Tip: Grafting

This describes anchoring a short row segment for adding other sections of knitting, for example a beard on a toy pattern.  In fact, I’ll use the beard as the example throughout!

Knit up to the row where the top of beard will be placed.  Knit up to and including the stitch immediately prior to the stitch where the beard will be placed.  Switch to the the beard colour.  Knit the number of stitches stated for the top of the beard (note: this could be either the starting row or the cast off/bind off row in the pattern you are working to).  Thread a stitch holder through these stitches (retaining the stitches on the needle!)  and hold on the right side (RS) of the fabric. When you have completed these stitches, revert to the previous colour and continue working the pattern as written.  On completing the piece, e.g. head/head & body, and prior to sewing up, follow the next instructions.

If the pattern works the beard from bottom to top, you will need to invert it!  You MUST work from top to bottom.  Insert the appropriate size needle into the stitches held on the stitch holder, or slip them from the holder to the needle.  Follow the pattern for the beard either as written or in reverse as appropriate.  You will finish up with the beard already attached, in the right position.  If it refuses to lie flat, it can be secured using the tail of yarn between the main fabric and the beard.  Finish the piece off as usual, making sure that the beard’s yarn tails are also woven in to hide them.

You may wish to improve the look in some instances, such as the beard in the example above, by having one or two more stitches of the main fabric, in the grafted piece’s colour, either side of those required to be held on the stitch holder.  This process could be used to attach pockets too, but in that case, you would knit the pocket from bottom to top and you would still need to sew the sides of the pocket onto the main fabric.  In fact, there may well be other instances where this could be applied.

A final note:  It’s much easier to follow this process once the main fabric is no longer held on a needle!


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