Memorize the Kitchener Stitch

By Kay Gardiner
August 1, 2019

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92 Comments
  • OMG! Thank you! I have watched Kitchener stitch videos many times but this is the first one that really makes sense. I can do this. One more vote for Lorilee!

  • “The front is all knit”, so simple and such a clever thing to point out!
    Now I need to think of another useful tattoo…

  • This is the best thing ever! Can’t believe it’s really that simple!

    • Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! This is life-changing for my sock misadventures and proves my long-held belief that knowledge IS power. Once a woman knows WHY and HOW something is done, she has the power to do it on her own forever. WOW!!!

  • Mnever again.

    • This is truly brilliant. I can’t wait to try it. Knitters are incredible.

  • I tell everyone I know about Lorilee Beltman! I may start knitting more cuff-down socks just so I can show off.

  • Well that’s a darn good explanation! For me it took knitting about 25 pairs of socks before I could actually remember how to Kitchener stitch. And to think all I had to do instead was to find this video!

  • Wow! Genius! Thank you for sharing the video, Kay!

  • I discovered Lorilee’s amazing video years ago and stashed it in a safe place for the day when I had a burning desire to knit socks. Which hasn’t come yet. But I did need to graft a short piece of something else one day and found that after several years I needed to go back to Lorilee’s video for a quick refresher course, so practice this several times right away (or become a major sock knitter immediately) or you may forget even this brilliant mnemonic. For reinforcement (also stashed) there is a similar video using fatter yarn and needles at the original Knitting Help.Com. I like to view both of these – Lorilee’s for the perfect verbal and then KnittingHelp’s for the larger visual when I need the refresher. Ain’t the Internet grand??

  • I learned the basis of this method from Joan Schrouder, a great knitting teacher. But Lorilee’s ending is slightly different–just slipping the last two stitches and then running the yarn through– and I love it!

  • I just spent an hour finishing a sweater with Kitchener yesterday. This video would have been tremendously helpful. I am so happy to have it in my tool box now!

  • That is beautiful! It feels like a REASON for all the steps in the Kitchener stitch! And the idea to pop the first stitch off and then immediately pick up the next stitch before pulling through is perfect. I have to finish that sock…I’m so excited to try this!

  • Well, if that ain’t life changing! Thanks 😀

  • Thanks so much!! Love this post! ❤️

    • This is great! Thanks for posting it. Am I the only person who enjoys Kitchener stitch?

      • I enjoy it NOW….

      • Nope. I love it. Makes me feel like a much better knitter than I really am.

  • Thank you so much for this! I remember my first attempt at the Kitchner stitch. I almost gave up knitting socks. I have a slight form of dyslexia and I struggled with the written explanation, so much so that started crying in frustration. I persisted and the toe was closed, eventually. However, it looked like a dog had chewed the toe and someone did a poor job of mending.

  • Although I have never had a problem remembering how to Kitchener, I watched the video anyway just to see if there was something new to me. I never have done the “second half set up”. Is there a reason for it? Learned my technique from a book many years ago, but it never mentioned the set up?

    • I’m no Kitchener expert by any means but every version I’ve seen has the set-up for the first two stitches.

    • I read an article once about eliminating the “ears” at each end of a grafted seam. It suggested skipping the set up for kitchner. I tried it and I haven’t worked the set up since 🙂

  • Up until last week I couldn’t stand this method and couldn’t do it without constantly looking at the giant printout that I have hanging here on the wall above my laptop with the instructions. Then, for some odd reason that totally surprises me, while finishing a baby hoodie, my brain caught on. Now, all is right with me and the Kitchener Stitch. We’re friends now.

  • I have students who live in fear of the kitchener stitch. Just last night there was one who had set aside a project for weeks until she could come to class for kitchener help. I am going to share this! Thanks.

  • I am so excited by this!!! I have the same struggle and in fact have an entire sweater that I grafted 2 additional inches to the length and it is jut waiting to have it kitchenered back together. An entire sweater body..in fingering…knit on size 3… Your timing in sharing this is perfectly brilliant! Thank you!

  • Glory hallelujah!!!! Lorilee is an angel!! I feel so smart and dumb all at the same time.

    • Exactly how I feel: smart and dumb, humbled and happy.

  • WHOA. This is fantastic .. set up … pop it off, pivot! And just look at your stripey sock perfection. How satisfying.

  • I suddenly wished I had some garment waiting to be Kitchenered! This is brilliant.

  • It took me a while to memorize the kitchener and carried a post-it printed with the steps around with me for months. Then just yesterday I learned of the Finchley Graft. Amazing!

  • This is amazing!!! She points out the obvious (knit stitch, purl stitch) and it just clicked in my brain. It was a ‘how did I not see this before’ moment. Brilliant! Another vote for Lorilee Beltman!

  • A portrait in every LYS? This women needs a statue! After making 20 pairs of socks, I pretty much had it memorized, but it would take me a few minutes to access the information from the grey matter and muttering to myself as I finished a toe. “The front is all knit”! Pivoting! I’m all a twitter!

    • Yes! Upgrade Lorilee to a monument!

  • My sister told me she starts each day by reading your posts – now I do too, and I’m so glad! They crack me up, and I always learn something. This video was fantastic! I can do Kitchener, but I’ve always struggled – not anymore! Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you! I have been kitchenering for many years, and have to look it up every time! I have about 27 sticky notes in various places – I’m disappointed I never thought of getting a tattoo, but now I don’t need to!!

  • To eliminate the ears at the ends of Kitchenered toes, make only a half stitch at each end by skipping the set up and the second pass through at the finish. This also makes it even easier to memorize.
    This skipping the set up is one of the technique suggestions in this MDK posting https://www.masondixonknitting.com/techniques-depth-socks-without-ears/

    • Cracking up…
      I was sitting here thinking, “I know I’ve read about this somewhere.”

      • There’s just a lot to keep track of! I haven’t had the “ears” problem on my toes so I just do my Kitchener exactly as in Lorilee’s video.

  • This is excellent! I’ve had Kitchener memorized, but always lost my place in where I was in the sequence (KIDS! STOP TALKING TO ME RIGHT NOW!) and therefore always put the task off. Now I have about 8 sock toes that I need to go tackle…

  • Dang, girl! It took me about 15 pairs of socks to memorize the Kitchener stitch! Now (approximately 18 squizillion pairs later) I could do it if I was comatose – but on sock #5? I absolutely still had to look it up. Good for you, and all hail Lorilee Beltman!

  • I’ve been doing Kitchener for years, but I loved her simple and clear instructions and suggestions.
    Knitter friends, when we start to see the Fall chill arrive, remember we can also use this for the tops of mittens! Is there a mitten frenzy in our future?

  • Brilliant! I have done dozens of kitchener toes over the past 15 years and this is the first video that made me remember (I can’t do mnemonic devices either). I have a kitchener keychain that I hang my scissors from, a tool box with the instructions pasted on the front and even have a page of instructions pinned in my phone. Thank you!!

  • Isn’t it wonderful? I have no idea why this works, but it worked for me the first time (several years ago) and I have never had to look it up again. NEVER! And I knit a whole lotta socks. She’s a genius.

    • Excellent! Works for my mnemonic-averse brain. Now if I could only remember how to save articles to my MDK account without looking it up every time. 🙂

  • I happen to love Kitchener Stitch. I just learned a new bind off
    The Finchley Graft. VERY EASY. U tube has a video.
    Kay….Paula K is coming to Fire Island tomorrow. Getting the G and T’s ready.

    • Yes, I saw the Finchley Graft as an alternative to Kitchener on Rox Rocks’ youTube channel (Roxanne Richardson) She is another wealth of Knitting information. As I remember she has a method for garter stitch in the round, Kay, if you are doing any more Honey cowls .

  • Brilliant! I also like Ann Budd’s video on Bluprint (I hate that name, why couldn’t they leave well enough alone?). But I really like this one. However, the socks I’m knitting are toe up using Judy’s magic cast on, another brilliant move, with a short row heel. I’ve never knitted cuff down, maybe the next pair.

    • Haha your comment made me laugh. I feel the same way. I also hate the name Bluprint. They should have left it as Craftsy.
      When I see that my brain reads Blup-Rint.

  • This is genius!

  • Everything is clear now!!! In the past I could never do it without looking it up, hiding myself away from all distractions, and hoping I didn’t lose my way. Now that I understand the reason for each of the 4 steps I will be able to Kitchener anywhere, anytime.

    I can’t believe that I’ve never seen this video before. Her explanation is so easy to follow and remember. Thanks for sharing this, Kay.

    I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Lorilee at the KnitSocial knitting retreat on Galiano Island BC last October where she taught us some of her wonderful techniques. She is an incredible instructor! She provided clear instructions for both Continental and English knitters, was endlessly patient, kind, and just plain fun. I was delighted to eat, drink, and knit with her for the weekend. If you can ever attend one of her workshops in person, do it!

    PS – as a Canadian I can’t vote for your president but if I could I would choose Lorilee.

  • Blushing…

    • Also, even better, you taught me Judy’s Magic cast-on in a way that I never have to look it up! You’re an awesome teacher and I’ve bought all your Craftsy classes and many of your patterns just to try to thank you. You have a generous spirit and a great sense of humor. 😉 So happy to be knitting in the age of Lorilee!

      • Wait, what? Is there a video of that? Would love to not have to look it up each time I do that cast-on! I checked Lorilee’s YouTube page & only see the cast-on for that cool mitten of hers.

        Ahem, Lorilee: We need a JMC video. 🙂

        • It’s in my class “New Beginnings with the Magic Cast On” at Bluprint. I teach so you can do it any way to suit you whether you are conventional knitter, combination, or mirror-image lefty. It’s my fav class I have there. People are surprised to learn all you can do with it.

  • Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this.

  • Thank you Lorilee and Kay. You are both wonderful!!!

  • Making multiple Pussyhats in 2016/17 made me (a) memorize the Kitchener stitch as well as (b) made me see it and understand how it worked.
    Doubt I will ever forget it now!

    • (Or you can start at the top with Magic cast on, work in the round, bind off. No seam. No grafting,)

  • O … M … G!!! This is TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!!!!

  • If you can not remember put on card in luggage tag and tie to your knitting bag. 4 rows 1. Set up (leave): Purl front,knit back 2.Front:K off,P leave. 3.Back:P off,K leave. Repeat last 2 rows.

  • Oh My God! Thank you. I have done the Kitchener stitch several times but always with the instructions open. The way she explains it makes so much sense.

  • Yay!!! Thank you for posting this!!!

  • Now I finally understand the set up stitches. That’s the part I could never remember.

  • next up BSJ video

  • This is what I have to look up every time: how to save an article! Thanks for repeating the links 🙂

  • Oh, dear. Kay has now memorized the Kitchener stitch. She’ll be Kitchenering everything in sight! Someone keep an eye on her! (Great video, BTW!)

  • This is the best explanation I’ve ever seen for kitchener stitch! Thank you Lorilee!

  • Brilliant!!! Thanks to Lorilee Beltman!

  • Big kudos for working the Rule Against Perpetuities into a blog post!

  • Real easy to follow

  • I love it..Love it…Thanks Lorilee !!

  • I will have to see if Lorilee Beltman’s method works for me, though I am slightly tempted by the thought of an obscene-sounding K OFF P ON P OFF K ON knitter’s tattoo. I also love the Henry V references, but it bugs me that I could only think of the three older kids’ names from The Partridge Family. Keith, Lori and Danny, of course. I can see the little faces of Peter? and maybe Suzanne?, but don’t know if these are their character names, real names, or just something I made up!

  • Okay, I looked the last two Partridge Family kids’ names, and discovered that I was maybe…one quarter? correct. There were two child actors who played the youngest son, Chris. Tracy was the younger daughter, and she was played by Suzanne Crough, who I was dismayed to discover died in 2015, aged only 52.

  • Kay – there may be a problem if you leave this helpful bit of knitting wisdom in trust to someone whose contingent interest does not vest, if at all, until more than 21 years after the lifetime of all current lives in being. The rule against perpetuities is always lurking out there, ruining the potential transfers of these types of property.

  • This is so useful! I once kitchenered the body of an Icelandic lopeysa because my husband wanted it to be 2 inches shorter (it was a completed bottom up sweater, with stranding at the hem)!! I spent the whole time with my nose in an instruction book-this would have made the job a lot easier!

  • OH yes! A truely neat little piece of wisdom. Thank you very much.

  • okay this is awesome and now I want to test out how it works if I’m kitchenering in pattern…

  • That. Was. BRILLIANT!

  • Yes! I am about to Kitchener some toes up! This is a perfect way to remember… by understanding what you are trying to accomplish ..like reading your knitting! So great!!

  • Omg, I have a sock waiting for its partner to be finished because I didn’t want to bother to look up Kitchener stitch twice! Now I only have to spend a while picking up stitches that have fallen off the needles during its months in waiting. Thank you, thank you. Now onwards and upwards to save – learning all the time!

  • WOW
    Amazing how something as simple as directions that that remind you that each side is a 2 step process is all it takes to make knitters say “OH! Now I get it”- We knit lace, patterns, stranded and all other matter of complicated patterns and fall to our knees with the Kitchener- Thank you Lori and MDK

  • Genius!! Thank you so much for this!

  • I’m going to follow this video today as I bind of my first ever completed pair of cuff down socks!!

  • Why???

  • Great video. Lorilee is an excellent instructor. Anyone who gets a chance to take a class from her…do it!

  • Well that was brilliant! I have knitted sooo many socks, but I must admit I have been doing toe-up for a while now because I can never quite remember how to Kitchener, without a visual nudge… The most helpful was the set up: do the second half of what you do on the rest of your toes = brilliance personified!
    Thanks soooo much for sharing!
    IPY

  • Love this! Also, this is the second time in 2 days I have seen a reference to the Rule Against Perpetuities. I still remember it, too, though I don’t think I have applied it since the bar exam!

  • Game changer! Thanks so much for sharing Lorilee’s video

  • Thank you! t*h*a*n*k y*o*u !! THANK YOU !! Yes, you deserve all those thanks and more. I’m saving this video so I can watch it again. LOL

  • Brilliant. What ever will I do about the tattoo, though?

  • Thank you so much for sharing. I just used this video and graft my mitten. It’s really logical.

  • I heartily concur with my learned colleague . Her video gave me the courage to try Kitchener stitch – and the way she looks at it, it’s so easy! I have loved kitchener-ing ever since. I, too, bow to her and give her my heartfelt thanks!