Friday, August 17, 2012

Socks and the Kitchener Stitch Demystified

 In an earlier post I talked about trying my hand at a pair of socks.  I’ve finally finished the second sock.  (Yes, I am a procrastinator.)   When I made the first sock I inadvertently changed the pattern during the toe decreases.  The first sock does not look nearly as nice as the second sock.  You can see below how one sock has a definite point (see the picture showing both socks).  Both socks have a pointy toe when not worn.  That will teach me to pay attention to my pattern and that as much as I hate having to rip out-sometimes it is the best plan.  I am going to leave the first sock alone.  No going back to fix my rather obvious mistake.  It will serve as a good reminder of what I've learned.  

The Kitchener stitch, sometimes called grafting, is how this pattern and many others close the toe of a sock.  I’ve also used the Kitchener stitch when seaming together a shoulder for a sweater.   This stitch scares a lot of people.  They think it’s confusing and complicated.  It’s really not that bad.  There are a lot of great educational videos and blogs out there to explain how to complete a Kitchener stitch.  Try one or a few of them to help you get over your “mental block”.  Nothing is stopping you from accomplishing anything in this world except yourself.

The basic instructions are not difficult to understand.  You need an equal number of live stitches on two needles-held together.  Have the live yarn on the back right side with a tapestry needle attached.  You have to prepare the first set of stitches by taking the tapestry needle and going through the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl then going through the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit.  (Make sure the yarn does not add an extra loop on the front needle.)

Now you are ready to begin.  Using the tapestry needle go through the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit and slip that stitch off the needle.  Then take the tapestry needle through the next stitch on the front needle as if to purl.  Next go through the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl and slip the stitch off.  Then go through the next stitch on the back needle as if to knit.  Continue following this pattern until all of the stitches have been worked.  (Needle one-as if to knit, slip off, next stitch as if to purl.  Needle two- as if to purl, slip stitch off, next stitch as if to knit).  Weave in the end and you are done.

If you are unable to understand the process by reading an explanation and following written instructions try using a video tutorial.  I like The Knit Witch’s on YouTube.   If you’ve tried written instructions and videos and still find yourself unable to use the Kitchener I suggest taking a look at a blog called Techknitting.  This blog has wonderful instructions for just about anything knitting related.  Techknitting has come up with an alternative method of the Kitchener stitch using knitting needles rather than a tapestry needle. 

Try something that you’ve been challenged with before and let go of any fears or mental blocks.  You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

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