Before grafting knitted ribbing, one should know how to graft simple plain stockinette using a kitchener stitch. I'll admit that I use kitchener stitch just infrequently enough that I usually look it up before jumping in. The usual references are:
- Knitty's kitchener tutorial Its is very straightforward and includes photos of actual knitting. It also loads well and is still readable on a mobile device.
- TECHKnitter 's version of kitchener uses a knitting needle rather than a tapestry needle to pull the seaming yarn through.
Like someone cramming for an exam, I review the instructions and start, whispering my newly memorized instructions as I go. This is part of the problem, not part of the solution. I don't actually know why I'm going through these motions. There is nothing that tells me why one step is done purlwise and the next knitwise. I align the work as instructed an hope it all comes out right in the end.
At first I thought the issue was that the wasy the work is held I couldn't see what I was doing. seaming is done with the pieces, still on the needles.There is a challenge in not knowing if I did it right until the two stitches are aleady off the needles. If not I have to rip out 3-4 stitches to correct the problem. Vogue Knitting's explanation and illustrations show the pieces laid flat, which helps a little bit with seeing what you're doing.
Rote performance of kitchener doesn't mean the knitter knows why they're making these motions and it doesn't help with joining garter, rib or other patterned work.
One noticible problem appears when attempting to make a continuous cowl from a piece that has been rib-knit flat. The bottom edge stitches and top edge stitches don't match up. At the top of a knit column is a single stitch but at the bottom it is made up of the two halves of the adjacent purl column. This is commonly called the "half-stitch jog" effect.
TECHknitter explains several tricks for minimizing the appearance of the half-stitch jog.
Knitting Daily's series of 5 grafting myths is a lengthy but worthwhile read explaining in detail what's going on. Unfortunately the posts are not all linked together so I've listed them here:
- Myth 1: Easier to graft knit than purl
- Myth 2: Grafted ribbing has a half-stitch jog <- Useful for 1-piece cowels.
- Myth 3: A grafted row = one pattern row (part 1 and part 2)
- Myth 4: Universal formula for grafting any pattern (part 1 and part 2)
- Myth 5: Grafting yarn must come from the back needle.