5 Ways to Make Neat Side Edges

When we knit scarves, blankets and other projects that have exposed sides, the look of those sides can make or break the overall look of the project. 

Thankfully, with just a bit of planning it’s quite easy to turn uneven edges into a lovely chain of stitches or a narrow band with a neat pattern, or even an edge that looks like an i-cord. It all depends on the type of selvedge stitches you choose for your project. 

I picked 5 different types that create lovely edges and can be used in any project. 

Let’s take a look at them one by one:

1. SLIP STITCH CHAIN EDGE

This is a champion of selvedge stitches. It is a very popular way to make neat edges, and there is a reason for that – it is simple and easy to remember. It creates beautiful sides and works great with any stitch pattern. 

To make this type of selvedge stitch, cast on 2 extra stitches. For example, if your pattern tells you to cast on 50 stitches, cast on 52.

Then slip the first stitch and purl the last stitch of every row

Here’s how to do it step by step:

Click here to watch the video that shows how it’s done. Demonstration of this way starts at 00:18.

1. With the yarn at the back of the work, slip the first stitch purlwise (insert the right needle into the stitch from right to left).

2. Work all stitches in the pattern of your choice, and stop when you come to the last stitch.

3. Purl the last stitch.

Repeat same steps in every row (both right side and wrong side), and you’ll get a beautiful chain of stitches at each side of the work. 

If the chain of stitches is too loopy and you want to fix it, pull the yarn a bit after you work the second stitch of every row. 

Each of the “links” of the chain is created every two rows. That’s handy when you need to count your rows. Simply count the links of the chain and double the number.

2. SLIP STITCH KNOTTED EDGE

This is a go-to way to make selvedge stitches if you want the edge to resemble a string of beads. 

The edge is not as stretchy as the “slip stitch chain edge” we’ve just discussed. The knotted edge holds shape much better and doesn’t create loopy edges.

This selvedge is made the same way as the “slip stitch chain” selvedge, but instead of purling the last stitch, we knit it. 

It’s incredible how this small difference can drastically change the look of the edge.

To make this selvedge, add 2 stitches to the cast on. Then slip the first stitch and knit the last stitch of every row.

Here’s how to do it step by step:

Click here to watch the video that shows how it’s done. Demonstration of this way starts at 01:37.

1. With the yarn at the back of the work (it is VERY important
to keep the yarn at the back of the work), slip the first stitch
purlwise (insert the right needle into the stitch from right to left).

2. Work all stitches in the pattern of your choice, and stop when you come to the last stitch.

3. Knit the last stitch.

Repeat same steps in every row (both right side and wrong side), and you’ll get a set of tiny knots at each side of the work. 

You can get a similar look if you knit first and last stitches of
every row, creating a “garter stitch selvedge”. But the good thing about
the “slip stitch knotted edge” is that it doesn’t stretch as much as
garter stitch. That makes it a slightly better-looking option.

If you prefer to use garter stitch for making your selvedges, take a look at the way #3.

3. DOUBLE GARTER EDGE

This type of selvedge requires 4 extra stitches because we make a very narrow band of 2 stitches on each side of the work. 

This selvedge has an additional bonus – it somewhat prevents edges from curling. 

The not-so-good thing about it is that it might not look well with some stitch patterns. To make sure you like the look of the double garter selvedge with the main pattern used in your project, make a little swatch before you start your project.

To make this type of selvedge, cast on the number of stitches required for your project plus 4 additional stitches.

Then knit the first 2 stitches and the last 2 stitches of every row.

Here’s how to do it step by step:

Click here to watch the video that shows how it’s done. Demonstration of this way starts at 04:02

1. Knit 2 stitches.

2. Work in the pattern of your choice until you come to the last 2 stitches.

3. Knit the last 2 stitches.

Repeat these same steps in every row.



4. SEED STITCH EDGE

This way is very similar to the double garter stitch. The idea is the same – we make a narrow band of 2 stitches on each side of the work. 

The look is different. Thanks to the little “purls” of the seed stitch this selvedge can be used as a decoration on a delicate project like lace. To find out whether you like the look of this selvedge, make a swatch before you start working on your project.

To make this type of selvedge, cast on the number of stitches required for your project plus 4 extra stitches.

Then work the first two stitches and the last two stitches of
every row in seed stitch so that the first and the last stitches are
knit
.

Here’s how to do it step by step:

Click here to watch the video that shows how it’s done. Demonstration of this way starts at 05:53.

1. Knit 1, purl 1.

2. Work in the pattern of your choice until you come to the last 2 stitches.

3. Purl 1, knit 1.

Repeat these steps in every row.

5. I-CORD SELVAGE

If you like to decorate your projects with an applied i-cord, you will appreciate this type of selvedge. It creates edges that look very much like i-cords

Edges like these ones will give your project a sophisticated couture look, so this type of selvedge is definitely worth a try. It looks best when used with a textured pattern like garter stitch, seed stitch, moss stitch, brioche or cables (remember to use reversible cables for scarves and blankets)

BUT

This selvedge is the most complicated one of the five types described here. So be alert, especially when you set up the pattern in the first few rows.

The i-cord edge is made on 4 stitches at each side of the work. That means that you will need to add 8 stitches to your cast on

To make sure you remember to treat these groups of 4 stitches as selvedges, separate them from your work with stitch markers. This will save you from tinking later on if you accidentally work the edge stitches in the main pattern.

Now that you have the stitches cast on and marked with stitch markers, let’s get to making those beautiful i-cords:

Click here to watch the video that shows how it’s done. Demonstration of this way starts at 07:52.

Row 1:

1. [Slip 1 stitch with the yarn at the back of the work, knit 1], work brackets twice.

2. Work in the main pattern to the last 4 stitches (the stitch marker will tell you when to stop).

3. [Slip 1 stitch with the yarn at the back of the work, knit 1], work brackets twice.

Row 2:

1. [Slip 1 stitch with the yarn at the front of the work, purl 1], work brackets twice.

2. Work in the main pattern to the last 4 stitches (the stitch marker will tell you when to stop).

3. [Slip 1 stitch with the yarn at the front of the work, purl 1], work brackets twice.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 throughout the project.

The i-cord will be curling in towards Row 2 (the reverse stockinette side in the photo below). Keep that in mind when you plan this selvedge. Depending on the main pattern, you might want to have that side as a right or as a wrong side of your work.

Now that you know 5 ways to make neat edges, uneven and crooked sides won’t be a part of your projects anymore 🙂

Keep your edges beautiful!

5 ways to make neat side edges in knitting | 10 rows a day
5 ways to make neat side edges in knitting | 10 rows a day
5 ways to make neat side edges in knitting - slip stitch chain selvedge | 10 rows a day
5 ways to make neat side edges in knitting - double garter selvedge | 10 rows a day
5 ways to make neat side edges in knitting - i-cord edge | 10 rows a day