Edges Curling on Knitting.

March 28, 2008 at 1:14 pm Leave a comment

Dear SweaterBabe,

I’m a new knitter. Why is it that the edges curl on the scarf that I knitted? Thank You.

Dear New Knitter,

I’m guessing that you are doing the Stockinette Stitch, i.e. knitting row, then purling a row.  Unfortunately, this is a pattern stitch which will give you curled edges.

These same curled edges are like what you see for the rolled collars or cuffs of many kid’s sweaters.  You often see them as the rolled brim of a hat as well.

Unfortunately, it is just the nature of this stitch pattern that causes the edges to curl.  Basically, the “surface tension” on the purled side is stronger than the knit side, causing the edges to curl in.

What can you do about it? 

Well, not much.  Especially for a scarf.  As you make the scarf longer and longer, it will gain in it’s tendency to curl and you’ll end up with a rolled scarf (which was sold as a style this last season by many stores, including the Gap).

I generally never recomment using Stockinette Stitch to make a basic scarf, because of this rolling issue.

Garter stitch is better for scarves (just knitting every row), as it will lay flat and looks the same on both sides.

Some scarves that have Stockinette stitch may not roll so much because they have substantial edgings or other stitch patterns that “fight” or “counter” the curling, and give you a finished scarf that generally lays flat. However, combining stitch patterns maybe something that is a little advanced for a new knitter… better for a future project.

Hope that helps!

— SweaterBabe


Entry filed under: Ask SweaterBabe, Knitting Questions and How to.

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