I love grafting; at least, I definitely prefer it to sewing seams. I think it’s easier to do well, it looks better, and it stretches more like the rest of the knitting than a seam will. I know many knitters are intimidated by it, perhaps because it feels like sewing. If you keep at it you can master it, try thinking of it as manually weaving in a knit row (because, really, that’s what you’re doing).
There’s lots of instructions for grafting stockinette, but less about grafting reverse stockinette (purl stitches). That, too, can be done, and it’s not much different. The hard part is if you have something like ribbing where you have to keep going back and forth between knit and purl stitches, you have to really pay attention to whether you’re dealing with a knit or a purl stitch.
Grafting stockinette (knit)
Thread the working yarn on to a tapestry needle. Hold the needles parallel to each other, horizontally in front of you, with the wrong sides of the fabric facing to the inside and the working yarn on the right side.
Set up: Go through the first stitch on the front needle purlwise, then go through first stitch on the back needle knitwise.
Go through the first stitch of the front needle knitwise and slip off the needle, then go through the second stitch purlwise (do not slip it off the needle). Go through first stitch of the back needle purlwise and slip off needle, then go through the second stitch knitwise (do not slip it off the needle).
Stockinette grafting sum-up:
Front needle: knit, slip, purl
Back needle: purl, slip, knit
Grafting reverse stockinette (purl)
Work the front needle the same as for stockinette grafting, but on the back needle go through purl stitches in the opposite direction—go through first stitch knitwise and slip off needle, then go through the second stitch purlwise (do not slip it off the needle). So you work the stitches on the back needle the same as you do for the front needle.
Reverse stockinette grafting sum-up:
Front needle: knit, slip, purl
Back needle: knit, slip, purl
Switching back and forth between stockinette and reverse stockinette
This is the tricky part. You always work the stitches on the front needle the same, so there it doesn’t matter whether a stitch is knit or purl. On the back needle, you must look at each stitch and work it necessary depending on whether it’s a knit or a purl stitch. So when you get to a point where the first stitch on the back needle is knit, but the second one is purl, go through the first stitch purlwise and slip it off the needle, but then go through the second stitch—the purl one—purlwise (do not slip it off the needle). Continue working the back needle as for reverse stockinette grafting as long as they’re all purl stitches. When you come to a point where it changes again and the first stitch of the back needle is purl, but the next is knit, you will go through the first stitch knitwise and slip it off the needle, then go through the next one—the knit one—knitwise (do not slip it off the needle).
It can get confusing if you have to keep switching back and forth a lot, just stay calm, and keep really looking at each stitch as you go. Remember, the front needle is always the same, it’s only the back needle that changes.