Selvedge stiches – what are they all about?

What are selvedge stitches?

Selvedge stitches are simply the first and last stitches in any crocheted or knitted row. There can be 1, 2 or 3 selvedge stitches at the beginning and end of a row. In the following, I’m going to assume that the selvedge is a single stitch (just for ease of writing).

Why are these stitches special?

  • If you work a project in pieces that need to be assembled, the selvedge stitch will be your seam allowance. This means that this is an extra stitch that is not part of the stitches needed to, say, work a specific width.
    Check your pattern to see if the selvedge stitches are included in the stitch count – normally they are.
  • A stitch at the very beginning or very end of a row often behaves differently from other stitches.
    • In knitting, this stitch, which has a companion on only one side, is often looser than the other stitches, or simply a bit wonky.
    • In crochet, the first few stitches in a row are very, very often tighter than those that follow.

So, do you need to treat selvedge stitches differently?

In knitting, it depends.

I know knitters who work their selvedge stitches in the main stitch pattern and still get straight edges.

However, most knitters need to give the selvedge stitches a special treatment to avoid their being too loose.

You can decide always to work this stitch as a knit stitch, to make a garter selvedge.

You can systematically slip the first or last stitch in the row, to make a chain selvedge that is a bit tighter.

There are many methods, and often the pattern will suggest how to work the selvedge stitches. Try the suggested method and see what you think! Everyone knits in a very personal way – perhaps the recommendation in the pattern is not what works best for you.

Also, think about how this selvedge will be used: are you going to seam pieces together, pick up stitches or simply leave the edge as it is?

In crochet, you must decide on a selvedge treatment.

When you start a crochet row, the hook needs to be at the height of the first stitch – and you must find a way to get it there!

There are many ways to do this, classic or innovative, simple or complex.

I’ll be back to show you some, of course!

And how do you like to work your selvedges?

The Creative Gamble

It all starts with an idea. You don’t really know where it comes from, and sometimes it’s very vague. It can be a kind of vision, but it might also be a memory, a scent, a feeling… and sometimes it’s a full-blown concept that shows up from nowhere, presenting itself to you when you brush your teeth on a Tuesday morning.

In all cases this idea begs to be translated and transformed using yarn.

Crochet or knitting? What kind of stitch pattern? Which fiber? Cotton or wool? Which weight? And the ultimate question: to make what?

You fumble, you think, you try some things. Sometimes you try many, many things before you happen upon something valid.

Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. The idea can’t be transformed into a real-life object, at least not right now.

However, often this is the start of a new project. It can be very close to the original idea – or it can be very far away, so that only you can know its origin.

And now it is time to take a creative gamble.

Whatever the size of the project, you will need to spend many hours to make this thing born from your imagination, this thing that doesn’t exist yet.

You don’t know if you will succeed. You don’t know if the finished item will be appreciated. If you’re making something big, you might spend weeks or months with a disappointing final result. If the creative process is also your job, you can potentially even lose money.

And yet, you must take this gamble, bet on your creativity and skills to give life to this nonexistent thing, create it out of thin air and present it to the world.

It’s an uncomfortable situation, and so many questions race through your head. It would clearly be much easier not to make this thing – but still, you make it.

You make it, because you know it can be a winning bet. There are no guarantees, but there is possibility, and you are far too curious not to try and see what happens.

And when the creative gamble pays off, when this idea becomes a beautiful thing, when you can share it with the world, your satisfaction is so much greater than your uncertainty ever was.

If you are inspired to take a creative gamble, I can help, in a positive and reassuring setting. I have already led several creative coaching programs in French, aimed at people who want to design their own pattern. Perhaps it’s time to start one in English?

If you are interested in creative crochet coaching with the aim of creating your own crochet design, click the button below!

My creative coaching sessions typically run over 8 weeks and include 5 live sessions via Zoom and access to a private discussion group where I connect with the participants several times a week – all for the very reasonable price of 99€.

Click the button to send me an email and let me know if you’re interested!