One of the first sweaters I ever made required that I begin each row with an "edge stitch." Well, suffice it to say that I searched high and low, all over the internet and in books, and couldn't figure out what they were talking about. Had I known what I know now, I would have just bought a copy of the Vogue Ultimate Knitting Book & looked up my answer, but that was before they were being reprinted and the only copies you could find were selling for $200!!
Anyway, to make matters more confusing, I kept seeing 'edge stitch' and 'selvedge' used interchangeably in other patterns. Sadly, I couldn't figure out selvedge either. After talking with every knitter I knew (which, at the time, wasn't many), I learned that an edge (or selvedge) stitch is simply a stitch at both ends of each row whose purpose is to make sewing the seams easier. Furthermore, in cases where there is to be no sewing, the edge stitch creates a clean and distinct line along the border of the garment.
Ok, but how do I get that stitch? The simplest (and easiest to remember) method requires you to slip the first stitch of every row (slipping a stitch is defined as moving the stitch from the left needle onto the right needle, without knitting or purling it). That's it. You'll find that by slipping the first stitch of every row, you are only knitting (or purling) that stitch every other row, thereby forcing that stitch to cover a 2 row span. And, since you are slipping the stitch at the beginning of every row, you cover both ends of the project. Try it! You'll see how easy it is. And we promise that you'll be pleased with your results.
The first swatch was knit without an edge stitch. The second swatch shows an edge stitch. Both views are of the purl side of a swatch knit in stockinette stitch. These swatches were knit using Karabella Aurora Bulky, a favorite machine washable yarn of ours. I slipped the first stitch of the knit rows as if to knit. For purl rows, I slipped the first stitch as if to purl.
Posted by Jimmy (Laura) of Jimmy Beans Wool