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5 Grafting Myths: MYTH #3 (Part 2)

Nov 14, 2013

 

In the last post, we saw that two pattern rows are created when two sets of live stitches are grafted together, even though only one physical row is added. This means that if you are grafting a stitch pattern that changes from row to row you must allow for two pattern rows if you want the grafting to look continuous. In this post, we'll look at how this would work when grafting a pattern such as this simple lace pattern  top-to-bottom.


                                 


The swatch on the left looks as if it's been worked in one continuous piece, but it is actually made up of two separate pieces that have been grafted together in the center.



The yarn tails at the left side of the swatch indicate the location of the grafted row. Believe it or not, grafting this lace pattern so that it looks continuous wasn't much more difficult than if I'd used "regular" grafting. It just took a little planning. Here is the process, step-by-step:

 

Choose two consecutive chart rows for the grafting: the lower row for the grafting on the front needle and the upper row for the grafting on the back needle. For my swatch, I chose Row 1 for the front needle graft and Row 2 for the back needle graft because I wanted the more complex grafting maneuvers (decreases and yarn overs) to fall on the front needle (with the stitches facing me).

Cast on using a provisional method. I like to use the crochet chain provisional cast-on. Using contrasting waste yarn, I make a chain that is a few stitches longer than the number of stitches I need to cast on (Figure 1). Then with the working yarn, I pick up the stitches in the back of the chain (Figure 2). This row of working yarn loops does not count as a pattern row (yet); it forms the base of the pattern row that will be completed when the grafting yarn is drawn through the loops on the back needle (Row 2 of our sample pattern). You can also work the chain directly onto the needle (called a chain-edge CO), but if you do this, make sure to knit a row with the working yarn before working the first pattern row. The cast-on isn't complete until the working yarn stitches are on the needle. If you use the chain-edge method, do not work in pattern over the stitches of the chain. There's no point to doing this because as soon as you remove the waste yarn chain, any knit or purl stitches you've worked will disappear and you'll simply have live loops. Moreover, working a combination of knit and purl stitches across the chain just makes it more difficult to remove the chain because it will be twisted around the picked-up stitches at each transition between a knit and purl stitch.

Figure 1    Figure 2   

Once the stitches have been cast on, it is time to start the pattern. Since Rows 1 and 2 have been designated for grafting the lace pattern and the loops for Row 2 are the stitches picked up in the chain, the first pattern row worked should be Row 3. When the piece is the desired length, end with the pattern row that comes just before the row designated for the front needle graft (in our case, we need to end with Row 4). 

Remove the waste yarn chain and place the provisional cast-on stitches onto the knitting needle. The loops that will be placed on the needle are the running threads between the stitches that were picked up in the chain and should be very visible if you used a contrasting yarn for the chain (Figure 3). Because these loops are situated between the working loops on the needle, there will be one fewer of them than the number of stitches that were cast on. 

  
Figure 3

When I graft a stitch pattern top-to-bottom and want to make sure the stitches on the front needle line up perfectly with the stitches on the back needle, I also pick up a half loop at the edge opposite the edge where the cast-on tail is located. (Figure 4)

 
Figure 4

 

Then I create another half loop at the cast-on tail edge by drawing the tail through an edge stitch and to the wrong side of the work (Figures 5 and 6). You can read more about this here in Myth #2.

 Figure 5  Figure 6

 

For the sample swatch, I cast on 25 stitches. There were 24 cast-on loops available to place onto the needle (25 minus 1), plus the two half loops at the edges made a total of 26 loops (Figure 7).

 
Figure 7

 

 Now it's time to graft the stitches. When I graft a stitch pattern other than Stockinette stitch or garter stitch, I make a cheat sheet using the chart for the stitch pattern: 

 
The lace pattern is a multiple of 6 stitches, plus 7, so the smallest number of boxes over which the pattern could be charted is 13. I draw 13 boxes to represent the live loops on the front needle (FN).
Then I draw boxes to represent the live loops on the back needle (BN) on top of the first row of boxes. Because the loops on the back needle are offset by a half-stitch from the loops on the front needle and there is one fewer whole loop, I draw 12 boxes. Then I draw a half box at each side, one to represent each half loop at the edge. I use a dotted line for the back needle loops to differentiate them from the front needle loops.
  I then draw a box for each grafted stitch that will join a single loop on the front needle with two half loops on the back needle.
Next, I mark the position of the six-stitch repeat, one stitch in from the right side of the chart, just like the stitch chart for the lace pattern.

I add the stitch symbols for those two chart rows, using shaded boxes instead of dots for the purl symbols on Row 2.
I add the purlwise (P) and knitwise (K) direction for grafting each stitch on the front needle, working from right to left. Each knit stitch gets a "p" then a "k", as does each decrease symbol (which are grafted just like knit stitches, except you go through two stitches, instead of one). I skip the boxes with the yarn over symbols because those steps will simply be skipped when the front needle stitches are grafted.
I do the same thing with the boxes on the top row that represent the back needle grafting. Again working from right to left, each grafted knit stitch gets a "p" then a "k", except in this case the purlwise and knitwise steps will be worked in two separate half loops, instead of a single loop as on the front needle. The box representing the grafted purl stitch at each edge gets a "k" then a "p", the opposite of a grafted knit stitch.

The cheat sheet is ready to follow. Each grafted stitch follows the same path:
1. Through the stitch on the front needle, leave the stitch on the needle.
2. Through the first stitch on the back needle, remove the stitch from the needle.
3. Through the next stitch on the back needle, leave the stitch on the needle.
4. Through the stitch on the front needle, remove the stitch from the needle.

To graft yarn overs on the front needle, Steps 1 and 4 are simply skipped and you just work the steps on the back needle (Steps 2 and 3). The decreases are grafted just like knit stitches, except that you go through two stitches at a time (first rearranging the stitches for the ssk so that the stitches will be oriented correctly).

Here are the written steps for grafting the lace pattern and how they relate to the steps on the cheat sheet:

Step 1: Pwise through st on FN, leave.
Step 2: Kwise through st on BN, remove.
Step 3: Pwise through next st on BN, leave.
Step 4: Kwise through st on FN, remove.
*Step 5: Skip step on FN and go to next step on BN.
Step 6: Pwise through st on BN, remove.

Step 7: Kwise through next st on BN, leave.
Step 8: Skip step on FN and go to next step on FN.
Step 9: With tapestry needle, sl 2 sts on FN kwise, one at a time, then return the sts to left needle in new positions.
Insert tapestry needle pwise through first 2 sts on left needle (from back to front into 2nd st, then into first st), leave.
Step 10: Pwise through st on BN, remove.
Step 11: Kwise through next st on BN, leave.
Step 12: Kwise through 2 sts on FN (from front to back through first st, then 2nd st), remove.
Step 13: Pwise through st on FN, leave.
Step 14: Pwise through st on BN, remove.
Step 15: Kwise through next st on BN, leave.
Step 16: Kwise through st on FN, remove.

Step 17: Pwise through first 2 sts on FN (from back to front through first st, then 2nd st), leave.
Step 18: Pwise through st on BN, remove.

Step 19: Kwise through next st on BN, leave.
Step 20: Kwise through 2 sts on FN (from front to back through 2nd st, then first st), remove.
Steps 21-24: Rep Steps 5-8.
Steps 25-28: Rep Steps 13-16.
Rep from * (Steps 5-28) until 6 sts rem on FN and 7 sts rem on BN.
Steps 29-32: Rep Steps 5-8.
Steps 33-36: Rep Steps 9-12.
Steps 37-40: Rep Steps 13-16.
Steps 41-44: Rep Steps 17-20.
Steps 45-48: Rep Steps 5-8.
Steps 49-52: Rep Steps 1-4.


When six stitches remain on the front needle and seven stitches remain on the back needle, work the last six stitches of the grafting chart.


          

 

Some knitters like to knit a few rows of the pattern with contrasting yarn and then follow the path of the stitches to graft the stitches together, rather than grafting live stitches from the needles. If you prefer this method, it will still be necessary to know which chart rows to work in relation to the waste yarn rows. For the upper swatch, I cast on with waste yarn and worked a few rows, ending with Row 1. I then changed to the working yarn and continued the pattern from Row 2. Note that this is the same row that I allotted for the back-needle graft in the example above. A row worked over a row of waste yarn is not a true pattern row because as soon as the waste yarn is removed, the loops will no longer intersect with loops below them. Working Row 2 over the waste yarn is simply creating a template for tracing the stitches with the grafting yarn. For the lower swatch, I cast on with the working yarn and worked a few rows, ending with Row 4. I then switched to the waste yarn and worked Row 1, plus a couple more chart rows before binding off. Thus, when the waste yarn stitches are traced with the working yarn, Row 1 will be created with the grafting yarn by tracing the stitches on the lower swatch and Row 2 will be completed by drawing the yarn through the first row of working yarn loops on the upper swatch.

            

 


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Inside Knits wrote
on Apr 22, 2014 1:14 PM

(Plus, an excerpt from my next series of blog posts: Grafting Lace Patterns Invisibly) The origin of

Inside Knits wrote
on Apr 22, 2014 12:58 PM

(Plus, an excerpt from my next series of blog posts: Grafting Lace Patterns Invisibly) The origin of