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Your Tips and Tricks for Adding a Knitted Hem

Apr 17, 2008

I love that so many of you had other tips to contribute to the discussion on working flat hems on a stockinette sweater. Knitters are so clever. You'd think a hem would be simple, and that there would be only one way to do it, but nope. There are so many different methods to choose from. Note that some methods might work differently with different yarns, so if you are in doubt, work a little swatch and put a little hem on it and see how you like it.

Eunny didn't use a purl turning row, and it looks great!

There is no right or wrong way to do things; there is only the way that works best for you and your project. (Plus, there are no knitting police to come around and check your work in the middle of the night. Really.)

Several of you noted an alternate way to work the turning round: Work a single round of purl stitches, then work the second half of the hem. The purl stitches will form a natural little indentation on the inside of your fabric, allowing the hem to lay flatter.

If you are working a picot turning round, Laurel D. suggests trying a p2tog instead of a k2tog during the fold-over round, saying that this will make the points sharper and more dramatic. So if you want dramatic points, p2tog here; if you want softer points, k2tog.

Here's Kathryn T.'s tip for making the hemming round easier: "To make it a bit less cumbersome when you get to the point of turning up the hem and knitting 2 together off two needles, I go round first and just slip one off each needle alternately. This means that all the stitches are on the same needle, and then you can just go round and k2tog.

Susan H. and several others suggested knitting the part of the hem which will be on the inside in a size smaller needle than the rest. This also helps things lay flatter. (Love this one, Susan. But I am not gonna rip my sweater out, not after all the previous rip-out sessions. Next time, though. I'll use your tip next time.)

And a final funky and fun tip is again from Laurel D.: "If you think you will be short of yarn, or you just want the surprise, you can do the middle rows of the inside hem in a complementary yarn. Just make the sure the end rows of the inside hem is in the yarn of the outside of the garment. If your yarn is bulky, using a lighter weight yarn for the hem works nicely."

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Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.


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AdelaK wrote
on Apr 20, 2008 3:26 PM
Could you possible have patterns that are made with a knitting board or round loom?

thank you kindly
JanieP wrote
on Apr 20, 2008 12:31 PM
I am searching for a book someone had on their site last week. It was a book of patterns, and I am looking for it because of the cabled scarf in it. Was it on your site? Thank you,
IoneD wrote
on Apr 19, 2008 6:43 PM
NormaE wrote
on Apr 19, 2008 4:39 PM
This will only work on a project knitted from the bottom up. I just finished a sweater knitted from the top down and had to sew the turned hem. Too bad as I would rather knit the hem in. I tried to knit the bottom of the hem to the sweater and then cast the stitches off, but it is too bulky on the inside.
Lordix wrote
on Apr 19, 2008 2:08 PM
I am new to kniiting, is there a rule of thumb as to how many stitches will fit comfortably on circular needle, I cannot handle double poimts, so trying to make socks on circular
BevM wrote
on Apr 19, 2008 1:09 PM
I love the cap pattern you posted. I would like to make some for the hobbit sized people in my life. I thought I would buy fine yarn to make them for the little people. Do you have anyother suggestions as to how to down size the cap. I know I can probably come up with something other than yarn size and gauge when I take a bit more time to read the pattern but if you have any other suggestions I would love to hear from you. Children so like caps and you could easily do them in team, school or favorte color to match other knitted cloth. I would like to make some real feminine ones by adding a bit of knitted lace and such. Like to here from you on this problem. Thank you
on Apr 19, 2008 11:23 AM
I've never done this but Julie of Samurai Knittter ( stitches her initials and the year the project was started into the hem. It looks really cool so I thought that I would share the idea.
JanH wrote
on Apr 19, 2008 10:11 AM
I've loved reading these tips and was delighted that I understood the technique exactly although it's a very long time since I last used it. I remember my Mum telling me that she always used this method for front bands on all the very fine ply cardigans she knitted as a young woman. Just noticed that a version of it is used for the front band of Sylph Cardigan in Spring '08 Interweave neat!
AllisonH wrote
on Apr 19, 2008 9:23 AM
Dear Editor,

It's "lie flatter" not "lay flatter." Lay requires a direct object; lie does not. I usually love reading this column but the grammar errors are driving me nuts!
Lana wrote
on Apr 19, 2008 2:27 AM
To the RE: above...Kathryn T. means instead of putting the provisional cast-on stitches onto a second needle and then knitting them together with the live stitches on the working needle, she suggests to transfers all the stitches, live and provisional, onto another needle alternating one stitch from the garment and one stitch from the hem. I hope that clarifies it for you.
Renske wrote
on Apr 19, 2008 12:30 AM
Another method is for a flat hem is to provisionally cast on 90% of the stitches needed.
In the second last row before the turning row increase to 100%.
You can also use a larger needle for the "join together" row. This creates a les sharp line or more room for the hem to ly flat.
Lewis2 wrote
on Apr 18, 2008 9:18 PM
Re "Adding a No-Roll Hem" - I don't understands the tip left by Kathryn T., but maybe everyone else does???
Lana wrote
on Apr 18, 2008 8:17 PM
Hi Erica W, I was able to download the pattern. I think you may not be logged in. Sometimes when you clear the cache on your browser it logs you out of websites. Look at the upper right hand corner of the screen to see if it says "Signed in as". Also, if you use more than one browser you will have to sign in with each of them separately.
AnnaM wrote
on Apr 18, 2008 8:11 PM
Some folks posted on the former KD that the hem flipped up.
I think that this might be because the sweater is pulling just a bit too much over the hips--you know how a rolled hem rolls more if it is snug (ask me!). Anyway, it's just a thought. I guess the hip measurement requires a bit of positive ease for the hem to lie well.
DeniseW wrote
on Apr 18, 2008 8:00 PM
I find that if I knit every inside stitch together with the outside stitch it makes a distinct line across the top of the hem. This is because everything above the hem sits more-or-less between the layers. For a smoother join, I use a regular cast-on and only join about every 1/2" - 3/4", much like the spacing of the stitches in a sewn hem. This join is almost as invisible as carefully sewing it down afterwards.
EricaW wrote
on Apr 18, 2008 7:48 PM
Is this pattern available to people who are already signed on to this newsletter? I am being asked to sing up to get the free download. what gives?
AnaG wrote
on Apr 18, 2008 7:17 PM
On Knitted hems--when I have my stitches on two needles, I pass the stitch from the right side of the work (front needel) over the stitch on the wrong side of the work (back needle). Then I just work the next row/round in the usual way. It's a little smoother than the k2 togs.
KristinaK wrote
on Apr 18, 2008 6:42 PM
Here's a good tip for working a ham which will look like it's been sewed in...

(a) work 7 rows in stockinette stitch.

(b) on the 8th row (the WS) knit all stitches, creating a fold line.

(c) work another 7 rows in stockinette stitch.

(d) fold the facing along the fold line so that the wrong sides are together. Then knit into each stitch along the cast-on edge together with one working stitch. That is to say that you are picking up one stitch from the cast on together with what you are knitting. This should fold your hem.

(e) carry on with your pattern.

Hope this works for you!