Kitchener Stitch: Hello Again, You Rascal

By Ann Shayne
April 12, 2022

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  • Gorgeous sweater ❤️

  • knit on, purl off
    purl off, knit on

    • Is this another version of Kitchener. Does it have the same results as the version
      I was taught?
      Front Knit off purl on
      Back Purl off knit on

      • Exactly the same as Jen’s!

  • Well, that’s a glorious sweater!

  • Love this Noro Issue. So many I really liked including your one. One Kitchener instruction I read says you perform the stitch facing you. So if you are doing the row closest to you it would probably be the knit stitch and the row behind has purl stitches facing you so you do a purl operation. Don’t know if this helps or not. I just throw it out there in case it makes sense to anybody if they have lost their place.

    • Just what Jen says.

  • Beautiful bobbles! I love kitchener, simply because while you’re working it, it looks rather messy and then at the end it’s a nice neat row! (I just learned 3NBO, there’s something similar going on but I haven’t quite figured out how they are related..?)

  • This sweater looks so fun! I love bobbles too 🙂

  • The video left obvious “ears” at each end. I wish she had provided tips on how to prevent those “ears”.

    • You can’t prevent the ears on socks because of the decreases before. On 2 pieces without decreases it stays flat and you don’t have those ears.

    • Finchley graft! Absolute game-changer for me. I can kitchener, but I cannot- not once, not ever- successfully tighten up the weird stitches. I can’t see where the yarn’s going to know what bit to pull on. So now I only ever Finchley, which comes out neater first time around. Also: no ears.

      • I clip a removable marker on my thread before Kitchner. So I know where the thread goes from the start.

  • I am fairly confident with Kitchener but today I have to do 112 stitches in the round. Your comment to sequester oneself and not stop until the task is complete is advice well-taken. Perfect timing. Thank you.

    • Lovely, yummilicious sweater. I live in coastal weather. Those colors are my local. Thanks for sharing.

  • You could also do that new 3 needle bind off where you knit the front stitch and purl the back stitch to make the resulting bind of lay flat. That’s the one I used for the marled cowl. That would also give some structure to the shoulder seam if it needs it

    • I agree. You generally need a bit of structure on the shoulders.

    • 3NBO is much more stable. Some years ago, I learned the Japanese 3NBO via The Rainey Sisters blog, which had a link to The Keyboard Biologist. I truly love this method.

  • Just beautiful – the sweater and the Kitchener stitch!

  • What a crazy bunch of colour! Marvellous.

  • Great video, thanks. I’d like a tutorial on Kitchener stitch for garter stitch or ribbing. Any chance?

    • Jen & MDK already posted one on grafting in garter stitch – try

      • Wow thanks!

    • The key to ribbing is to understand that for every stitch the ‘off ‘ is how you want it to look , and the ‘on” is the opposite. Then you just go back and forth between the needles, doing an ‘off’ and ‘on’ for each, reading the stitches to tell you whether to work knitwise or purl wise. Once you understand that you’ll never have to memorize steps!

  • I just finished the Mokum Cowl with 108 stitch Kitchener join for the bind off. Your tips are spot on. My family now knows the word “Kitchener” and knows to leave me alone for as long as it takes. (BTW: the results were well worth the work!)

  • So beautiful! That is an amazing pattern & yarn combo.

  • Ann, you are so right about no tv and no stopping once you start the Kitchener stitch. I also make sure no one is around to interrupt me. I was at my LYS and finished the last row on a sock. I promptly put it away. Someone asked if I was going to finish it. I said I had to Kitchener it and couldn’t do it around people. Everyone at the table nodded in agreement! I appreciate the tip about fixing it when done. Glad you’re enjoying your trip.

  • You are so right on Tip #1. I haven’t used Kitchener stitch lately but when I did use it, everyone had to be out of the house and pets in the other room. I can remember when my mother was with me, I would tell her, “I’m going to finish this sweater now, so I can’t talk for a while.” She would comply for a short time and then say, “I just have to say one thing.” It was just enough to break the rhythm of the Kitchener stitch.

    • Maybe you and I are sisters? Because this is exactly what my mother does!

    • I agree, don’t stop! BUT, if you must stop, always stop at the same spot, like after the Back-Knit on stitch. Then, don’t look at your seam when you start up again, just plow ahead with a Front-Knit off. I’m breaking into a sweat just writing about it!

  • I also like the three needle bind off for shoulders.

  • Yes – don’t stop!

    One day the logic of it just clicked and it’s in my brain cells.

    And nice sweater!
    Isn’t ‘My Brilliant Friend’ so good ….

  • Love Jen’s videos but had never seen this one. Another MDK video by Lorilee Beltran (2019) is what cemented the stitch for me. So much learned from MDK–time to scroll through my bookmarks

  • Another useful practice when you have a lot of Kitchener: place stitch markers every ten stitches or so on each needle. This will help you make sure that you are on the same stitch front and back. (Ask me how I know.)

  • “Only your hair dresser knows for sure.” Growing up as a blonde – and being old enough to remember the ad campaign – this made me laugh. Thanks!

  • Love the colors, and the pattern. Just beautiful!

  • Someday, the women of the world may discover that Lord Kitchener was smart enough to see a German Dutch woman weave her socks during the Boer War in South Africa, and ask how it was done.
    Since the Field Marshall had his troops with bloody toes from seamed socks…. The Field Marshall, who was a great social change agent in Egypt, was smart enough to teach the nurses in the military hospitals how to save his soldiers from such foot malady. BTW, he probably did know how to knit, growing up in Ireland.

  • I have read that Kitchener is not to be used for shoulders as it is not sturdy. I use 3 needle bind off. I think the Kitchener is a smoother finish.

    • Hi Ena! I typically like seamed sweaters, but in this case, the fit is so narrow that I really wanted the shoulder to be very smooth. This yarn, Noro Ito, is a sturdy heavy worsted weight, knit at a snug gauge, so I’m happy with how this thing has turned out.

  • The thing that always confused me about the Kitchener is that you’re already told to begin in the middle of the four step pattern. While Kitchenering 27 pink hats for the women’s march a few years ago I learn that you don’t have to do that; you can start with knit/off and it is perfectly fine. After doing the 27 hats in a limited amount of time, I can now probably Kitchener in my sleep. And I’m pretty sure that with the last few hats I was Kitchenering in my sleep.

  • I believe I learned from a Barbara Walker book on knitting back in 1968 and have never looked back. It was so sensible and works even on lace and other patterns. As you look at a stitch on your needle – you prepare the stitch by placing your needle thru it as if you are doing the opposite of what you want it to be; when you return to finish the stitch, you run your needle thru the way you wish the stitch to be.

    With plain knitting, your front knitting needle contains all knit stitches and the back knitting needle is all purls. If your/my yarn is coming from the front knitting needle, I/you start by connecting the two needles with the tapestry needle yarn by “preparing” the purl on the back knitting needle by passing the tapestry needle thru “as if to knit”,
    and then, return to the front stitch and “prepare” it by passing the tapestry needle thru it “as if to purl”.

    Now, return to the first stitch on the back knitting needle and “purl it off” w/ your threaded tapestry needle AND “prepare” the next knit stitch on the front needle by passing the tapestry needle thru “as if to purl”, the opposit of what the original stitch looks like.

    A. Moving to the back knitting needle, “purl off” the prepared stitch by passing tapestry needle thru “as if to purl” and “prepare” the next purl stitch on the back knitting needle by passing the tapestry needle thru “as if to knit”

    B. Return to front needle of knit stitches and repeat, using the tapestry needle, “knit off” the prepared stitch and “prepare” the next stitch by passing the tapestry needle thru “as if to purl”.

    Repeat Step A and then Step B.

    With a pattern, you may need to think a bit and practice, but you’ll quickly get the hang of things.

    • Thankyou for sharing this way of thinking! Kitchener stitch is another way of sewing the path of a knitted row 🙂

  • Beautiful sweater….thank you for all the information Ana comments. I love reading all the ways we come to the same finished projects using different methods.

  • Just a reminder about the Finchley Graft which you all shared with us a while ago. I’ve used it several times on mittens and socks _without looking it up_! It’s amazing, and as good as Kitchenering.

  • I always tell people to go into a lighted closet and do this.

  • such an attractive cardigan

  • as my grandmother used to say in germany: don’t interrupt me even if the pope calls. and the way i really learned forever: i didn’t finish i think 5 pairs of socks and then did them all at once with kitchener. that reinforced this method enough that no instructions are needed anymore.

  • Have you tried 3-needle bind off?

  • Thank you for Kitchener stitch help

  • A wee coo beastie! (Has anyone else read Wee Free Men?)

  • An absolute saviour of mine is the video of Patty Lyons!

  • You’re right about don’t look up/away when you’re doing the “K” stitch, lol. Even after countless socks, I keep my “eye on the prize.” (I have messed up once this past year on one sock…eh…it was for me so I didn’t care and no one will see it from a speeding car.)

  • Thanks for this and for the advice about avoiding distractions. You say to use a tapestry needle. Another name for what you call a tapestry needle is a bodkin which I’d love to encourage people to use. It’s such a great word!

  • Thank you! I did wonder if anyone ever used it outside of socks!

  • I learned a simple mantra for kitchener stitch. Starting on the “back” needle, or the needle furthest AWAY from your body, and think of the tip of the tapestry needle just like a knitting needle as it enters the stitch: it is simply: IN and OFF, OUT and ON. Which can translate to Purl OFF, KNIT ON. Do this on the back needle, and then go to the Front needle.

  • Ann, you are so funny. I love reading your articles!

  • Those are the most perfect bobbles! I’m curious what method you used. I have such a hard time making them uniform.

  • Absolutely gorgeous sweater–love the bobbles, and your Kitchener stitching is “on fleek” as they say nowadays. I believe the coo approves. 🙂

    • I like to Kitchner with a knitting needle. I find it much more intuitive and it looks more even as I’m doing it, at least to me! The chant is a bit different. Very Pink, among others, has a YouTube video.

  • Very helpful video, thank you! The Little Knittery is where I fell in love with Noro as well. I love that shop. I cant wait to pay a visit when I visit LA in May.

  • I know I’m an oddball, but I love to graft stitches. I do it by sight, as the word mnemonics don’t actually make sense to me. So I just send the needle in or out as needed to make it look like a stitch. I’ve even grafted cables (for a cabled bracelet), although I really can’t have any interaction with the outside world when I’m needing to change from a knit stitch to a purl stitch on the graft!

  • Could you use a three needle bind off? I love that manoeuvre!

  • But how would you instruct someone to do it? I’ve tried following the instructions in several books, have sat with friends who told me they knew how to do it…and still I avoid it like the plague due to no success. How is it done?