Twisted Chain Selvedges

A Simple Way to Neaten Up your Selvedges

This slip stitch edging technique is a great way to neaten the edges of your knitting and make them look more 'finished'. And it's easy enough for beginners to learn, yay!

The result of adding this slip stitch edging is to have a 'twisted chain' appearance along the selvedges* of your knitting.

These twisted chain edges are smoother, straighter, and (I think) prettier than the usual edges you get on garter stitch and other stitch patterns.

This is by no means a technique that you have to use, but it does add an extra quality to your work.

*Selvedges = the side edges of your knitting that are formed from the first and last stitches of every row.

In the video below, I am using garter stitch to demonstrate the technique, but it is possible to add this edging to many different patterns including stockinette stitch and seed stitch.


(Please note that twisted chain edges are added onto an existing pattern and only involve the first and last stitches of each row.)

First stitch of each row: Slip the stitch knitwise with the yarn at the back (behind the needles/away from you).

Last stitch of each row: A purl stitch with the yarn at the front (in front of the needles/towards you).

And it's as simple as that!

If you are planning to add slip stitch edges to a pattern that doesn't already include them, you should cast on two extra stitches compared to the number of stitches the pattern tells you to cast on. E.g. if a pattern tells you to cast on 50 stitches, then cast on 52.

This is so that you can add this decorative chain edging without interfering with the original pattern.

Adding the chain edges really shouldn't add much width to your knitting project at all, but if you are knitting something that has to have accurate sizing (like a jumper) then it might be an idea to knit a test swatch or two first.

i.e. Knit 2 small rectangles (swatches) that are a certain number of stitches wide and a certain number of rows long - one with the twisted chain edges and one without. Then compare them to see if they differ in overall size, and therefore if you can proceed to add the chain edges to the pattern without altering the overall size too much.

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