Tuesday Tip: Mattress Stitch Selvedge Edge
Well over 2 years ago I wrote a little blog post called Top Ten Least Favorite Knitting Myths that ended up going a bit viral. Some of these myths I bust in Patty’s Knitting Bag of Tricks online / DVD class. Today’s tip is devoted to #5 from the list –
Mattress Stitch Selvedge Edge
In a seamed knit piece, the selvedge stitch, is the one that gets seamed away. When you slip the first stitch of every row, you are moving the stitch from one needle to the other without pulling the new yarn through it. This causes an elongated stitch at the edge that covers two rows.
Although this creates a lovely finished edge if you are making a scarf or shawl, there are two issues that for many knitters (me included) makes our mattress stitch look, less then wonderful.
First, the slack of the elongated stitch, also effects the way the second stitch looks, a bit large and sloppy.
Second, since the edge stitch travels over two rows, the running bars do not come out of each row, but rather two running bars occupy the same space. This means over 10 rows, you will basically have 5 spots to put your seaming yarn.
Keeping the edge stitch in stockinette make a much neater edge. Here, even going under two bars at a time, the seaming is much neater
A picture’s worth a thousand words
Best rule of thumb is, if it’s a finished edge, make it pretty, but if you’re going to do something to that edge, like seam or pick up stitches, don’t add a slip stitch edge . . . stick to the pattern.
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Totally agree with you!
I totally agree with you!
Thank you for this, I never knew!
I’ve watched your Explorations in Cables class so many times – I love it, you totally transformed my knitting life!
I also have the Advanced Knitting Fixes but my internet speed is very slow and I haven’t been able to download that one yet for some reason.
Anyway, I was hoping you might be able to advise me….I’m knitting “Brick” by Clare Lee and somehow I forgot most (not all) of the increases at the beginning and end of the rows!
Is there anyway to add these without frogging everything?
Hi, The Interweave classes are also available on DVD if that’s better. They can exchange it. You can find the links here: https://pattylyons.com/classes/online-classes-2/. You could order the DVD and then return the digital.
Now as far as the increases, that depends on how many rows past the missing increases you went, and the width of the piece. Remember when you knit up to the spot of a missing increase (something I teach on the Advanced Knitting Fixes DVD) and drop down to put an increase in, you will have to steal yarn from the surrounding stitches. If you have multiple rows of missing increases, those stitches will be too tight and distorted. Best to use a technique from each DVD
1) From Knitting ER: insert a smaller circular needle a few rows above the first missing increase row and rip down to it. Say you were supposed to increase every six rows and you missed it three times and you have 24 rows worked with no increases. I would put the needle in on row 11 – 5 rows above the 1st missing increase row – and rip down to the safety line
2) From Advanced Knitting Fixes – Knit up to the spot of the missing increase, drop down and put it in.
Does slipping the first stitch of each row make for a better cast on when picking up stitches for the front bands of a cardigan?
Not at all, just the opposite. Just as it seaming, you will only have once space to go in when you should have two. This will make a very unstable pick up for your button band.
I…don’t suppose there is a fix for that? Like if I haven’t picked up the stitches yet but I did most of the selvedge slipped, is starting over the only way out? (I have a lot of confidence in dropping down and fixing knitting pretty much everywhere but the edges, so I can’t wrap my head around whether it’s possible.)
Do you have Knitting ER? I cover picking up a dropped stitch on the edge for regular, garter and slipped stitch edge. If you don’t have too much of it knit, you can try dropping the edge stitch and laddering it back up using both legs of the large loop as if it was knit every row. This might make your edge too tight, so it’s going to depend on the fiber used (wool will be more flexible than cotton) and how many rows you’ve done. You could also ladder up some rows (say 4) as regular and then one for slipped stitch. This would mirror the rows you skip in pick up and might allow for the edge to not be too tight – https://pattylyons.com/product/knitting-er/
Thanks so much Patty! I’ll check that out. Laddering up an edge stitch is hard for me to picture so the video would be super useful.