Smoothing edges

Continuing with my quest to bring you useful knitting tips and tricks I have thought about what to show you next. Considering what I had knit lately and what is going on in the store, I realized it might be good to give you a brush up on how to shape a neckline on a garment.

This task is, as many others, not really difficult. However, there are a few pointers I can give you that are prone to make the finishing a bit easier.

Here I have an example how the instructions for a neckline can look like:

Neckline shaping

Work 68 (72, 78, 82, 86, 92) sts as established, bind off 12 sts, work to end of row. From here work both fronts separately. Work WS on right front. Bind off 4 sts on neck edge once, then 2 sts 3 times. On next RS row, k1, ssk, knit to end. Work WS row. Repeat these two rows 4 (4, 5, 6, 7, 7) times more. Work 4 rows even. Repeat decrease row once more and work until armhole measures 7.5 (8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11)”. Place sts on holder.

Left front: Bind off 4 sts on neck edge once, then 2 sts 3 times. On next RS row, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. Work WS row. Repeat these two rows 4 (4, 5, 6, 7, 7) times more. Work 4 rows even. Repeat decrease row once more and work until armhole measures 7.5 (8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11)”. Place sts on holder.

If you have knit a garment before, this is no news to you. Now you get to see how I do the above – not with the same stitch count, but the idea is definitely the same.

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First, you knit to the point where you are supposed to bind off the stitches for neckline. Unless it is a very specific design it will be a certain number of the middle stitches, i.e. they have the same count of stitches on both sides left. Here I have 40 sts, and I am going to bind off the 10 in the middle, meaning I knit 15 before starting to bind off.

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At this point you either bind off with the yarn you have been working with, which means you are going to have to join fresh when continuing on the other half (which is the left front), or, you start a new ball right away and leave the end to finish what is the left front. Both works, and it really doesn’t matter.

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Knit to the end of row, then work the WS row.

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Turn work and slip the first stitch purlwise. Slipping that first stitch will give you a smoother edge on the neckline. Otherwise you get ‘steps’. Then bind off the required amount of stitches.

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Always slip the first stitch before binding off.

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After having bound off all the stitches, there might be some decreases to work. Finish with a WS and then bind off on the RS (unless the pattern says differently.)

Now to the other half of the front, also called left front:

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On WS, slip the first stitch in preparation of the bind off.

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Join the yarn.

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Then bind off the required amount of stitches. Work to end of row. Work RS row and continue with shaping as written in pattern.

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There. A neckline ready to pick up stitches.

You might find written ‘working both sides at the same time’. I am not fond of this instruction. What it basically means, is that you work one row of the right front, then one row of the left front – because the stitches still sit on the same needle, and so you finish at the same time – well, one after another, but basically both are done. I prefer to do one front after the other, this, however, is preference, as so many things in knitting.

Happy Knitting, as ever!

– Mona

2 thoughts on “Smoothing edges

  1. Mona says:

    Hi Susan,

    you are absolutely right – the bias bind off is even smoother. I use that when I have edges that stay ‘unfinished’ or ‘raw’. Slipping just one stitch is fine on a neckline when you are going to pick up stitches for a collar or other finishing after.

    Best,
    Mona

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