I know, you've tried to not think about it, but you know it is waiting for you. The foot on the sock you are knitting is almost to the toe. Yikes. You love knitting socks. You're always amazed and delighted when that heel turn appears on your needles. You beam in the glow of the sense of accomplishment and are spurred on as you find your sock over half finished. But alas, you can't hide from the inner dread knowing that each round brings you that much closer to the soul crushing frustration. You are trying desperately to remain calm and collected, methodical and focused, but it is no good. As you attempt the final act of grafting the toe of your precious sock using the "Da Da Da Daaaa" KITCHNER STITCH, you wonder just why does it have to seem so impossible? What is the secret? Will I ever be able to remember it without looking it up or watching another YouTube? Is this the way to establish the real knitters from those who wish they were? Why can't anyone tell me an easy way to finish my sock toe? Or my scarf that has 2 parts that need to be grafted together with the impossible "in pattern" directions? Is that just too much to ask?
Well my dear knitting friend, your plight has been heard and I hope that by giving you the "3 principle method" for the Kitchner stitch you will soon be laughing in the face of all that negativity that has accompanied it for low these many years.
I promise, if you follow these 3 fundamental rules for the Kitchner stitch, you will find yourself grafting without a care in the world. Bring it on, all your toes, ribbed or otherwise patterned scarves, whatever. You will be the grafting master.
Three Principle Kitchener Stitch
To get started, bring the two pieces of knitted fabric to be grafted together with the wrong sides facing each other. You should have an equal number of live stiches on each needle. Cut your yarn at least 3 times the length of the graft and thread a blunt tip tapestry needle. The yarn should be coming from the last stitch on the needle furthest away from you.
Now the 3 principles will guide you to determine where and how to thread the tapestry needle in you stitches.
Always keep the yarn on the tapestry (grafting) needle below the 2 knitting needles holding the live stitches.
Each live stitch must have 2 passes of the yarn on the grafting needle before it may be removed from the knitting needle.
The direction of the 1st pass of the grafting needle is always in the "opposite direction" of the apperance of the stitch on the knitting needle. That is when you look at your knitted fabric, if you are looking at a knit stitch the first pass of the grafting needle should be in the direction of a purl stitch. If you are looking at a purl stitch, the first pass of the grafting needle should be in the direction of a knit stitch.
The second pass of the grafting needle is always in the "same direction" as the stitch you are looking at. That is if you are looking at a knit stitch, the first pass of the grafting needle through the live stitch is in the purl direction. The second pass through the live stitch is in the knit direction. Now with 2 passes through the live stitch you can remove it from the needle.
With these principles in mind, here is the order in which you make the grafting needle passes.
To begin grafting you will work only on the first live stitch on each needle. Pass the grafting needle on the first stitch on the front needle and then move to the back needle. Continue to pass the grafting yarn through just the first stitch according to the principles and remove each of those first live stitches from both of the needles according to the principles.
After you remove the initial stitches on each needle you will be working on 2 stitches of each needle before moving back and forth from needle to needle.
Follow the principles and you will be able to determine which direction to put the grafting needle and when it is time to pull the stitch off simply by looking at your knitting.
Try it and see if this doesn't help make it easier.