Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

Knitting Tip #1 – Smooth Edges September 26, 2006

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips — knitwhits @ 4:41 pm

Edge with Slipped StitchSmooth Edges 

To keep your edges of your knitting smooth, if the pattern allows for it, slip the first stitch of every row. This means, if you are right handed, that you would transfer the first stitch from your left needle to your right needle without knitting or purling it, and then work the remainder of your row in whatever stitch or pattern as called for in your instructions.

What this in effect does is reduce the amount of yarn used at the end stitch, keeping your work a bit tighter and tidier. Newer knitters often have difficulty with tension in their knitting until they become comfortable enough to get a good smooth rhythm going while they work, and this can often be most apparent in the edges.

The other benefit to slipping that first stitch, particularly for newer knitters, is it can make it easier if you have to go back in later on and sew two edges together, since you will have clearly demarked rows to work with. To the right is a picture of garter stitch worked with a slipped stitch at the beginning of each row. On the other hand, more experienced knitters, whose work (and tension) has become more uniform, may prefer not to slip that first stitch. When assembling a garment, such as setting in the sleeve of a sweater, you will have a nice, tight and even “ladder” to work with when joining pieces with mattress stitch.

Having said all this, if you are working on something using a fuzzy novelty multicolor yarn, no one will ever know the difference if you do or don’t slip that first stitch. However, it’s not a bad habit to learn and store away in your “knitting muscle memory”.


10 Responses to “Knitting Tip #1 – Smooth Edges”

  1. Christina Says:

    Great tip. Thanks for sharing!

    ~ Christina

  2. firefly8868 Says:

    Nicely done tip; well written.


  3. […] Likewise, don’t measure your swatch near your edges, your cast on or your cast off, find a spot where the stitches are the most even, swatches often splay out at the cast on or cast off, and edges can be bumpy and affect your count. […]

  4. Pammy Says:

    Oh thank you for sharing!

  5. Sheri Says:

    Slip as to knit or slip as to purl to keep a tidy edge? Lets say I’m doing stockinette – do I slip the beginning of each row as if to knit?

  6. knitwhits Says:

    I always slip as if to knit on the knit side, and to purl on the purl side. There is another technique of getting smooth edges which I will also post as soon as I can get to it.

  7. Angela Says:

    I just started knitting again after my daughter was born. I couldn’t for the life of me like my first project I’d get about a third of the way in and undo it because it never looked right. But thanks to this tip I was able to get it to look the way I want it to. thank you so much.

  8. Edith Says:

    I am a beginner and have just completed a beautiful scarf for my granddaughter – beautiful except for the one side of holes and jaggered edges. I also changed colors and have knots on that same edge. Is there anyway, after the fact, to clean up a jaggered edge?

  9. Sandy Says:

    Thank you! I am a beginning knitter. Now I have nice edges. I have been frustrated. Undoing everything. Trying to get it right. Now they look good.

  10. Jes Says:

    Thank you so much for this tip!

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