In my knitting group, we often say that the difference between homemade and handmade is in the details. One of the biggest details to improve the quality of your knit garments is to master grafting and seaming.
Kitchener stitch and mattress stitch are the 2 most common methods of grafting and seaming.
The Difference between Grafting and Seaming
Grafting is the process of connecting the live stitches of 2 separate pieces (or 2 ends of the same piece – a cowl, for example) together. When done correctly, it creates a seamless transition between the 2 pieces. A graft is seamless on the front and back of your work. The most common method of grafting is Kitchener Stitch.
Seaming is the process of sewing 2 finished pieces together. The seams can be invisible or visible, depending on the method you use. But even invisible seams will have a bump under them, like the seam allowance in sewing.
One other way to join 2 pieces together is the Three Needle Bind Off. It is a method of binding off and seaming at the same time. This tends to be my go-to method when I have 2 pieces that I need to seam together at the bind off edge.
How to Seam
This video is a very good tutorial on seaming. It shows how to seam a set-in sleeve, which is terrific because it shows many of the stitch seaming combinations you will encounter in your knitting.
Mattress stitch is perfect for vertical seams. Click here for an in-depth tutorial on mattress stitch.
How to Graft
For a more in-depth look at grafting, check out this series of articles by Interweave. You may want to grab a cup of tea and be in a quiet room where you can concentrate before diving into these gems. These articles will not only help to improve your grafting, they will also help you understand the construction of knit garments and boost your ability to read your knitting.