Tuesday Tip: Mattress Stitch Selvedge Edge

Tuesday Tip copyWell 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.

Slipped Stitch Selvedge

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.

Sloppy second stitch

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.

Seaming slipped stitch edge

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

Stockinette edge

A picture’s worth a thousand words

Stockinette selvedge edge

Stockinette selvedge edge

Slipped Sttich Selvedge edge

Slipped Stitch Selvedge edge

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.

For more tips LIVE, join me in one of my live classes.  Keep watching the Upcoming Classes page.  I update it frequently.

For other knitting tips from Patty’s Knitting Bag of tricks you can learn 2 1/2 hours worth!

Interweave Knitting Bag of Tricks

Knitting Bag of Tricks

To read past Tuesday tips, just click on the Tutorial category of the blog (or here I did it for you!)

If you have a “is there a better way to do that”, or “how do you do that” question, leave me a comment, and I’ll add it to the Tuesday Tip list!

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  • Lucy Neatby October 6, 2015   Reply →

    Totally agree with you!

  • Lucy Neatby October 6, 2015   Reply →

    I totally agree with you!

  • Magali October 7, 2015   Reply →

    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?


  • Jan January 12, 2021   Reply →

    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?

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