Basic Techniques: Knitting Clean Edges
How do you master knitting clean edges, improving the look of your finished knitting projects? There’s a little trick I’d like to share with you today.
There’s basically three types of edges in knitting: the knotty edge, the straight and mixed ones.
Until recently, I did not really care much about the edges in my knitting projects. I just worked in the pattern given and did not treat the selvedge stitches in any special way. The most common results were random looking, knotty edges.
If you just knit every first stitch of a row, a knotty edge is the result.
There’s people who like exactly that look so I suppose it’s a basically question of personal preferences. Speaking for myself, I prefer the professional look and feel of clean edges, but more on that below.
This edge (shown above) is achieved by the following recipe:
- RS: k1, <do whatever the pattern calls for>, k1, turn.
- WS: k1, <do whatever the pattern calls for>, k1, turn.
If one doesn’t work in pattern but just treating the selvage stitches randomly, mixed variants occur. Usually they look unintended and home-made but maybe you are after exactly that.
As stated earlier, I’m a huge fan of clean edges: straight knit-like stitches, one every other row.
The recipe for treating the selvedge stitches to achieve a straight, clean edge is the following:
- RS: sl1 wyb, <do whatever the pattern calls for>, ktbl, turn.
- WS: sl1 wyf, <do whatever the pattern calls for>, p1, turn.
The trick is to cast on two additional stitches – the selvedge stitches – and work them like this to achieve a clean, finished edge in your knitting project.
Give It a Try!
Try casting on a few stitches and work the edge stitches as described in the section above. Do you like the result? Let me know if this article has been of helpful for your skills in knitting by leaving. comment below!
32 thoughts on “Basic Techniques: Knitting Clean Edges”
I tend to have a looser selvage on one side than the other. The old “tension is different purling than knitting” routine?) How can I avoid that loose end?
I have to say that doing what you described has made a huge difference already.
How do you join in a new ball of yarn when you are slipping the first stitch eg when knitting stripes??
I just join at the second stitch.
I knit continental style, and have come to realize that nitting instructions would be clearer to me if they specified, before making the stitch, if the right leg of the stitch is in front or behind the left needle.
I’m following your directions but my edges don’t look like yours. Mine are long and don’t look like a crocheted row like yours. What am I doing wrong??
When you slip one, do you do it purlwise on bith sides?
I do not find what ktbl means. Am unable to knit without knowing what all the abbreviations mean.
It means “knit through back loop”.
I’m a newbie to knitting but worked hard in the past to make my sewing look professional so appreciate every hint that helps my knitting look better. I will try your technique. You’re explanation was the the most clear of all I’ve seen. Thank you!
I love clean edge !! I give a nice look and the FO looks finished and profesionnal !
I like the Icord edge (worked over 2sts at the begining and 2 sts at the end and on 2rows).
However is not very elastic…
Is the one you shared elastic ?
It’s pretty elastic, I’m using a lot and it blocks nicely.
I’m assuming that the s1 is purl-wise regardless of whether yarn is in front or back? (And thanks for all your freebies — so generous and much appreciated.)
Its sl1 wyb (with yarn in back) on RS rows, sl1 wyf (with yarn in front) on WS rows. My pleasure!
So in simple terms, slip 1 knitwise on right side and slip 1 purlwise on wrong side?
What does ktbl mean?
It means “knit through back loop.”
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Hi can I ask what was the divine yarn you used on the clean edge last picture in your post with the pink hues…..
It’s Malabrigo Yarn Arroyo in the color Purpuras.
What do th abbreviations stand for?
Which one exactly?
I have the same question:
sl 1 = slip 1 stitch, yes?
Need to check – what do “wyb” and “wyf” mean, just to be sure……
Exactly. “wyb” = with yarn in back, “wyf” with yarn in front.
I’ve been slipping RS knit wise with yarn in back and slipping purl wise with yarn in front on WS. It looks pretty good but think maybe slipping yarn in front should be slipped knit wise. Could you clear this up. Thanks
I have just learned the English slip stitch and I really like this one, check it out.
It works! I have tried slipping the first stitch of every row, as per Ravelry suggestions, but that gives one side different than the other. Thanks! This has been a problem for quite awhile.
My pleasure 🙂
so on the end or final stitch of the row, you knit into the back of the stitch and it will give the look of a clean and even stitch row…..
i love a straight clean edge, sometimes i crochet an edge on, and sometimes knit on a boarder. but i like it to look finished
I love knitting but I sometimes don’t like what I do. I do try to be perfect,but….
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