Cuatro Wrap: Those Long Grafted Seams

Dear Ann,

Ann . . . I missed you, and the whole MDK team, so so much during our holiday week off. In 10 days, a person can accumulate a pretty big backlog of unexpressed knitting thoughts. And as you know, I am a person who wants to express her knitting thoughts freely and constantly, and preferably by sending you dozens of messages per day.

While we were off, I knit a lot, with most of my efforts devoted to finishing my 2022 temperature blanket. More about that on Monday, but to calm the public, I will just say that yes, I did finish knitting a color of Felted Tweed representing the high temperature of every day of 2022 in New York City. On January 1, I bound off like a boss. Still ahead for this epic project: eleventy-hundred ends to weave in, a restorative soak in a bathtub full of Soak, a couple of days of drying time. But soon my temperature blanket will be packed off to its new home with the person who scored it at the auction to benefit Groundwork Hudson Valley, a great environmental and educational organization that we only know about because a beloved knitter works there. (Thanks, Karen!)

What’s next on my knitting dance card is my Cuatro Wrap from MDK Field Guide No. 22: Grace. I’m still on the fourth triangle, due to the above-mentioned temperature blanket—and after that I’m in for  [cue dramatic music] the grafting of 720 edge stitches together to join the four triangles into a single magnificent parallelogram.

Even with one triangle still to go, it’s a big piece o’ knitting.

When faced with many, many stitches to graft, a knitter’s mind naturally turns to alternatives to grafting, such as the 3-needle bindoff. I’m a fan and maybe even a prophet of the 3NBO, so I would not discourage anyone who wanted to go that way for the Cuatro Wrap’s three long seams.

But I love the Cuatro Wrap just the way it is, and I want to join the triangles with the invisible perfection that designer Joji Locatelli envisioned.

And also: I’m not afraid of grafting.

Why I Am Not Afraid of Grafting

I will never tire of sharing the video that changed my grafting life forever. It’s Lorilee Beltman’s classic: Memorize the Kitchener Stitch.

This video is a total banger, but it is just one of Lorilee Beltman’s many gifts to knitters. Lorilee is not a one-trick pony. But neither was Shakespeare. He wrote a lot of great plays, but the only one is Henry V. For me,  Memorize the Kitchener Stitch is Lorilee’s Henry V. It’s downright stirring.

If you have struggled to memorize grafting, if you have ever known the despair of losing your place in the sequence of knit-off, purl-on, purl-off, knit-on—I am begging you to watch this video. Lorilee has figured it out and made it crystal clear. Just watching it lowers the blood pressure, raises the endorphins, and gets those stitches grafted effortlessly.

Oh look! I got so excited that I skipped ahead and grafted the first of the three seams.

How it started:

How it went:

Result: 120 stitches of smooth perfection that actually was fun and relaxing to do. Now I’m extra motivated to finish Cuatro’s last triangle and get the whole thing all done up.

Cuatro Wrap, here I come!



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