How to Graft the Toe on Knit Socks

By Sonia Waring
Grafting joins one set of knit

There are two basic ways to knit a sock: toe-up and top-down. If you knit from the toe up, you can bind off as usual at the end of the project--the ankle, calf or knee. If you knit from the top down, though, you can choose to “graft” the toe end of the sock. Also known as kitchener stitch, grafting is a natural fit for a sock toe because it creates a seamless join. After grafting, the two sides you joined will appear to be a single unit with no join discernible by look or feel.

Divide the stitches on the knitting needles evenly onto two needles with the working yarn at the right end of the needle held closer to you and a bit lower than the other needle.

Position the needles parallel to each other and touching, like an equals (=) sign. Think of the two knitting needles as A (lower, closer needle, bottom of the “=”) and B (higher, farther needle, top of the “=”).

Leaving around 20 inches of yarn to graft with, cut the yarn. Thread the yarn onto the tapestry needle.

Grasp the knitting needles in your left hand and with your right hand insert the tapestry needle into the first (rightmost) stitch on needle A, through the front of the stitch loop from right to left, as if you were going to purl. Pull the yarn through the stitch, and leave the stitch on the needle.

Insert the tapestry needle through the first (rightmost) loop on needle B, mimicking a knit stitch (from left to right). Pull the yarn through the stitch, again leaving the stitch on the needle.

Insert the tapestry needle knitwise (left to right) through the front of the first loop on needle A and slip the stitch off needle A.

Insert the tapestry needle purlwise (right to left) through the next loop on needle A. Leave this loop on needle A and pull the yarn through.

Insert the tapestry needle purlwise through the first loop on needle B. Slip the loop off needle B.

Insert the tapestry needle knitwise through the next loop on needle B. Leave this loop on needle A and pull the yarn through.

Repeat steps six through nine until one stitch remains on each knitting needle.

Repeat step six, then step eight to finish.

Cut the remaining yarn on the tapestry needle down to a few inches, then weave in the end to prevent unraveling.

Tip

If you used double-pointed needles to knit the socks, you may leave the yarn on two of those needles, transfer the yarn to two single-point needles, or use a long circular needle with the ends held parallel.

About the Author

Sonia Waring has been a professional technology editor since 1998, focusing primarily on software reviews and how-to articles. She also edits copy for scientific journals, several websites, and an independent network security consultancy.