Kitchener Basic – Stocking Stitch

button for patreon

All of the free patterns and tutorials on this website are supported by my amazing Patreons! If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to continue to produce or host freebies. We’d love to have you join us and in return, you get exclusive behind-the-scenes material, member-only discounts and early access to new free content. Membership starts at $1 per month. You can also say thanks for the freebie via the Tip Jar.

The most common type of Kitchener stitch, or grafting, is for stocking stitch. In fact, many knitters believe grafting is for stocking stitch only, yet it is easily adaptable to other stitches – please see my ‘Kitchener Stitch Analysis’ tutorial for a more in-depth look at how to graft other stitch combinations.

This tutorial is an extract from my first book, ‘Going Straight – A New Generation of Knitted Hats’, a book which contains Kitchener or other grafting instructions for eight different combinations, including reverse stocking stitch, garter stitch, reverse garter stitch, combining stocking stitch and garter in one graft and much more!

Below are the four basic steps for Kitchener stitch. To prepare for grafting, we need to ensure that our stitches are held together and parallel on the needles, with right sides of the work facing out.

When we graft, we work first on the front needle and then on the back needle. It’s quite important to remember to stop after step 4 should you need to have a break or tighten up the slack, so that you can start again at a convenient point. Whenever I teach this technique, the most common problem that occurs is stopping mid way through the 4-step process, which causes confusion for the knitter.

To start the graft and create the beginning selvedge edge, work steps 2 and 4 once. Then work steps 1 to 4 until all stitches have been grafted, then finish with steps 1 and 3.

1) Stitch 1, front needle – insert the needle knitwise, pull the yarn through, then slip the stitch off the needle.
2) Stitch 2, front needle – insert the needle purlwise, pull the yarn through, but leave the stitch on the needle.
3) Stitch 3, back needle – insert the needle purlwise, pull the yarn through, then slip the stitch off the needle.
4) Stitch 4, back needle – insert the needle knitwise, pull the yarn through, but leave the stitch on the needle.
5) Graft prior to taking up slack (that is, prior to tightening)
6) Finished graft after slack has been taken up.

Other helpful tips to ensure your graft goes smoothly

Try to take up the slack (that is, tighten your stitches) every 5 to 10 stitches. Leaving this until the end will likely cause problems with your tension and cause the graft to look uneven. When taking up the slack, do it slowly, stitch by stitch – don’t try pulling from the end, as this will tighten some stitches and not others and may even cause your yarn to break!

Always remember to start on the front needle first. If your working yarn is on the front needle, slip it through the base of the first stitch on the back needle, to ensure it connects correctly when starting the graft.

A quick way to remember stocking stitch grafting method is this:

(front): knit off, purl on; (back) purl off, knit on


As always, if you have a question about this technique or need some help with it, leave a comment below! I’m afraid I’m unable to offer help via email or private message, but you’re welcome to post in our forum.


Print This!

If you’d like to print this free tutorial, either use the ‘Print’ button below or right-click in your browser, adjust the settings to suit your needs, and select ‘Save as PDF’ for a digital copy, or your printer for a paper copy. You can use the scale option to reduce or enlarge the font.

Woolly Wormhead

Woolly Wormhead is an internationally reknowned knit designer, specialising in Hats, technique and construction. Their patterns and techniques have been used by thousands of knitters worldwide. Join The Woolly Hat Society to be the first to learn of their latest projects and special offers!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *