Week 2 Poppy Cowl knit-a-long: Grafing the Cowl

Some of you may already have launched forward and grafted the cowl ends. I have seen inklings of this in your postings on Rav and Facebook. If you have not, however, done the grafting yet, or are unhappy with the grafting that you have already done, read on, because grafting the cowl is this week’s assignment . . . the only cowl assignment.

It sounds easier than it is, I must say. Maybe you are all better grafters than I am, but I find grafting a rib tricky and it requires my full attention. I must make sure I have slept, eaten, have a glass of water nearby, and lot of light. Do not try to do this in the car or at a sports game while you are sitting on the bleachers. . . I wouldn’t even attempt this in an aiport. A quiet, well-lit place is what you (really, what I) need.

First, you need to unzip the provisional cast on, or, if you have used the waste yarn method, simply move the stitches to a needle. I prefer to use circulars for the greater flexibility they afford. Orient the needles so that they are parallel (East/West) if you are located on the Southern mark of the compass. Like so:You will want to cut the live yarn and thread it on a tapestry needle. Leave a good long tail. You won’t want to splice together or weave in ends while grafting.

So, with your needles parallel and wrong sides together (don’t forget the cowl twist) . . . turn 1 end over once, then twice so the ribs line up. You can see that you have a front needle (closest to you) and a back needle (farthest away).

For the following method, I must divulge my debt to Liz Symborski, who took a Poppy Cowl class with me in my studio in September of last year. She took it upon herself to research grafting a rib and found that there really was not a definitive source. After scouring multiple sources and cobbling things together from several places, she sent me and everyone in the class the following summary of the process (only slightly edited by me):

Now with a length of yarn on a tapestry needle join the two sides together as follows:
Put your tapestry needle in the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl (back to front), like this;

and then put the tapestry needle in the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit (front to back), like this:

Pull yarn through .

NEXT: you will do 1 of four things depending on what the next two stitches on the front needle are:  Each time you will do something to 2 stitches on each needle, and each stitch will have the yarn go through it twice.

1. If the next 2 stitches on the front needle are both KNIT stitches (as they should be in this case):
For front needle, put tapestry needle in the stitch as if to knit and then drop that stitch off needle, then put the needle in the next stitch as if to purl and leave it ON the needle.

On back needle, put needle in first stitch as if to purl and drop stitch off needle, then put needle in the next stitch as if you knitting and leave it on the needle.

Liz came up with an abbreviation system that works well. The steps above can be written like this:


Proceed to graft the ribbing, keeping in mind how to handle differently oriented stitches in the following manner:

If the next 2 stitches on the front needle are both PURL stitches

If the next two stitches are a KNIT then a PURL

If the next two stitches are a PURL then a KNIT

Repeat these steps until you run out of stitches. Stop often to see if it looks right and to adjust your tension.

There you go. Good luck.

If you get frustrated, you can always cover up the graft with the poppies. But you will want to graft the gauntlets perfectly, so see this as practice.


2 thoughts on “Week 2 Poppy Cowl knit-a-long: Grafing the Cowl

  1. I have looked for directions for grafting a rib and never found them. I knew there had to be a way but haven’t had the brain power to figure it out lately. I’m so glad someone did. So, instead of the Kitchener Stitch, this should be the Symborski/Nora Stitch!

    Thank you both!

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