Grafting Dog Wear: Kitchener and Mattress Stitches Explained

Jan 06, 2024 |

A Comprehensive Guide to Grafting with the Kitchener Stitch and Mattress Stitch Mastery and knowing when to use them on knitted dog wear.

Seamlessly Stitching Dog Wear:

A Deep Dive into the Kitchener Stitch and Mattress Stitch Mastery

If you've ever been at that stage of completing a dog wear project, you know the importance of achieving that perfect, seamless finish. In this exploration, we'll delve into the intricacies of two essential stitching techniques: the Kitchener Stitch and the Mattress Stitch. Join me as I uncover their unique applications and provide step-by-step guides for achieving a flawless finish.

Understanding the Kitchener Stitch:

The Kitchener Stitch, also known as grafting, is a chameleon-like technique that creates an invisible join between two sets of live stitches. This results in a seamless and polished finish, transforming your dog wear projects into true works of art. The Kitchener Stitch excels when working with live stitches on the needle, making it perfect for projects where a continuous, unbroken seam is essential.

When to Use the Kitchener Stitch:

The Kitchener Stitch shines in various projects where a seamless finish is paramount. Consider using it for:

Boot Toes:

Many boot or sock projects will suggest just weaving your yarn through the remaining stitches. But using the Kitchener Stitch creates a professional, uninterrupted look by seamlessly closing the toes of knitted dog boots. Your dog’s feet will thank you for the extra comfort!

Garment Shoulders:
When knitting garments like dog sweaters or vests, the Kitchener Stitch seamlessly joins the shoulders, eliminating bulky seams for a polished appearance.

Infinity Scarves and Cowls:

Circular accessories like infinity scarves or cowls often require the Kitchener Stitch to create a seamless loop. Joining the beginning and end of the fabric without a noticeable seam enhances the visual appeal and comfort of the finished piece.

Stitching Panels in Blankets or Afghans:

For projects with multiple knitted panels, such as dog blankets or pillows, the Kitchener Stitch can be used to seamlessly join the panels together. This creates a cohesive and visually appealing final product without any visible seams.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Kitchener Stitch:

Start Position:

Ensure your stitches are evenly divided between the front and back needles, with the working yarn coming from the back needle.

Front Needle:

Insert the needle as if to purl into the first stitch on the front needle, but leave the stitch on the needle.

Back Needle:

Move to the back needle. Insert the needle as if to knit into the first stitch on the back needle and leave it on the needle.

Front Needle Again:

Go back to the front needle. This time, insert the needle as if to knit into the first stitch and pull it off the needle.

Back Needle Again:

Move to the back needle once more. Insert the needle as if to purl into the first stitch and pull it off the needle.


Repeat steps 2 to 5 until you have only one stitch left on each needle.


To finish, insert the needle as if to purl into the last stitch on the front needle and as if to knit into the last stitch on the back needle. Pull the yarn through.


Weave in the yarn end neatly, and there you have it! A seamless join using the Kitchener Stitch.

Understanding the Mattress Stitch:

Now, let's shift our focus to the Mattress Stitch, a versatile technique ideal for seaming pieces of knitting together. Unlike the Kitchener Stitch, the Mattress Stitch is suited for joining pieces that have already been bound off. Its nearly invisible seam adds a touch of professionalism to various dog wear projects.

When to Use the Mattress Stitch:

The Mattress Stitch is a go-to for seaming up the sides of dog sweaters, connecting panels of a blanket, or joining pieces where an inconspicuous and sturdy seam is desired. Consider using it for:

Dog Sweater Sides:

Create a seamless look by joining the sides of your dog's sweater with the Mattress Stitch. Your furry friend will enjoy a comfortable, snug fit without any irritating seams.

Blanket Panels:

When stitching together finished panels on a cozy blanket for your pup, the Mattress Stitch ensures a neat, invisible seam that adds to the overall aesthetics.

Multi-Piece Projects:
For dog wear with multiple knitted pieces, such as a sweater with sleeves, the Mattress Stitch seamlessly brings them together for a polished and cohesive appearance.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Mattress Stitch:

Prepare Your Pieces:

Ensure that the edges you are joining are neat and have the same number of stitches.

Thread the Needle:

Thread a length of yarn through a tapestry needle, leaving a tail for weaving in later.

Insert the Needle:

Insert the needle from back to front under the first horizontal bar between the edge stitch and the next stitch on one piece. Pull the yarn through, leaving a small tail at the back.

Opposite Piece:

On the opposite piece, insert the needle from front to back under the corresponding horizontal bar.


Continue alternating between the two pieces, inserting the needle under the horizontal bars. The stitches will come together seamlessly.

Tighten Gently:

After several stitches, gently tighten the yarn to close the seam. Ensure it's snug but not too tight to maintain flexibility.


Secure the yarn by weaving in the ends on the wrong side of your work.

Choosing the Right Technique for Dog Wear:

When deciding between the Kitchener Stitch and the Mattress Stitch for your dog wear projects, it's crucial to consider the nature of your knitting and the specific requirements of your design.

Use the Kitchener Stitch:

When seamlessly joining live stitches that are still on your needles, such as closing the toe of a boot or the top of a hat, or seamlessly joining the shoulders of garments.

Use the Mattress Stitch:

When seaming up the sides of dog sweaters, connecting panels of a blanket, or joining pieces that have already been bound off.

Tips for Success:

Consistent Tension:

Maintain consistent tension throughout both the Kitchener Stitch and the Mattress Stitch for a professional finish.

Practice on Scrap Yarn:

Before applying either technique to your actual project, practice on scrap yarn to familiarize yourself with the process.

Weave in Ends Neatly:

Whether finishing with the Kitchener Stitch or the Mattress Stitch, take the time to weave in ends neatly for a clean and polished result.

Choosing the Right Project for Seamless Success:

Whether it's intricate costumes or high-end canine couture, the choice between the Kitchener Stitch and the Mattress Stitch depends on the nature of the project. In general, you use the Kitchener Stitch for live stitches and the Mattress Stitch for bound-off pieces to achieve a flawless look.

Project Examples:

Cozy Canine Companion Gloves - Kitchener Stitch

Sock Monkey Hat - Kitchener Stitch

Dog Pillow - Mattress Stitch

In Conclusion:

The Kitchener Stitch and the Mattress Stitch stand as invaluable tools in the knitter's toolkit, each offering a unique set of applications and advantages. Whether seamlessly joining live stitches or creating inconspicuous seams in your dog wear, these techniques empower you to elevate your knitting projects to new heights of craftsmanship. Experiment with both, discover their nuances, and let your creativity flourish with every stitch.

As you embark on your dog wear adventures, remember that there's no one-size-fits-all solution. The beauty of knitting lies in the freedom to choose the techniques that best suit your project's needs. Happy stitching, and may your dog wear creations be as seamless as the bond between you and your furry friends!

Categories: : Knitting

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