makes it really easy to adjust the tension of your grafting, because the yarn is pre-kinked into the right size and shape for the stitches.

I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of before and after. Even if I did, I couldn’t show it to you yet. But the project turned out fine, and I’ll show you this fall!

What’s the biggest knitting mistake you’ve had to fix? This was the most time-crunchy scary, but I should let you know: That sweater pictured above? That’s verison 2. Version 1 was way too big (swatching, heh), so I took out all the seams, frogged the entire thing, and then re-knit it the next year (2008). Yes, I’m the BOSS of my knitting! And I’ve learned a lot since then.

Three year socks

I did it. It didn’t take long at all. Why did it take me three years and four months to finish these socks?


I did graft the toe of the second (left) sock. It’s not that I don’t know how; it’s that I knit socks so rarely that I always have to look it up. But I did, and it’s done. It looked enough like the right sock (draw the yarn through the remaining 8 stitches) that it wasn’t worth going back to re-do the first one.

These are a heavily modified adaptation of Cookie A’s Kai-Mei socks. My Chinese name is Lai-Wah, so I named them for myself. You can see a description of the changes on this three year old blog post, if you’re interested.

Now what should I knit? More socks? Another shawl? I want a relatively mindless, portable knit…

The Boss

That’s me. I am the boss of my knitting. I snipped a thread in the left front, between the armhole shaping and the neck shaping, ripped back 10 rows, and then grafted the two pieces back together.


If I look really hard, I can tell where I did it, just above the white line.

graft line

But I think it looks pretty good! This was definitely better than ripping out the whole hood and shoulder seam.

I’ve grafted sock toes before, so I had a basic understanding of how it works. The CPH pieces were like a very big sock toe, but with 8 purl stitches amid all the stockinette. It would make sense that the purl stitches would be worked in the reverse manner of the knit stitches. If you usually start by going in as if to knit, go in as if to purl, and vice versa. Finish each stitch by doing the opposite of what you did to start. Knit goes to purl; purl goes to knit.  Mind-bender!  Woolly Wormhead has an excellent tutorial on stockinette, reverse stockinette, and garter stitch grafting. From there it was a small leap of faith to a knit and purl combination.

It’s so logical. I’m pretty pleased with myself for figuring it out.

If you ever have to do this, don’t forget that you can only rip down; you can’t rip up into the knitting. Choose your cut accordingly.