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Neaten up your edges with some knitting basics

Keep your stockinette edges from curling by using some basic stitches at the edge of your work!
Keep your stockinette edges from curling by using some basic stitches at the edge of your work!

 

Happy Monday, knitting readers! This week on the KNITmuch blog, we’re going to take you on a tour of different stitch patterns and the kinds of ways they can come in handy especially how neaten up your edges with some knitting basics.

In today’s post, we’re looking at knitted stitches for basic edges. If you’re making a flat item like a scarf, dishcloth, or shawl, you need to make sure your edges will lie flat, to prevent that pesky problem of “curling” stockinette stitch.

If you’re an adventurous beginner or just beyond that beginner stage of this craft, trying out different kinds of stitch patterns is a great way to advance your skills and introduce you to new techniques. We’ll be doing these as smaller swatches on some basic worsted-weight wool yarn, and these lovely Panda Bamboo 4.5mm/US #7 needles. If you have some 100% cotton or linen yarn at home you can try these out and end up with some handy dishcloths at the same time.

Garter stitch is used here for a simple edge stitch.
Garter stitch is used here for a simple edge stitch.

 

The first stitch many of us learn as knitters is garter stitch. It’s very versatile and feels very comforting to touch. Many of us have knitted whole scarves in this stitch, and in fact if you’ve coveted the famous Doctor Who scarf, then you know the appeal of garter stitch’s simple texture!

The way to work garter stitch, flat, is to simply knit every stitch on every row. To knit the same swatch as the one pictured above, use worsted weight wool with your 4.5mm/US #7 needles, and work as follows:

  • Cast on 30 sts.
  • Knit all sts on first 4 rows.
  • Next row (RS): K all sts.
  • Next row (WS): K 4, p 22, k4.
  • Repeat these last 2 rows for a total of 24 rows.
  • Knit all sts on last 4 rows.
  • Bind off all sts.
Seed stitch is used here at the edges. It also makes a simple "all over" stitch for a scarf or dishcloth!
Seed stitch is used here at the edges. It also makes a simple “all over” stitch for a scarf or dishcloth!

 

Seed stitch is another versatile stitch that makes a neat, attractive edge. It can also be used as an “all over” pattern for a full scarf, cowl, or hat. It’s easy to memorize and is cozy to look at.

To knit seed stitch, work as follows over an even number of stitches:

  • Row 1: *k1, p1. Repeat from * to end.
  • Row 2: *p1, k1. Repeat from * to end.

To make the swatch pictured above, work as follows:

  • Cast on 30 stitches.
  • Work the first 4 rows in seed stitch,as indicated above.
  • Next row (RS): Work first 4 stitches in seed stitch. K22. Work final 4 stitches in seed stitch.
  • Next row (WS): Work first 4 stitches in seed stitch. P22. Work final 4 stitches in seed stitch.
  • Work the next 4 rows in seed stitch.
  • Bind off all stitches.

The main trick to learning seed stitch is to get used to working the stitches opposite to how they appear on the needle. You’re making a knit stitch on top of a purl stitch, and vice versa, to create that nice nubbly texture.

Once you’ve learned garter stitch and seed stitch you have some great basic textured stitches in your tool box! It’s also useful to know how to neaten up your edges with some knitting basics. In our next post tomorrow, we’ll look at some more textured stitch patterns that take the seed stitch to the next level. Both garter stitch and seed stitch are great knitted stitches for basic edges.

 

 

About Glenna C

Glenna took up knitting as stress relief while studying for her PhD in Toronto, then kept right on going. Her knitting and design philosophy is guided by a desire to constantly seek new challenges with interesting techniques and beautiful results, through cables, colour-work, and more. She loves reading, photography, yoga, film and television, and believes in knitting fearlessly and often.

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