Problem with edges

Hello everyone, after being a member of this web community for almost 3 years I finally decided to practice my cast on, knits, and purls (continental style). My biggest problem seems to be the lateral edges of my swatches; the loops are very loose. I have tried giving the yarn some light pulls after the stitch is made to no avail. I have some books on knitting but I haven't found the answer to my problem yet, and the videos I have found online don't address the issue thoroughly. My only experience is with crochet since I've been doing it for almost 7 years. Any advice for a beginner will be greatly appreciated.


smalltownknitguy's picture

I have the same problem. Recently tried slipping the first stitch of every row instead of knitting it (some patterns will tell you to do this). This helps my edges to not have those huge loops. Hope this helps.

TheKnittingMill's picture

There is a little trick to combat the looseness of that first stitch. When you start a new row, knit (or purl) the first stitch as normal (no matter how tightly you pull the yarn for that first stitch, the loose loop from the row before won't be tightened). Then, when you place your right knitting needle into the second stitch...STOP....before you wrap the needle with the yarn, tug on the working yarn a bit. Don't go all Ike Turner on it, just gently pull until you get out the slack in the row below. That loose loop will snug right up then you can wrap the needle and pull it through as normal to complete the stitch. That's it! As Russell mentioned, you can slip the first stitch purlwise to neaten the exposed edge (maybe for a scarf) and it makes it easier to pick up stitches from that edge later if you're, for example, knitting the heel of a sock but you will only have 1 stitch per 2 rows, so keep that in mind. When I'm going to sew pieces of a garment together I use the other technique I mentioned.

purlyman's picture

Slipping the first (or last) stitch might be a good option as Russell has said. Here's some more on that:

Chain selvedge a.k.a. "slipped selvedge"

Loose side stitches/Messy edges


vsidart's picture

I agree with all the other comments. There's also an outstanding book called "The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques" by Nancie M. Wiseman (Martingale 2002) that gives techniques for almost all edge patterns. Most are very simple, but all give really nice edges. The whole book it great, but next time you're at the LYS, take a look at those couple of pages- It's really worth it!

cappyknit's picture

Guys, thank you so much for all the input. The edges are looking much better now and I think I'm ready to start my first project, a scarf. I picked a simple pattern from one of the books I've bought in the past, but you have to start somewhere.
russellboyd56 and Millard: Thanks for your tips, both of them worked great!
purly man: Great tutorials you sent!
vsidart: The book is now on my list of things to buy this summer!

Thanks for all the advice guys!