Today I finished my second Cathedral sock! Its a bit unique – because of the way the cables flow on the reverse stockinette background on the leg of the sock, I decided NOT to create a jarring line at the heel and side of foot, and just left the sole and toe in reverse stockinette. Since I happen to have fat flat wide toes, the ONLY toe that fits me well is a rather short blunt wedge toe with a graft at the end (or a short row toe, again, a grafted toe. This meant… (shudder, shiver, oh horror) kitchenering in reverse stockinette. I tried the advice of a friend, turning the sock inside out, and well, the yarn ends up starting on the front instead of the back needle and I ended up just as confused. So I decided its time to really GET kitchener, on a very organic level, so I can kitchener ANYTHING, rather than jsut follow a routine by rote.

Here’s what I discovered. There is, in fact, an ULTIMATE kitchener mantra. Its the one I long ago rejected as just taking too much thought, but it will ALWAYS WORK, even in ribbing.

Same, off; Opposite, on.

What that means is, you look at the stitch you’re about to put your needle through. If it’s a purl, same = purl, opposite = knit. If its a knit, then same = knit, opposite = purl. You always (at least I always) kitchener right to left, the opposite of reading. You ALWAYS make your first stitch on the needle your yarn is NOT coming from, pass the needle thru opposite of the stitch leaving it on the needle, then go to the starting side, pass the needle thru opposite of that stitch, then you go into same-off opposite-on world.

So, say you have a reverse stockinette sock. Your yarn is likely coming out of the back needle. So you look at that front needle, and the purl side is facing you. So you do an opposite-on: you pass the needle thru knitwise and try not to overthink. On the back side, you’re now facing the INSIDE of the sock, which in reverse stockinette is of course the knit side, so you do an opposite-on again, which now suddenly becomes passing the needle thru purlwise. Easy as 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751…

Continuing onwards, on the front (purl side) you do a same-off, opposite-on, i.e purlwise-slip off, knitwise leave it on. Then you go to the back (knit side) and do a same-off, opposite-on, i.e knitwise-slip off, purlwise leave on. In my OLD mantra style (I always was sayign “in and out, in and out”) You’re going to go OUT of the first stitch, and make that cute little purl bump as you go back IN to the middle of the sock and over to the other side – reverse stockinette reverses any other mantras!

Now, say you’re INSANE (oh shoot… no one take my psych license over this) and you want to kichener 1X1 ribbing. The same mantra works!!! “Same-off, Opposite-on.” Let’s Say your front needle starts KPKP. Your back needle woudl have finished with a purl, but you’re lookign at the back side of that purl that you ended on, so it also looks to you like a knit. BOTH needles wil look liek KPKPKPKP across. So

Start opposite on on both sides – Basically, put that needle thru the front stitch purlwise, then the back stitch purlwise, and you’re ready to go.

Front, same-off, opposite on. Same on the first stitch is knitwise, so pass the needle thru knitwise and drop the stitch off. Your next stitch is a purl though, because we’re doing ribbing. So you do the opposite-on, only relative to this stitch that means you go into the stitch knitwise again. So you just happen to go knitwise, knitwise. YAY!

Back – same-off, opposite on. Oh look, we’ve got a knit followed by a purl again, SAME EXACT THING as the front side knitwise (same) off, then knitwise (now opposite) on!

Now back to the front, same-off, opposite on. You’re starting with a purl this time, so same-off is purlwise-off. Then the next stitch is a knit, so you go opposite-on, or purlwise and leave the stitch on. Naturally you’ll do exactly the same thing on the back side.

Does it work? uhhhh…  well there’s 1 small problem, there will always be a half stitch jog.  Why?  Because you have to start on one side first, you can’t do both sides simultaeously.  So in anythign other than plain stockinette, garter, or reverse stockinette there will be a join point that peopel who look really hard can find.  Here’s my tiny sample for your viewing pleasure: