How to Make Nice Edges in Knitting

Want your exposed edges to be smooth and lovely? There’s a trick for that.

You can substitute this nice edges technique on pretty much any knitting pattern, as long as the stitch pattern doesn’t extend to the edge stitches. For example, this is great for scarves, sometimes shawls, and the little button band I just knit on my daughter’s sweater.

The designer had called for a little button tab to be worked in k1, p1 ribbing, ending with a k1 on the right-side rows. I could have just knit it as written, but I decided to add slipped-stitch edges to give it a line of smooth V’s running down the sides instead of the look you get from normal ribbed edges. It was a personal choice. The other way would have worked just fine.

Here’s how it works

Slip the first stitch of every row purlwise with yarn in front (from tip to tip, without twisting the stitch). Work the rest of the row normally until you get to the very last stitch. Knit it.

That’s it. The first stitch is always slipped, the last stitch is always knit. The end.

Here's a slipped stitch edge on a poncho thingy I made from Melanie Falick's book, Weekend Knitting. I think that was the first place I, personally, saw this technique.

Here’s a slipped stitch edge on a poncho thingy I made from Melanie Falick’s book, Weekend Knitting. I think that was the first place I, personally, saw this technique.

When to use this technique

On exposed edges that you want to look neat that might otherwise look… not so neat.

When not to use this technique

On edges that will be part of seams or picked-up stitches. (Unless the designer tells you otherwise. Sometimes they do.)

On edges that are meant to be worked with a different edge treatment, like garter-stitch edges along shawl sides or something. You could probably decide to change that if you really prefer the slipped stitch edge. It’s usually an aesthetic decision rather than a structural decision in that case.

Extra tip

If you’d like to work the slipped-stitch edge on your scarf, but there aren’t an extra stitches at the edge you could work them on… add them! Cast on two extra stitches and work them with this edge treatment. Easy peasy.

Try it out on your next scarf and see if you like it! Then, file it away in your mental toolbox for future projects. It’s always nice to have choices.

p.s. There’s an opposite way to work this technique. I guess I’d better tell you. They both end up with the same result, so try them both and pick a favourite:

Knit the first stitch of every row, then work the rest of the row normally until you get to the very last stitch. Slip it purlwise with yarn in front.

So, will you try it? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments.

p.p.s. If you were looking for a tip on how to neaten up other edges, check out this previous post in the 31 Days to Nicer Knitting series.

31 Days to Your Nicest Knitting series. www.aknitica.com #write31days #knittingtipsThis post is part of my 31 Days to Your Nicest Knitting series. Every day, I’ll post a new tip or trick to make your knitting nicer. You can follow along easily by subscribing. If you have any knitting problems you’d like me to fix, let me know and I’ll try to answer your question as part of the series. You can find all the posts in the series here.

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