This type of edging is used in traditional Latvian mittens. I first saw it in a photo that was in the “Knitting Around the World” book by Lela Nargi. It was called “twisted edging” in the book, and after doing some research, I learned that it is also called “Latvian Twist”.
Then I completely forgot about this little beauty until one lady mentioned it at the K-W Knitting Guild meeting where I was invited as a guest speaker. She used this edging to decorate the top of the socks, and it looked gorgeous.
This edging is not just beautiful, it is also stretchy. That makes it perfect for socks and mittens. It will also look great on a brim of a hat, as well as at the bottom of a sweater or sleeves.
Now that we know why this little technique is so handy, let’s take a look at how it works.
If you are a visual learner, watch every step explained below in this video tutorial, or scroll to the bottom of this page to watch an embedded version of the video.
The general idea is to twist the edge after every few stitches. Often the twist happens every 4 stitches, but you can use any number of stitches between twists in your edging, just make sure you are consistent.
Cast on a number of stitches that is the multiple of the number of stitches you plan to work between twists. I’ll do twists every 4 stitches, and I’ll cast on 16 stitches for my little swatch.
Use any type of cast on you like. I used the long-tail cast on.
Work in garter stitch for four rows or rounds.
If you work back and forth, knit all stitches in every row.
If you make this edging on a project worked in the round, knit all stitches in one round, then purl all stitches in the next round, and repeat this sequence one more time.
This is the step where all the fun happens 🙂 It could be a bit confusing at first, so I broke it down into smaller steps.
3.1. Knit 4 stitches (or whatever number you picked in step 1).
3.2. Bring the working yarn to the right to keep it out of the way, then move the left needle to the back and around the work to twist the edging.
Repeat steps 3.1 and 3.2 to the end of the row or round.
To make sure the work doesn’t get too many twists when you make this border in the round, alternate the twists – first, twist the edge to the back, and then twist it to the front. This will slightly change the look of the edging, but you will avoid twisting the edge too much.
Alternatively, make this edging back and forth, and then join the stitches for working in the round. When you weave in the tails, stitch the edges of the border together with the cast-on tail.
That’s it – the twisted edging is finished. Now work on the project as instructed in the pattern, or as you like if you are a brave soul who knits without patterns 🙂
This technique is easy to adjust to change the look of the finished edging. As you already know, we can change the number of stitches between twists to make the twists more crowded or more spread out along the edging.
We can also change the number of rows or rounds that we work in step 2. If we work 6 rows instead of 4, the edging will be puffier and more textured. And, we can work those rows in stockinette stitch instead of the garter stitch.
But the most beautiful adjustment is to make the edging multicoloured, just as the edgings on traditional Latvian mittens.
To do that, use one contrasting colour to cast on stitches and work all stitches in garter stitch for two rows or rounds. Then attach the other contrasting colour, and use it to work stitches for the next two rows or rounds. Finally, attach the main colour and use it to work the row or round with the twists as described in step 3.
As a result, you’ll make an edging that will turn your project into a one of a kind creation.