Curling stitches are a common problem almost all knitters face, especially when making a stockinette stitch. As a beginner, it’s easy to get frustrated when your knitting begins to curl, and you start to think you may be doing something wrong.
In this guide, we will take a look at why knitting curls, and give you some tips on how to prevent it.
1. Why is My Knitting Curling at the Edges?
The stockinette stitch is going to have curling on the sides.
That’s just the way it is. The reason it curls at the edges has to do with the way stitches are made.
Knit stitches are shorter than purl stitches. Since the stockinette is worked with knit stitches on one side and purl on the other, you end up with sides that begin to curl because the stitches aren’t even.
Since the tension isn’t evenly distributed, you get edge curls, which can be frustrating to deal with.
Now that you know the reason why this happens, there are a number of remedies you can do to help prevent this.
How to Prevent Curling Edges
To prevent curling edges in knitting, a popular option is to use border stitches in a different pattern to fix this curl.
Many knitters will use the moss stitch, garter stitch, ribbing, or other similar patterns at the edges of their stockinette stitch projects to help eliminate this curling.
Knitting a border in a different pattern is a great way to solve this problem, and it can create some cool looking fabrics.
Next time you’re working on a stockinette pattern, play with different borders for your knitted pieces to see which one you like best for your various projects.
2. Why is my Knitting Curling at the Bottom?
The stockinette stitch curls at the bottom for the same reason it curls at the sides. It is because the purl stitches are longer than the knit stitches so this pushes out vertically and will cause your bottom to curl.
How to Prevent a Curling Bottom
To prevent a curling bottom in knitting you can add a border similar to how you deal with curling sides. Another popular option is to use blocking. But what is blocking exactly?
Blocking is a method where after you’ve cast off your last stitches you put your piece into lukewarm water with a mild soap. After you’ve let it soak for about 30 minutes, wrap it a towel and gently squeeze to reduce some of the water.
Then take your piece, and lay it on a flat surface. Take the bottom that is curling and pin it so that it lays flat. After you’ve let it dry, the stitches should even out and it will not curl as much.
Blocking is a great option for dealing with those pesky curls. Give it a try on your finished projects the next time you are trying to deal with this problem.
3. Why is my Knitted Scarf Curling?
One of the most common projects knitters make with a stockinette stitch is a knitted scarf, and one of the most common frustrations is the curling of a completed scarf.
Your knitted scarf curls for the same reasons why outlined earlier.
It has to do with the uneven stitches on one side on anything made with a stockinette heavy pattern. The purl stitches are longer and this creates uneven tension which begins to pull the edges and side of your scarf. So how do you fix this?
How to Uncurl a Knitted Scarf
If you want to flatten out your scarf you have three options: blocking, adding a border, or knitting a tube scarf.
Like we described earlier, blocking can help fix your curling problems, but since the curling of a stockinette stitch knitted scarf is due to the way the stitches are created, this is not likely to entirely fix the problem, but might help reduce a little.
To block your scarf, soak it in lukewarm water with a mild detergent, lay it in a towel and gently squeeze out the water, and then lay it flat and pin the curling edges down and let it dry. This should help reduce the curls.
Adding a Border
A better solution is to add a border to your project. Ribbing, garter stitches, moss stitches, or any other border can be added to the edges and this will basically fix the problem. It can also help add cool textures to your projects and make them look even better!
Knitting a Tube Scarf
Another great option is to knit a tube scarf in the round. Knitting a Moebius pattern to make an infinity scarf is a great option if you want to make a cool looking scarf without having to deal with curling.
Curling is a problem most knitters will face sooner or later, so you will have to come up with a solution that works for your projects. A little planning and know-how can go a long way to navigating these common pain points.
So the next time you start your project, plan on how you want to address the curls when you’re making stockinette heavy pattern.