For the look of Relax in a worsted weight yarn, take a look at Worsted Boxy.

Perfect Sweater: Edginess

Dear Kay, and the Perfect Handknitters,
Quick! I’m drownding! I get out my Official Notebook for Putting Patterns Into and start writing down stuff like:
PERFECT SWEATER: BASIC PATTERN
SET-IN-SLEEVES
JEWEL NECKLINE
SIZE: SMALL
MATERIALS: CASCADE 220, 1020 yds, 6 hanks
GAUGE: 5 sts = 1″ (2.5 cm) using size 6 (4 mm) needles
This reminds me of every single social studies paper I ever wrote. Throat-clearing in the extreme.
I make the monumental decision that 90 stitches is the right number to cast on. I write: CO 90 sts.
Oh, I’m cooking.
Then I stop.
WHAT KIND OF EDGING SHOULD WE USE? We never discussed this. We never voted. I realize that I cannot move on without a vote from the co-designers. Remember: edging is one of the most flexible elements of a design–you can slap pretty much anything on there. So for all you feather lace/doodah/extra bits fans, don’t worry–you can edge your heart out, down the road. But for this basic pattern, let’s get some consensus on what the bottom edge of the sweater and the cuffs will look like.
A couple of notes on the options:
I-cord makes a tidy round edge on a sweater. Looks like a cord.
Hemmed I’ve never done one, but Ann Budd says you knit, say, six rows using size 5 needles, then purl one row for the edge, then move to size 6/4 mm needles. Knit six rows, then fold that flap you made at first to the backside of your knitting. As you knit the next row, knit into the loop of each stitch at the edge of the flap, and voila: you made a hem. The front looks like a straight stretch of stockinette, but it doesn’t roll. Hunh. Has anybody done this? Does it look awesome, or unawesome?
Rolled. 5 rows reverse stockinette which make a cute little rolled edge.
Ribbed could be 1×1, 2×2, 3×3. If you have a strong feeling, please leave a Comment on your preference.
Garter stitch is all knit rows for six rows or so.
Seed stitch (aka moss stitch) is k1, p1, alternating to p1, k1 on the following row.

Please vote early, vote often–by the end of Thursday, Nov. 3, 11:59 pm CST (The time changed! I hate that!)
Xoxoxox to everyone, especially Bex aka Rebecca the Bargain Hunter who is beating the bushes for a deal on Cascade for us all. Fingers crossed.
Love,
Ann

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64 Comments

64 Comments

  1. I voted Ribbing. Specifically, I like 2/2 ribbing. I find it easier to knit and more flattering for the figure than than a 1/1 rib. If I don’t want it to pull in too much, I just work it on the same sized needles as the main garment.

  2. I have strong feelings about the edge! I like hemmed or rolled, because it doesn’t stretch across and emphasize the hips!

  3. I like them all so I did not vote!
    I have done hems and they look good–recently a picot hem on a little girls denim jumper, WAY TOO CUTE, and remember the hems on Nothing-But-A-T? Fabulous.
    If we are doing ribs I have to vote for 2×2, it grips my bulges a bit less tightly, and I’m all about skimming over the bulges. Maybe the bulge-free like 1x1s?
    Cannot wait to see the end tallies!

  4. 2×2. Because it’s perfect. A perfect starting point that everyone can adjust to their specific desires.

  5. so selfish- i wanna try something new – I-CORD please! plus ribbing and big belly at holiday time – not flattering.

  6. I think ribbed is more traditional, but I like cabled ribs and brioche, but 2X2 is pretty classic. Almost any edge can be subbed. I just realized how interesting it is that we are all going to knit the Perfect Sweater, but they are going to look so different. This is going to be fun.

  7. The hemmed edge is really easy to do. I did one for a lace shawl; in the purl row I did eyelets every 5 sts, so that when it was hemmed up the edge was scalloped. Very pretty, very quick and it added a nice elegant touch to the piece.

  8. I voted for ribbing because it’s a classic. I don’t garter or seed-stitch edges because I often think they look messy, with a different, 3-D look than the stockinette of the main sweater. Hems look very nice indeed, but I’ve just done two sweaters in a row with hemmed edges and have therefore discovered I don’t particularly like DOING the hem (though, as I say, the finished result is lovely). I’ve done an I-Cord bind-off for a neckline, but while I-cord is nice and smooth and practical and visually interesting–again, it’s just not one of my favorite things to do.
    One thing you didn’t have in your list, though? Lace. I think a cardigan with a scalloped edging, or some simple little lace pattern would look lovely–a little more interesting than some of the other options, but not as overwhelming (to the sweater or the knitter) as a full-lace sweater would be. Or, gee, a cable running along the edge would be pretty. . . .

  9. I voted for ribs, although I have no numerical preference! Hemmed is also nice too (like on that Rogue sweater).

  10. Hemmed can look really nice, especially if done in a smaller guage before turning so everything lies flat. I’m not a bit rib fan, being large of hip and on the short side, but will bow to the will of the masses.

  11. I voted for the seed stitch. I particularly like the moss stitch. I just finished Beach from Knitty and I changed it to a moss stitch hem because it was for my mother and she is not a rolled edge kind of girl. The moss stitch turned out really nice and gave an interesting dimension to an otherwise mild sweater. Plus, it lays really nice.

  12. Which is the easiest?
    Not that I’ll ACTUALLY be knitting this…LOL (Kidding. I’ll probably guilt myself into it….right after I figure out armholes.)

  13. I’ve been standing on the outside looking in at this process for the most part, but I need to jump in here to advocate the hemmed edge. It looks great–nice and clean, and is used on my two personal picks for Perfect Sweater: Rogue and Hourglass. That said, it does add a bit of bulk around the middle, so those of us who do not need that (and here I include myself) might want to look another way, and so I would nominate, as a dark-horse 7th candidate, some kind of slip-stitch edging for the bottom–lies flat, looks like stockinette, doesn’t pull in like ribbing.

  14. 1×2 ribbing looks the prettiest, in my opinion. But, 1×1 keeps its shape better. I think.
    ~x~

  15. Ribbed. For our pleasure.

  16. I liked a hemmed edge. Meg Swansen/EZ offer another way to make one for a less bulky hem. Cast on using the long-tail method. Knit your sweater. Then pick up along the purl bumps of the long tail using a smaller needle and a finer yarn. Knit the hem then tack down the live stitches to the inside of the sweater. This makes a stretchy hem.

  17. Okay, I voted seed stitch. I really love the look of it. I find that it is perfect for edges and button bands. Looks tidy, adds a small amount of dimension and holds its shape beautifully. The other thing I love about seed stitch is that it is usually the same size as the rest of the garment. There is no grabbing or hugging, thus a nicer silhouette. I however cannot use it for entire garments as creating that much fabric out of seed stitch would make me stick a fork in my eye.

  18. I voted for ribbing, ’cause it was there and it’s not bad. But I LOVE using lacy patterns (and heck, even other interesting textured stitch patterns) along the edges of sweaters. Lace might sound intimidating to some people, but there are some simple lace patterns and it’s only for a few rows. It might sound girly to some people, but it doesn’t have to be (esp. if you use some other, non-lace textured stitch). For examples, see Soleil or Honeymoon in knitty.

  19. I have hemmed. It looks neat and people wonder how you managed to get straight knitting to lie flat. The pattern I used called for a biased hem which was created by knitting in the back loop of the stitch. I think this strengths and stabilizes the hem. Of course, this works best in the round and for a pullover, not a cardigan.

  20. Hemming is easy and looks really nice, though I prefer to skip the purled turning row, as I don’t like how the edge looks with it.
    Seed stitch looks nice, but then you’re kind of tied to using seed stitch for the button band, cuffs, etc. Hemming is more neutral and allows for more variation with those other elements.

  21. I voted for seed/moss stitch. Love it! And didn’t we vote to have cabling on this sweater? Maybe I was in the lounge having a drink (throat clearing, feet shuffling) and I’m mistaken. But, seed stitch and cabling go great together! Ribbing? Too ordinary. Hemming? Too much work. I cord is interesting and would work nicely with the cables…

  22. Gosh. I really like the look of a hemmed edging. I have only really used it on the Nothing But a T, but it makes a nice clean edge and as someone else said, still gives room for play.

  23. 2×1 rib but if rib wins we should have another vote on the type.
    And shouldn’t we vote on the depth of the ribbing too?
    And what about other design features like cables or lace? Who said this was a pure stockinette sweater?

  24. I can’t get enough of hemmed edgings. I think they are the single key feature for making a sweater look professional. The knitting two together row is a bit slow but completely worth it, and it woludn’t be any more difficult for a cardigan than a pullover.

  25. I wanted to go hemmed but then thought: I want to do lace, dangit, and a hem may show up behind the lace (nevermind that I knitted a Dale of Norway bonnet with a hem and lace. that’s a bonnet. That’s following a not-perfect but damn cute pattern. Not the perfect sweater. And I see that Julia’s gotten it now too…). Then I thought ribbing. Then I thought of the waist and the billows and how I want to try something new. Then I thought of what Cascade 220 will be like and I want a nice flattish edge not to pucker in and take away from the sweater so I CORD WINS! Ha!
    If it’s ribbing that wins, I’m totally going off the deep end and copying my colleague’s probably-from-Anthropologie shrug.

  26. Did we ever talk about color for this?

  27. Please, please, please do not vote for hemming. The knitted hems never stay put but turn to the right side of the garment in a very ugly fashion. Trust me on this one, I’ve attempted this technique several times. (Last time I had to rip out a nearly finished piece that was knit on 2,5 mm needles because the hem started driving me crazy.)

  28. I’m not trying to cause strife, but what about a picot edge? No, wait, nevermind. I didn’t say that. Whatever all y’all want is fine.

  29. I love the look of a hemmed edge and it’s so easy to do. It gives any garment a finished look without having to fuss with picking up stitches or casting off neatly. I did one on a denim cardigan that I knit for my niece recently and it turned out beautifully.

  30. If we start at the top, we can worry about the bottom edge at the end! Is any body else out there knitting top down?

  31. Seed stitch, please.
    Hems. *Ahem.* Not on my hips, you don’t.

  32. I vote against hemmed-twice the work, picking up stitches, blargh. My one experience-disaster. It was also very bulky and uneven…or maybe I can’t follow directions?

  33. I voted for seed stitch because, as someone else said, it is “tidy.” Also pretty. A Nice (Subtle)Contrast. I think I have made all the other kinds of edges mentioned here, plus a couple of ruffled ones. I don’t hate any of them, but seed stitch is the one for me. Also, if I remember correctly, our sweater is to be gently or slightly (or whatever) shaped, and I think ribbing goes less well with that look than it does with a sweater that is on the boxier side. A shaped sweater will flow gently into (or up from, depending on whether you’re a top-downer or a bottom-upper) a seed stitch edge. And I know that people hate to do seed stitch, find it horrible and taxing–why? I knit Continental, and I guess that could be the difference. Anyone?
    Seed stitch shawl collar, anyone?

  34. Was I dreaming or was there someone discussion earlier on in this future search extravaganza where it was decided that this Perfect Sweater will be top down? And if that wasn’t a dream, wouldn’t it be a hassle (or perhaps even impossible) do to a hemmed edge?
    And I am still waiting for someone to tell me why we can’t use steeks to attached the pullover to cardigan conversion.

  35. I don’tknow if I am qualified to vote, What to I have to do to get qualified? Love, Dad

  36. I don’tknow if I am qualified to vote, What to I have to do to get qualified? Love, Dad

  37. I voted for hemmed, but I could have easily voted for seedstitch or a short 1×1 rib. Pretty much anything that falls into the subcategory “Doesn’t call attention to the hip region.”

  38. Oh my goodness, it’s a 3-way split! This is going to make that whole sleeve debacle look like a walk in the park.
    Here’s what I have to say. My favorite sweaters, particularly cardigans, are the ones where the fabric of the sweater itself is non rolling, such as moss/seed or garter (but there are many others), and then you don’t need an edging. It just ends. That’s modern and elegant to my eye. Just my 2 cents.
    If it has a ribbed edging I’m taking my ball and going home. Oh, wait, it’s not my ball? Never mind! xoxo Kay

  39. There’s a fresh pitcher of High C [for Cristina, not the vitamin aka ascorbic (not citric) acid] in the lounge, just so you know.

  40. achieve not attach. Use steeks to ACHIEVE the pullover to cardigan conversion.

  41. I’d go the hem route. The only hem I’ve done was for a hat to create an invisible extra layer around the ears, but it would be just as nice on a sweater. Very warm and cozy!

  42. The one Dale I ever knitted had a hem, and it looks fabulous. That said, the perfect sweater has a 2/2 ribbing. For those who don’t like the cinch-y-ness of it, you can make it only 1 inch deep and use the same size needles. It puts a nice traditional border (nonrolling) on the sweater, but is the same width as the body. And it doesn’t conflict with stockinette or cables the way moss stitch does.
    I-cord is nice for the button band or the collar, but not the bottom.

  43. I think hems look much nicer than ribbing on cardigans. I’ve made lots of them on hats too. Picot or plain they look great. If you use one size bigger needle to cast on, this makes it much easier to pick up the cast-on edge loops when you do the hem-folding-up part.

  44. it would be nice to learn something new, so the hemmed edge is attractive – even more attractive, in fact, downright cool, is the fact that all of us will have more help on this dang sweater than we could ever wish for. for those of us living out in the wilds (anyone else?), being able to email in our stuck-ness (and getting many responses!) is going to ease the birthing pains SO much. also, any way we could get the yardage in time for our Christmas wish lists? then too – are we actually going to begin this project *during* the holidays? OMG! libby in utah

  45. Ribbed. (I don’t see an official voting box, so I’m voting here).

  46. Hemmed, please! I’ve done it (well, on socks) and it works.

  47. ….seed/moss is classic and neat, and well-defined, especially in lighter colors. i’d second a 2×2 rib…..but that seems a bit “been there, done that.” perhaps an optional area for the perfect pattern…..i wonder whether men ever make this many decisions? this will be perfection personified!

  48. We hates rolled edges…

  49. I vote to let your Dad decide.

  50. Well, I voted for ribbing, just because I feel like that is a classic, basic edging. My thought was that each individual can tweak the perfect sweater, and any fancier edges (lace, etc.) would be user’s choice.
    However, after I voted, the hemmed edge started to sound more and more attractive. I haven’t tried one yet either, but I love the idea. Especially if you add a picot on the turning row–those look so nice! Hmmm, now that I think about it, my next sweater just might have a picot edge!

  51. I love the hemmed edge. It’s easy, smooth and beautiful. You can also face the inside of the hem with a contrasting color.

  52. Ooo… I’m voting for the hemmed edge. If we are already setting in the sleeves for that tailored look, why not go whole hog and tailor the edges with neat and tidy hems??

  53. No Ribbed Hem! I have very few ‘must not have’s’ when I look to buy a sweater, and one of them is that it must *not* have a ribbed bottom edge. I hate the way they generally fit tighter than the rest of the sweater, thus clinging to hips and rear and making the rest of the sweater bulge upwards. If you knit the rib loosely, then it’s not doing its job as a rib, tends to look stretched out, and out of place. No Ribbed Hem! No Ribbed Hem!
    (Personally, I’m a fan of the, well, hemmed hem. If knit on smaller needles, it doesn’t add much bulk, and blocking/steaming tends to do away with the ‘flips up’ problem. However, I’d be just as happy doing a seed-stitch hem.)

  54. The last cardie I knat I did a picot hem and it looks very cute and very nifty and is much more flattering than ribbing which emphasises or rolling which widens ones hips.

  55. um…..not all of us are “small” we need more sizes….

  56. Drat! Late again on the voting. A hemmed hem, please. More neutral in appearance. Also, a challenge for me as I’ve never knitted one before. Am putting my faith in my fellow Future Searchers that this is not an impossible thing but one that will add to the Learning Experience-ness of it all.
    Awaiting further instructions…the other Kathy.

  57. Well, I’m late on this, but I must say I like seed stitch. Never done hem, because it seems like a waste of knitting, 5 rows that you just hide, and I imagine it’s going to roll funny anyways… Ribbing is too boring and mine sometimes lose their shape after a while. I-cord?? All around a sweater?? Are you nuts??
    Do they have nice coffee here in the lounge for early in the morning? I might drop in…

  58. Late as usual but now that I’ve read the comments I’m hoping that I was too late for my vote to count. I voted for ribbing as I wasn’t sure about a hemmed edge on something the gauge of the cascade (I’ve only used it on a 4ply sweater where it was fabby). But now that I’ve read the comments I’m going hemmed all the way, especially with Alica’s brilliant idea of contrasting inner hem. LOVE. IT.

  59. Contrasting color for the hem? Changing my vote.
    But did you decide on button bands? Knitted in or knitted on?

  60. I vote for a hemmed edge – because I want to learn how to do one!

  61. I love the idea of seed stitch, but I’m wondering how it will look in this yarn. If it looks bulky and clunky, then I will withdraw my vote. If it looks interesting yet subtle, I say seed stitch.

  62. I’m a knit-and-let-knit kinda gal myself, so whatever curls your stockinette is fine with me. For me and my house, we will knit the ribbing. Prob’ly 2×2, though I think a nice brioche stitch edging would look nice with a funnel cake neck. I don’t like to mix food groups when I’m knitting.
    Of course, we’re all going to take the sweater and immediately change essential design elements anyway, so maybe Ann can write the beginning of the pattern as “Cast on 90 sts. Knit the edging you want for however many inches you want.” Is that cheating, Ann?

  63. Is it too late to vote? I think the hemmed edge sounds interesting, but I cast my vote for an interesting rib pattern, like a twisted one or something.

  64. Hmm… I voted, does that make me a volunteer? I’m interested to see how this turns out!