5 ways of knitting neat edges!

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Have you ever looked at a finished project and felt a bit disappointed because the edges didn’t turn out as neat as you had wished for?
Blankets, scarves and other projects with visible selvages look so much more finished and detailed if you add neat edging to them.
Luckily, it’s easy to do this as you go, there’s no need to pick up stitches and add borders later.
And the results can be quite different depending on which kind of edge you go for!

Neat edges tip 1:
Tighten up your edge stitches

If you don’t want to go for anything fancy and don’t want to make things harder this is a tip for you!

Maybe you just knitting your first project ever. Maybe you just want to knit your garter stitch without any unnecessary distractions. I don’t know.

But I do know that the easiest way to achieve neater edges is to simply tighten them up a bit to get rid of sloppy stitches.

This is how to do it!

The first stitch of every row is the one that’s going to show at the side of your knitting. If this stitch is to lose, the edge will look a bit sloppy and uneven.

So, to tighten that stitch up you have to give your yarn a tug and hold on to it while knitting the second stitch.

Experiment with this a bit until you learn how tight you should be pulling the yarn strand to get a nice result.

When you’ve done the last stitch of the row, make sure it’s nice and tight also after that you have turned your work over. If not, pull it tight before knitting the first stitch.

Neat edges tip 2:
Slipped stitches add clean edges to your knitting

The easiest and maybe most common one is to add two selvage stitches when casting on.

These stitches are then forming a neat chain along the side of your knitting.

As the stitch is slipped it stretches out over two rows and this will get rid of any loose stitches.

1. Add a chain of V:s to the sides

It’s done by slipping the first stitch of every row purlwise with yarn in back and purl the last stitch.

This works for every stitch pattern, is easy to do, easy to remember and looks really neat. No wonder it’s a popular method!

2. Add a chain with little bumps

This is essentially the same technique as the one just mentioned. But it creates small bumps or “pearls” along the side of your knitting.

It’s done by knitting the last stitch if every row instead of purling it.

This edge is less stretchy than the purl variation.

Neat edges tip 3:
Add garter stitch edges

Add eight selvage stitches, four on each side, and knit these four first and last stitches on every row. This will add neat edges of garter stitch to your knitting.

A garter stitch border can help preventing stockinette from curling, as well as add a nice finish to your project.

Variations of the garter stitch border

  1. You could also do this with two edge stitches on each side. This creates a narrow band along the side. And while it can help prevent curling edges it won’t be as effective as the wider band of four stitches.
  2. To make a garter stitch border tidier you can add two more stitches, and combine this border with an edge of slipped stitches. Methods 1 and 2 above will both work.

Reading tips:
––> Read more about garter stitch here: How to knit the Garter stitch
––> And about garter stitch in the round here: No purl garter stitch in the round
––> Learn how to stop your projects from curling here: Prevent Curling edges in Stockinette
––> All about the Stockinette Stitch this post is massive, if you have any issues with your knitting you should start here!

Neat edges tip 4:
Faux hemline with double stockinette

This edge is barely visible from the right side, from the wrong side it looks like a hemline.

In other words, this edge that is super easy to add as you go looks like you have spent a lot of time on hemming the sides of the garment. Only you didn’t.

This is super easy to do!

When I knit the sample on the images I added 10 extra stitches for the edges, 5 on each side. You could add more stitches than that if you want to, but it has to be an uneven number of edge stitches on each side.

Double stockinette stitch is knit like this: k1, sl 1 wyif
(Which means: Knit one stitch, slip one stitch with your working yarn in front of the work)

So if your edge is five stitches like mine you work every row like this

k1, sl 1wyif, k1, sl 1wyif, k1, work until 5 stitches remain, sl1 wyif, k1, sl1 wyif, k1, sl 1 wyif

Neat edges tip 5:
Add i-cords as you knit

Adding an edging that looks like i-cord haven’t to be hard or take a lot of extra time. But it looks very neat and pretty!

I tried a few different techniques to do this while I did the research for this post. I wasn’t completely happy with any of them so I experimented a bit and came up with an easy and pretty looking variation.

I’m sure not the first one to do an i-cord edge like this, cause nothing is new under the sun, but I haven’t come across it somewhere yet.

I think this looks neat and tidy, but I’m a little displeased because the edges don’t look exactly the same. The right side is more rounded than the left. But it’s the best I have come up with so far. I will update the post if I get a better idea later on!

This is how I prefer to knit an i-cord edging as I go

To add this edging you have to add eight extra selvage stitches when you cast on your project, four on each side.

It’s a good idea to add stitch markers four stitches in on both sides. This will help you remember to knit the i-cord. It’s so irritating when you have to rip up and fix mistakes.

I think of stitch markers as a form of very easy, cheap and reusable insurance 🙂

You add this i-cord edging to both sides at the same time as you’re knitting your main pattern. To do this you have to repeat the following steps for every row.

  • Knit the first four stitches and slip the marker.
  • Follow your chosen pattern until the next marker.
  • Slip the marker, place the yarn in front of your work and slip four stitches purlwise.
  • Turn your work and start over at 1. Be sure to tug the yarn, you want it to pull those slipped stitches backward, this is what’s creating the pretty cord effect.

Troubleshooting the i-cord edging:

You may not see how this is going to turn out before you have knitted a couple of rows. As long as the stitches are attached to the needle they can’t fold over properly.

I used some thicker sock yarn, it’s a bit rough and clings to itself a bit.

This caused that I had to pull the edges downwards from the needle a couple of times to make the i-cord fall in place. So if it looks a bit messy, try to pull gently to let the stitches relax a bit.