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Knitting: Kitchener Stitch

Setting up the stitches

Many knitters know Kitchener Stitch as “that complicated seam that looks just like knit stitches”. It is also referred to as “weaving stitches together” or “grafting stitches together”. Whatever we call it, the process allows knitters to join two pieces of knitting invisibly, with a seam that is as smooth and elastic as the rest of the knitted item.


Kitchener Stitch is used most often to close the toes of socks knitted from the top down. It can also be used to join scarves into circles or Moebius strips, and Elizabeth Zimmermann uses Kitchener Stitch to close the underarms of her circular knit sweater designs.

The origin of the name Kitchener Stitch is a mystery. There was a General Kitchener in the British military during World War 1, but how he became associated with a knitting technique is unknown.

Because Kitchener Stitch is used most often on socks, instructions for the technique are in virtually any book on how to knit socks. It can also be found online, and in some knitting software. Kitchener Stitch – Knit Suite is an iPhone and iPod Touch application with an excellent Kitchener Stitch tutorial. The steps are a bit complicated, but not difficult, and it helps to have the instructions close at hand.

One important tip when working Kitchener stitch is to match the tension of the seam with that of the surrounding stitches. I leave the seam stitches a bit loose at first, then tighten them up later with the tip of my yarn needle.

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