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Selvage Stitches

Selvage stitches are the first (few) stitches of the row.  Often, when knitting is going to be seamed, a very simple (garter) no selvage stitch is used.  Otherwise unfinished edges sometimes benefit from a special selvage.  Some selvage stitches use a single stitch, other use 2 or more stitches (per edge)   

For items that have OPEN (un sewn) edges, a selvage stitch, on its own, or paired with an edging stitch, can create a very attractive finished edge, they are especially useful on scarves, and shawls, and the center front of a sweater.   Simple wash cloths can be elevated to elegant "Spa clothes" with an attractive selvage.

Most patterns allow for a single stitch selvage.  You might need to cast on extra stitches to accommodate selvages that require more stitches.  If you are designing a pattern of your own, you can plan ahead for selvage stitches and edgings.

This page is under construction, and right now there are only a few video links.. they are coming soon.

Garter stitch Selvage 1 to 2 stitches per edge

  • Begin and end each row with K1
  • Begin and end each row with k2

This selvage is useful for seamed edges.  It is a very good alternative selvage for the Flap on a turned heel.   More than 3 stitches worked in garter are considered an edging, not a selvage. Some garter stitch edgings also use a selvage stitch, too.

Hatch Stitch --Almost an edging since it is worked of 4 garter stitches (in a replacement of a garter stitch edge. Attractive and functional


Seed Stitch selvage  2 stitches per edge

  • R1: Begin each odd numbered  row with K1, P1  End each row with K1, P1
  • R2: Begin each even numbered row with P1, K1   End each row with P1, K1.

Useful for seamed edges, but not suitable for thick yarns--Worsted is too thick for this selvage if edge is being seamed.


Chain selvage—single stitch selvage (per edge)

This is the most common selvage stitch, and it can be worked 4 ways; it can have regular or twisted stitches, and it can be worked at beginning or end of a row.

  1. slip first stitch of each row, purl wise
  2. slip first stitch of each row, knit wise (twisted stitch)
  3. slip last stitch of each row, purl wise
  4. slip last stitch of each row, knit wise (twisted stitch)

This selvage is not suitable for edge that will be seamed--because the chain stitch selvage provide only half as many stitches for sewing up, resulting in a weaker seam.  It is best used on edges that will not be enclosed in a seam

NOTE: this selvage has a matching cast on (crochet) and bind off (standard)


Double Chain selvage. 2 stitch selvage (per edge)

K1, slip1 (purl wise) at  beginning and end of each row.  

or k1, slip one (knit wise) for twisted chain

NOTE: this selvage has several  matching cast ons. (double chain cast ons) and  matching bind offs.   There are several cast ons and bind offs that  create a double chain edge.


Simple double knitting – 4 stitches (per edge) Even though this selvage uses, 4 stitches, it appears to only use 2!)

At the beginning and end of EVERY ROW: K1, slip 1, repeat. This makes a flattened tube edge

You might need to add extra stitches, since this selvage uses 4 stitches per edge (not the more common 1 or 2).

This selvage is not suitable for edge that are to be seamed, it is too bulky. Excellent for open edges (scarves for example)

NOTE: this selvage stitch has matching cast on (tubular) and bind off (grafted, tubular)


Open Selvage--  2 stitches per edge--This selvage is very popular for dish clothes, and for baby blankets.  When used for blankets, ribbon is sometime threaded through the open edge. 

Every Row begins with: K2tog, YO

Every row ends with: K2 

This selvage can be combined with a garter stitch edge, as well--

There are two methods:

1--work selvage stitch, followed by a number (X) of garter or sead stitches. 

  • 2--work a number (x) of stitches in garter stitch or seed stitch, end edging with YO, K2tog.

 X  is equal to number from 3 to 5 or so.


Open Lacy Picot 2 stitches per edge

YO, K2tog at the beginning of each row

The YO as first stitch creates an open lacy edge.


Picot selvage 2 stitches per edge.

A the end of each row, cast on 2 (use a knit, or cable, or simple  cast on)
At the beginning  of each row, bind off 2 stitches.--remember this requires you to work 3 stitches!

Picot can be made larger (3 to 5 stitches cast on and bound off) when working in bulky yarns.  Longer picots are often called lambs tails.
Picot can be spaced (work one row of picot, two (or more) rows with no particular selvage stitch
A Picot Especially attractive when worked with a garter stitch edge.  

NOTE: this selvage has a matching cast on and bind off.


Twisted pair selvage 2 stitches per edge
Knit stitch 2, then knit stitch 1, then let both drop of left needle Stitches can be front/(right) or back(left)
Twists can be work every row, or alternate rows. 

This is the same as a twisted pair cable, see title link above, advance to minute 4:30, to see how to work a twisted pair.


I cord selvage 3 stitches per edge (can also be worked larger, up to 5 stitches per edge)

  • R1:-Beginning of row: K3. (this should be right side of work)
  • R1: End of row. K3
  • R2: Beginning of row: slip first 3 stitch, (purl wise)
  • R2: End of row, Slip last 3 stitches, (purl wise)

NOTE: this selvage has a matching cast on and bind off


Knit Fringe with Twisted Stitch selvage.

An edge treatment with a selvage stitch.
Cast on about 1 to 2 inches of extra stitches,(based on the gauge) Use Simple, Knit or Long Tail cast on.
Work extra stitches in garter stitch.
Twist the last stitch of the group. (Do this by knitting the stitch through the back loop) 
On the last row of Knitting, work extra stitches, UP to twisted stitch. (DO NOT WORK twisted stitch, let it remain on left hand needle.)

Then slide all of the stitches on right hand needle off.   

Work the twisted stitch, and the next stitch and begin binding off.

After all the stitches are bound off, Unravel the unbound off stitches, to create a fringe.  Twisted selvage stitch will hold work in place. 

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