RULES FOR GRAFTING

Confession: I love grafting.  There’s something magical about using a needle to create stitches and end up with  a seamless join between two pieces of fabric.

But, I know grafting can be intimidating.  Reading directions for grafting with all it’s “Prep as if to purl, work as if to knit” can get confusing.

​In my latest video I demonstrate an actual graft I do and talk though my thought process for figuring out any grafting situation.   Below I describe my rules for thinking through any grafting situation.
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Rule 1:  Know Where Your Purls Bumps Are Going

When grafting you enter into each stitch twice:
1st to Prep as if to Knit or Purl
2nd to Work as if to Knit or Purl

To know how to prep the stitch you first have to understand how you need to work the stitch. 

What distinguishes  a purl stitch from a knit stitch is whether the purl bump is pushed toward you when knitting or away from you:

Knit stitches push the purl bump away from you to the back of the fabric
Purl stitches push the purl bump toward you to the front of the fabric.

When live stitches are sitting on the needle they are in a neutral position.  But, knitting into those live stitches, the purl bump gets pushed either to the right side of the fabric or the wrong side of the fabric.  The same is true when grafting.  So, the first question to ask yourself is which side of the fabric will the purl bumps be when I complete the graft?

​On garter stitch the pattern goes, purl bumps, knit bumps, purl bumps.  On needle one and two, there were purl bumps underneath the needle which meant I needed a row of knit stitches between them.  This meant that I needed the purl bumps on both needles to go to the wrong side of the fabric.
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Rule 2: Know What You’re Looking At

Knowing where you want your purl bumps is important. But, how you get them there, either by mimicking purl stitches or knit stitches, will be determined by what side of the fabric you are actually looking at.  Knit stitches cause purl bumps to move to the back of the work away from you and purl stitches cause the purl bumps to move to the front of the work toward you.

If you’re looking at the public side of the work and want purl bumps on the wrong side, you want to weave the yarn to mimic knit stitches.  If you’re looking at the public side and want purl bumps on the public side you will mimic purl stitches. ​ 

All of this is in reverse if looking at the wrong side of the fabric.

It’s important to remember if, like me, you hold the needles parallel to each other with right sides facing, the the side of the fabric facing you on Needle 1 and Needle 2 will be different.  So, how you enter the stitches on Needle 1 will be different than Needle 2.

Rule 3: Prep Opposite What You Work

Remember each stitch is entered into twice.  
1st to Prep as if to Knit or Purl
2nd to Work as if to Knit or Purl

​Step 2 is what will eventually push your purl bump to the side of the fabric you want.  But, before you can work the stitch as if to Purl or Knit and take the stitch off the needle, you need to prep the stitch.  When you prep opposite of what you work.  So it’s either

Prep as if to Knit
Work as if to Purl

Work as if to Purl 
Prep as it to Knit

Once you know which of the two you will do for an individual stitch you’re ready to start grafting.

Note: When prepping the stitch you leave the stitch on the needle. Stitches come off the needle when working the stitch.


Rule 4:   Prep before you Work

Starting the Graft can look tricky, but if your remember Rule 4 you’ll always know how to start.   When starting a Graft there are no prepped stitches. So you will need to prep the first stitch on Needle 1 and Needle 2 to get started. ​

Rule 5: Know the Grafting Dance

Once the first stitch on Needle 1 and the first stitch on Needle 2 are prepped you are ready to follow the Grafting Dance. 

Step 1: Work as if to …. and take the stitch off the needle. 
Step 2: Prep as if to… the next stitch on the needle
Step 3: Move to the other needle
Step 4: Repeat 1-3


Rule 6: Ending the Graft you must prep, working is optional

When grafting every stitch will need to be prepped. But, the last stitch on Needle 1 & 2 do not necessarily have to be worked.  It’s up to you whether you want to:

– Only prep the last sttich
– Prep and Work 1 stitch while leaving the other stitch only Prepped
– Prep and Work Both stitches


I hope this helps you understand how to think your way through grafting.  If you have any questions please comment either here or on the YouTube Channel.  Or join me every Sunday at 11:00 am Pacific for Knit Tea Live! 

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