One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “How do I make my edges look nicer?” Many knitters have heard that they should slip the first or last stitch of each row, or that they should pull the first stitch tight, but none of those methods really does the job. I have a better way and it’s really easy!
Knit or purl the first stitch of the row as usual, without worrying about tension. Stick the needle into the next stitch, but before you wrap it, give the working yarn a hard sharp tug, then go ahead and wrap and complete the stitch as normal.
This is a variation on tightening the first stitch, but it works much better than just tugging that first stitch tight. When you just tighten the first stitch, it will just loosen up again as you move the needle to stick it into the second stitch. With the needle already in the second stitch, the first one will stay nice and tight.
I’m slowly adding helpful pages of helpful superhero knitting tips. The first one is on making a gauge swatch, which is the question I’m probably asked most often at the yarn store.
I know that gauge swatching isn’t as fun as just diving in and making something, but you know what’s even less fun? Making a whole sweater and finding out that it is big enough to use as a circus tent – or small enough for a chihuahua. Don’t let that happen to you!
Instead, make swatching fun! Get a nice beverage and call it a “getting to know your yarn” session. A first date, so to speak! Get cozy with your yarn and start asking it what needles it prefers, or if it has ideas on the pattern you’re planning to knit. Find out if your yarn and your hands get along. THEN and ONLY THEN are you ready for the long-term commitment of a garment.
ps. Please Please PLEASE wash your swatch! They can lie to you if they’re not washed. They’ll sweet talk ya and whisper sweet nothings in your ear and promise that they have the right gauge, but a good swish in warm water is like truth serum for a gauge swatch, so always SWATCH & SWISH!