Machine Knitting/Edges


Casting on edges on a single bed apparatusEdit

Cast on edges without ribbingEdit

You can make a finished edge by twisting the yarn once round the needles. Do not make the loops too tight. However you do not do that very often, as you usually begin with a hem.

Cast on with weaving brushesEdit

Set the weaving pattern levers. Bring every other needle into the knitting position and every other needle in resting position but so that they are taken down on the next row.

Thread the yarn and lay it over the needles in the resting position, and fasten it to the first and last needle by twisting it round them. Hold the end of the yarn while you are knitting the first row. Make a few rows before you release the weaving brushes.

Casting on with a thread through the open loops.Edit

Bring the needles into the knitting position and every other needle into the resting position. Set the button for idling position. Place a nylon thread or other smooth thread inside the gate. Set the tension dial to 0. Hold both ends of the nylon thread while knitting the first row. The needles in the resting position go down. Adjust the tension dial to the required number and make a few rows before you draw out the nylon thread.

You can use this method if you want to knit a rib by hand. Do not begin with the rib, as maybe you will not be able to stretch it far enough to the required needle number. The thread going through the loops is holding them, so just draw it straight. Notice that every other stitch to be picked up is turned.

Cast on beginning with a hemEdit

This is easiest if you have a casting-on comb. Bring the needles into the knitting position and every other in the resting position. Hang the comb on the gate pegs and set the idle button. Knit the first row with the tension dial on 0. Release the comb from the gate pegs and pull it down. Adjust the tension dial to one or two numbers lower than the rest of the garment. Make twice as many rows as required for the height of the hem. Then bring every other needle into the resting position again and hang the loops from the comb on these. You can use one or both extension rails to lay inside the hem to avoid the stitches falling off. Adjust the tension dial and go on knitting.

This hem is likely to roll although you make it high. It helps a little if you begin with a high number on the tension dial and gradually go down to where it starts to bend, and then gradually go up again. However, there is another way to do it. Cast on with every other needle with half of the required number on the tension dial, until half way along of the back side of the hem, and then bring all needles into the knitting position and the tension dial to the right number and make the rest of the hem. A row of holes will come where you added the rest of the needles, but it will be on the wrong side. In this way the hem will not roll. You can also add the rest of the needles where the hem is going to fold down, if you want a mouse-tooth edge.

Fake ribEdit

Make a hem in the same way but only use every other needle and half the tension dial number for the whole hem. When you have finished the hem add the rest of the needles and hang the loops on the opposite needles. Adjust the tension dial. Do not make the hem too small.

Casting on with very fine yarnEdit

If you use very fine yarn, you may prefer to sew a hem after having finished the garment. Then you may secure the open loops with tape, or just with a zigzag before you hem it.

Lay the fine knitting bar inside the gate and hang the comb on the gate pegs. Begin with a fairly high number on the tension dial and use all needles. Lay the nylon thread inside the gate. Knit one row. Set the tension dial at the very lowest number and knit a few rows to secure the first row. Adjust the tension dial to the required number. After some rows you can pull out the nylon thread and carry on.

Casting on with the ribberEdit

You can either cast on with two rounds of circular knitting as described in all instruction books, or you can do it by racking the needles, if you want an elastic border, say for socks.

Bring the needles up for 1/1 knitting (1 knit, 1 purl) while the racking grip handle stays at 5. If the last needle on the plain knitter is on the left side, you shift to 3 at the racking grip and if the last needle is on the right side, you shift to 7. Make one row, hang the comb and weights in and shift back to 5. Then go on knitting.

Casting on for 2/2 knittingEdit

Bring the needles in position for 2/2 knitting (2 knit, 2 purl) while the racking grip stays at 5.

Shift 1½ number to the side where the outermost needles on the plain knitter are. Knit one row, hang in the comb and weights, do two rows of circular knitting, and shift back again. You can leave out the circular knitting, but then you will end with one needle on each side.

Knitting with every other needleEdit

You may cast on as usual with every other needle and use a bigger stitch size. When you transfer the stitches to the single bed you must place them on needles which already have stitches. However, you can also use every third needle on both needle beds; then you must move the racking grip handle half a number. You cannot transfer the stitches, so you had better make the ribber after you have finished the garment and allow excess yarn. Then place the garment on the machine with the right side out and the ribbing over it and cast off both pieces at the same time.

Casting on by handEdit

If you want the beginning to look as if you have knitted it by hand, you can make a finished casting on at the single bed and then knit one row. Connect the ribber and transfer every other stitch to that, let down the ribber half way, and place the comb carefully. It must only go between the stitches, not inside them. Push up the ribber again, hang weights on and go on knitting. This way of doing it takes more time, but it looks nice. In any case, this is for experienced knitters.

Casting on with fine yarnEdit

If you are using fine yarn and use a stitch size less than 5, you cannot make the ribber with every other needle, as that will be too loose. Do not knit the ribber until you have finished the garment. Afterwards you can make a rib using each needle and half of the needle number that you used for the jumper. Be sure to use a stitch size that is big enough, so the knitting can be stretched to the double width. Make the last row in a bigger stitch size. Knit a few rows with contrast coloured yarn, and cut the yarn off. Release the knitting by pushing the carriage over it. Now you can hang the casting on loops from the jumper with the right side out on the machine. Place the stitches from the rib underneath the contrast colored yarn, and avoid pulling them behind the latches, but leave them on the hooks. Unravel the contrast colored yarn. Then you can cast off both pieces at the same time.

Before you make the rib, you can do a little test to make sure that it can be stretched far enough. Cast on until needle number 12 in each side, for example, and hang on the side hooks instead of a comb and hang a little weight through the two holes in the hooks. Make about 20 rows, and afterwards a few rows of contrast coloured yarn and release the knitting from the machine. Lay it on an ironing board and pull it so the circular rows are stretched. Pin it all the way round. Now you can see how far the rib can be stretched by measuring how many stitches there are per cm and how many rows you have to make.

This process takes a rather long time, but instead of making a rib, you can do some circular knitting with all the needles, perhaps a little tighter than the rest. Afterwards you transfer the stitches from the ribber to the back needle bed. This hem is also likely to roll, but not as much as if you made it on the single bed.


If you want a non-elastic border, you can rack the rib stitches. Cast on in 1/1 rib and do two rounds of circular knitting. Make one row and set the row counter on 4 (1 casting-on row + 2 rounds circular knitting + 1 row rib = 4). Turn the racking grip 1 number, whereby the needles shift their position. Knit 2 rows, and turn the grip back again and make 2 rows. Continue in this way until the border is high enough. This edge is especially nice for the front border, and if you use that, it is nice to make the rib in the same way. It also has the advantage that you can count how many stitches there are per cm when you make the front border.

Neckband for single bedsEdit

You can either make the neckband when you have made the neckline, or you can end with contrast colored yarn and leave it until you have made both the front and the back, so that you do not need to have a seam in each side of the neckband. If you make a cardigan, it is nicer to make the neckband the whole way round, but if it is a jumper you can just as well have a seam in both sides, as you must have a seam in at least one side.

When you have made the neckline, you begin the neckband with the same size stitch or bigger than you used for the jumper. You gradually reduce the stitch size making 2 - 4 rows with each size until you reach size 1 or 0. Now you make one row at 10 and go down again to 1 or 0. Then enlarge the stitch size again in the same way until you reach the same stitch size as the first row, but knit the very last row on the largest stitch size. It is then easier to seam. End with a few rows of contrast coloured yarn, and release the knitting. Afterwards you iron it by covering it with a wet cloth, unless it is synthetic yarn, in which case you can moisten it or put the stitches on a knitting needle. You can iron it anyway if you are very careful not to hit the right side of the hem but only the last few rows of the inside. How you seam the open loops down, is described in the chapter about mounting.

Neckband with the ribberEdit

Begin with the same stitch size that you used for the ribber at the beginning of the jumper, maybe 3 or 4. It depends on how fine the yarn is, that you are using. Reduce the size gradually by 1/3 stitch size, and make 2 - 4 rows with each size until size 0 or even less if it is possible. Then you gradually enlarge the stitch size in the same way as you reduced it. You knit the last row on stitch size 5 or 6, so it is easier to seam down. End with contrast colored yarn and release the knitting from the machine. When you iron the neckband it is important not to stretch it, because then the stitches will be smaller and difficult to get rid of. Instead, you can iron them at both sides, so both the knit and purl stitches are ironed.

If you have only used every other needle for the sweater, you need not transfer every other stitch but just push up the needles at the ribber. You can use a smaller stitch size. A row of holes will appear, but it will not show very much because the purl stitches hide themselves.

Of course there are many other ways of finishing off a neck. For example, you can knit some rows of plain knitting and cast off. Then the edge will roll by itself. However, remember that the pattern is calculated with a 3 cm neck edge, so then the neck will be bigger, unless you add 3 cm to both the width and the depth. If you knit a dress for a little girl and want to include a collar, you can simply cast off the neck as it is; it will not roll, because it is round. But remember that the pattern is calculated with a 3 cm neckband.

Tapering neckEdit

On the back of the neck you use contrast coloured yarn. At the front you can begin tapering the neck at the same time as you begin to cast off for the armhole. It will be suitable if you decrease one stitch in the beginning of every third row. The angle will then be 25° vertical. You can seam one shoulder, and knit one side of the neckband and the back neck at the same time or you can make the three pieces by themselves.

Single bedEdit

On the back neck you pick up the stitches behind the contrast coloured yarn, which you ravel off afterwards. On the sloping side you pick up the stitches one stitch from the edge. Pick up two stitches next to each other and pass over one stitch. It will be suitable if you have cast off for every third row for the tapering. In the same way as for the round neck you gradually reduce the stitch size, make one row on stitch size 10, and enlarge gradually again. Make the last row on stitch size 10. At the same time you cast off one stitch on the tapering side on every row (not only in the beginning of the row). At the backside of the hem make a stitch on the tapering side again on each row. Knit contrast coloured yarn and take off the knitting.

You sew the tapering together and afterwards you sew a row of chain stitches in the middle, so it looks like you have knitted it by hand and decreased one stitch on every side of the tapering. That must be done before you sew the seam down.

With the ribberEdit

You do this in another way. You do not pick up stitches, but make the border separately. Measure the rib at the beginning and place it on an ironing board and stretch it, so that the circular knitting lies smooth. Measure the whole piece. Divide the number of stitches by the measurement of cm. Now you know how many rib stitches there are per cm. Measure the sloping sides of the neckline and multiply it by the number of stitches per cm. Now you know how much to cast on for the sloping sides. Count the stitches at the back neck. You have to make two pieces, one for the sloping side where you add the back neck stitches, and one for the other sloping side. You can also count the number of rows and decide how many rows you want for the neckband. You do not make the neckband double, but begin with two rounds of circular knitting and a low stitch size and enlarge it gradually to the stitch size you used beneath. Transfer the stitches to the single bed. Move the comb and weights. Place the neck edge with the wrong side out, and pick up first the end stitches, then the middle and continue to pick up in the middle until there are only a few stitches between them, so that you can distribute them yourself. Do not pull them behind the latches, but leave them on the hooks, otherwise it is difficult to cast off, which you do without making a row.

You sew together the tapering by catching half a knit stitch in each side, and next time you catch the stitch one row higher and two stitches aside, so you only use the knit stitches. Please look at the figure. In this way you will get the correct angle for the tapering. Two little seams are left on the backside. You can seam them down by hand and afterwards sew a row of chain stitches over the seam.


If you have made a waistcoat, you want an edge round the armholes. You can make the armholes deeper, to make space for an edge. If you want a 3 cm wide edge, you can calculate 4-5 cm, because it will be sloped, as you sew it together in the same way as the tapering neck.


If you have made a cardigan with two front pieces, you may want an edge, unless you have made the pieces so wide, that you can make a double border.

For single bedEdit

You pick up stitches one stitch from the edge. You can use this rule: Skip a row two times and take the row besides one time. You can use a stitch size one number lower than you used for the cardigan. You make the border double width. If you make buttonholes you can spread them by pushing up the needles to use a little, so that you can chance the distance between them if you find that it is not exact enough. If, for example, you make the border 24 rows (12 rows wide), you can make holes after 4 rows and after 20 rows. Move 2 needles to the neighbouring needle on each side. After one row turn the thread over them 180° and place it on the needle again. After 24 rows you knit contrast coloured yarn and release the knitting. Instead of moving the stitches to the neighbouring needles, you can knit 2 stitches with a little piece of yarn in another colour and then go on knitting. When you have finished the border you can iron it with a wet cloth or with steam. Then you can pull out the little strand. Before you seam the border, you must sew the buttonholes together and use the same yarn you used for the knitting. Fasten the yarn inside the border and sew alternately a stitch from each layer and some in between at the ends of the hole. If the yarn does not tolerate ironing, you can use the first method.

Selvedge in ribEdit

You measure the length of the edge including the neckband and the rib at the beginning, and note the measurement. Then you measure the rib at the beginning; it is easiest at the back, because it is the longest. You know how many stitches there are, so you can divide by the measurement in cm. So you know how many stitches there are per cm. Multiply it with the measurement of the selvedge. Now you know how many stitches to cast on for the front borders. If you have rib borders below and on the neck, you had better use a few more stitches where the rib borders are, because they will move up or down a little. You can also measure how many rows you want. Don't pick up stitches, but make the selvedge separately. Cast on with circular knitting, this gives a nice edge. Say you have decided to make 16 rows. You can make buttonholes after 10 rows. You can move 2 stitches, one to each side, one at the back needle bed and one at the front. Push up the empty needles again. Knit one row. Turn the thread over them 180°.

If you knit the front borders by racking every other row as previously mentioned, you can make the buttonholes in another way. When you have racked after 10 rows, make one row before you make the buttonholes. Choose them so that they will be racked after next row, then you need not turn them. After 16 rows you take off the comb and weights. Now place the one front piece on the machine with the wrong side out (Be sure to have the buttonholes in the right side). Place it on the needles over the border, but do not pull the needle up in the resting position; let the stitches stay on the hooks of the needles, otherwise you can't cast off without knitting a row. Place the end stitches on the edge and the middle in the middle. Place some more stitches where the rib borders are, and then gather the middle of the knitting and the middle of the needles, until you can spread them by yourself. Cast it all off at once.

If the cardigan has a tapering neck, you can make the front borders in the same way, maybe one piece together with the back neck, if there is enough space on the machine.

Rib knitted collarsEdit

If you do not want a big neck, add 3 cm both in the height and width.

If you only made one front piece, you must make a slit. You divide the front where the slit is going to begin, and knit one side at a time. You can cast off a few stitches in the middle to give space for front borders.

Make the neck as described in the chapter knitting to measure, but before you knit contrast coloured yarn, move every fourth stitch to the neighbouring needle. You need not move the stitches together, but just knit contrast coloured yarn over the whole. Before you release the knitting, count how many stitches you have the whole way round.

Cast on for the collar in rib, and use half as many stitches as the neck has. Knit straight up until the collar has the desired width. Transfer the stitches to the back needle bed. Move every other needle to the neighbouring needle. If you have a lace carriage, you can use that, otherwise you must do it by hand.

Knit one or two rows with the half stitch size, and knit contrast coloured yarn on before you release the collar.

Now you have both the collar and the neck with contrast coloured yarn. You can sew the stitches together from the wrong side and afterwards ravel off the contrast coloured yarn. See how to do it in the chapter mounting.

If you want the collar to lie flatter, you can cast on twice as many stitches as the neck has. Then you do not need to decrease every fourth stitch on the neck, because when you have decreased every second stitch on the collar, you have the same number of stitches on the collar and on the neck.

Instead of sewing the neck and collar together, you can cast them off together. Leave the collar on the machine and place the neck stitches over it. It can only be done if you have two front pieces. If you have a slit, you cannot stretch it enough. However, you can divide the contrast coloured yarn into two halves, and only place half of the stitches on the collar; and when you have cast off the majority of them, you can place the rest of the neck and cast off.

Knitting to measure · Garment patterns