Bind Off to Bind Off Edge
When grafting knitting bind off edge to bind off edge, there’s a half stitch jog that happens at the graft. This is due to the nature of a grafted row — the upper portion needs two loops to act as the base of the row above. This works perfectly with a cast on edge to a bind off edge — since the direction of knitting is the same. But when grafting bind off edge to bind off edge, the direction of knitting conflicts. So you get a half stitch jog.
In stockinette this isn’t noticeable except at the edges. In wide rib patterns it can be not too noticeable. But in small multiples (1×1 rib, or seed stitch, for example) this is very noticeable. So 1×1 ribbing and seed stitch both need a different approach. I showed you 1×1 rib last week; this week I’ll show you seed stitch. Get ready, it’s a bit complicated!!
With seed stitch, you can have 4 possible combinations of stitches as the first stitch presenting in your fabric to be grafted.
You can have a purl stitch as the first stitch on the front needle — and either a purl stitch presenting or a knit stitch presenting as the first stitch on the back needle. (The WS of the fabric on the back needle is facing you.)
You could instead have a knit stitch as the first stitch on the front needle — and either a purl stitch or a knit stitch presenting as the first stitch on the back needle.
The setup steps are different depending on what these first stitches are. Once the setup is complete, however, the repeating steps through the rest of the fabric are all the same.
Remember that one grafted row *completes* two rows of knitting. See my blog post here for a refresher.
So our graft needs to create the opposite stitch above the stitch on the front needle, while at the same time creating the opposite stitch “above” the stitch on the back needle.
Here are the grafting diagrams for these 4 possible combinations. The white squares are knit stitches and the grey squares are purl stitches. (The diagram shows all the stitches on the RS of the fabric.) The stitches on the needles are the rows next to the BN and FN tags (above and below the red lines.) The completed grafted row is the two rows in the middle.
“On” steps are worked when it’s the first step in a block, “off” steps are worked when it’s the second step in a block. We’ll always be working “off on” across two blocks. (Reference the arrows.)
In all cases we will start with the first stitch on the front needle.
The setup steps for all 4 possibilities are:
Work front needle stitch — working it as it presents (as a knit st if it’s a knit st, as a purl st if it’s a purl st), leave on the needle, work the back needle stitch as it presents, leave on the needle.
Then repeat a set of work off, work and leave on – for the front needle then the back needle.
If the steps done for the front and back needle as setup were the same (two knit stitches or two purl stitches) then the repeat will be the front needle and then the back needle. If however the stitches are different (one knit and one purl) — then the repeat will be the back needle and then the front needle. This will make sense in a bit, hopefully….
So, looking at the top example specifically, the steps would be:
FN: Purl leave on, BN: Knit leave on.
FN: Knit off, knit on.
BN: Purl off, purl on. FN: Purl off, purl on.
BN: Knit off, knit on. FN: Knit off, knit on.
Work like this until one st remains on each needle, then you will work an “off” step on the front needle and an “off” step on the back needle. What you work here will depend on what stitches you end with. If you have a purl (FN) and a knit (BN), you’ll FN: Knit off, BN: Purl off. If you have a knit (FN) and a purl (FN), you’ll FN: Purl off, BN: Knit off. (In both cases, it will be an “Opposite off.”)
Thinking about my mantra of “Same Off, Opposite On” that I use for kitchener of stockinette stitch, the mantra for this graft is reversed. “Opposite off, Same On.” (I find it much harder to reverse this in my head without accidentally switching back to my kitchener mantra and messing up my graft, so your mileage may vary with taking this approach.)
Then looking at the second diagram from the top, the steps would be:
FN: Purl leave on. BN: Purl leave on.
FN: Knit off, knit on. BN: Knit off, knit on.
FN: Purl off, purl on. BN: Purl off, purl on.
So, you can see that with this arrangement of stitches, the repeat steps begin with the front needle, where with the prior example the repeat section begins with the back needle.
I have a video showing you two of these possible grafting scenarios:
Cast On to Bind Off Edge
Now, the diagram for grafting seed stitch bind off edge to cast on edge will be a bit different, since we don’t have to deal with that pesky half-stitch jog. (View my blog post here for a review on BO to CO grafting.) You’ll have one more loop on the back needle as the front needle.
The front needle will get a series of “Purl off, Purl on” and “Knit off, Knit on” steps, but the back needle will be either “Purl off, knit on” or “Knit off, purl on”.
If you ended with a “Knit on” step on the front, you’ll then work the “purl off, knit on” step on the back. If you ended with a “Purl on” step on the front, you’ll then work the “knit off, purl on” step on the back. In this grafting diagram, the stitches stacked on top of each other need to be the opposites.
For this to work, you have to end your knitting so that you have the opposite stitches on either side of the graft. So — your first stitch on the front needle is a knit and the last stitch on your back needle (from the RS) is a purl. This will mean both stitches present as the same stitch type when set up for grafting. (The first stitch on your back needle will present to you as a knit in this case.)
If we have a knit stitch presenting as the first stitch on each needle, as in the diagram above, we would begin by:
FN: Knit leave on. BN: Purl drop off, knit leave on.
FN: Purl off, purl on. BN: Knit off, purl on.
FN: Knit off, knit on. BN: Purl off, knit on.
Repeat this until one loop on each needle remains, and then work the appropriate “off” step on the front and just drop the back loop.
Hopefully all of this made sense!! Let me know if it’s at all helpful.
Next week I’ll show you grafting 2×2 ribbing specifically, and that will conclude (for now) my series on grafting.
Until next time, Happy Knitting.