If we are not careful when we use Kitchener stitch to graft fabric made in garter stitch, we can end up with a seam that forms a wide “valley” between two garter stitch ridges.
The seam will still keep the fabric joined, but this little disruption of the garter stitch pattern will make the seam visible, like a subtle scar on your project. Not the best outcome, right? The good news is that we can easily make the seam perfectly invisible when we do a bit of planning.
We should stop knitting one of the pieces that we plan to graft right after we finish a wrong side row – a row that forms a garter ridge on the right side of the work, and we should stop knitting the other piece after we finish a right side row.
To make sure the pieces of fabric are ready for seaming, turn each piece so that the right side of the work faces you, and pull the fabric down. You shouldn’t see any stitches between the needle and the last garter ridge on one piece (photo A), and you should see them on the other piece (photo B).
The make the seam, we’ll follow two simple steps that are very similar to the steps we do when we use Kitchener stitch to join fabric in stockinette stitch.
If you are a visual learner, click here to watch these steps in a video tutorial, or simply scroll to the bottom of this page to watch the embedded version of the video.
With the right side of the work facing you, arrange the pieces horizontally on a flat surface so that the piece with the garter ridge right underneath the needle is at the bottom. The working yarn of one of this piece and the tips of both needles should be at the right side of the work.
Because the garter stitch looks the same on both sides of the work, I marked the right side of each piece with a marker.
Cut the yarn on the piece at the bottom leaving a tail that is at least three times as long as the length of the future seam. I usually measure the length of the seam four times before I cut the yarn, especially when I use thicker yarn. This way, I know for sure that I won’t run out of yarn before I finish the seam.
Cut the working yarn on the other piece of the fabric leaving a tail that is just long enough to weave it in.
Thread the long tail into a wool needle.
In this tutorial, I’ll use yarn in a contrasting colour as my long tail to help you better see how the seam is formed. Of course, in most cases, we would use yarn in the same colour as the fabric, especially if we want the seam to be invisible.
Insert the wool needle from right to left into the first stitch of the piece at the bottom and into the first stitch of the piece at the top.
Slip both stitches off the knitting needles.
Pull the yarn through, but don’t pull it too tight. The strand between the two stitches should be as long as one leg of an average stitch of the fabric.
Insert the wool needle from front to back into the first stitch of the piece at the bottom. We’ll call this stitch a “current stitch” because it is a stitch that we’ve already started adding to the seam.
Then insert the wool needle from back to front into the second stitch of the same piece. This is the “next stitch”.
Slip this stitch off the knitting needle.
Pull the yarn through so that the strand between the two pieces is about as long as one leg of an average stitch.
When you look at the first two stitches of the piece at the bottom, you will see that we inserted the wool needle IN the current stitch and OUT of the next stitch.
In this step, we’ll join stitches of the other piece, and this time, we’ll do the opposite movement to the one described in the previous step.
Insert the wool needle from back to front into the current stitch of the piece at the top, and from front to back into the next stitch of the same piece.
Slip the second stitch off the knitting needle.
Pull the yarn through so that the strand between the top and bottom pieces is about as long as an average stitch.
As you see, now we inserted the wool needle OUT of the current stitch and IN the next stitch.
That’s how simple it is. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you take all stitches off the knitting needles.
Remember to insert the wool needle into each stitch twice – once when this stitch is a “next stitch”, and the other time when it becomes “the current stitch”.
When all stitches are joined and you only have one “current” stitch left on each piece, make an extra stitch to join the last stitches.
Then secure the yarn and weave in the tails.
When we make this seam with the yarn in the same colour as the project, the seam is absolutely invisible on both sides of the work. If not for the tail, it would be hard to tell where the fabric is joined on the swatch featured in the photo below.
You can use this seaming technique to join pieces of any project. No one will ever guess where the seam is even if the project is fully reversible like a cowl or a shawl.
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.
Dealing with Unfinished Projects
Dictionary of Knitting Symbols and Abbreviations – E-Book
Eastern (Russian) Knitting Simplified
Knitting Collection #6
Simple Socks in Any Size with Any Yarn
Top-Down Hat in Any Size with Any Yarn