Another Technique for Finishing: Crochet Edging

A Note from Kathleen: My main craft is knitting, but several years ago I took a crochet class because I expected that I might like that craft, too. And I do enjoy crocheting, especially for items like baby blankets–it's simply so much faster than knitting. What I didn't expect was that knowing how to crochet could bring so much to my knitting. I use crochet skills all the time; the crab stitch (sometimes called the "shrimp stitch" or "backwards single crochet") is a lovely finishing stitch for necklines and the front edges of cardigan sweaters. The edging options are endless, really–just check out the array of crocheted edging resources out there!

Here's Marcy Smith, editor of Interweave Crochet, to share a perfect crochet-ending to a knitting story.

Rescuing a UFO with Crochet

Maybe you're not like me. Maybe your gauge is always spot on and the vision you have for your garment works perfectly.

Maybe you don't have a box of false starts and “Good golly, what was I thinking?” portions of garments. Maybe you don't have things that are too big / too small / just plain unwearable.

Well, I've got them. And when I finally admit that the thing just isn't working, sometimes I rip it back to a ball right away. And sometimes I stuff it in the Denial Drawer. Deep inside. And the balance is again tipped between unfinished objects (UFOs) and finished objects (FOs).

A recent Feng Shui unearthed a vast expanse of knitted purple fabric that I recalled, after a moment, wanted to be a guernsey back in the day. It was HUGE. But the texture is intriguing and I can see why I didn't rip it back to its essence. It would make a good kid-size blanket, if it were jazzed up a bit. It was time to remedy the balance: this UFO could become an FO, with a little help.

Now, I like knitting as much as the next fiber gal, but I Do. Not. Like. To. Pick. Up. Stitches. Especially a gazillion stitches around the edge of a thing that I don't like all that much anymore. Given that option, I'd just as soon stuff it back in the Denial Drawer. But there's a better solution, one that is accessible to anyone who loves all things yarny: crochet.

That's right. Crochet. With crochet, you work with just one stitch at a time, creating the edge as you work around. And it doesn't really matter how many stitches you make, so long as they look pretty even when you're done. And when you're done, you're done. You don't have to bind off a gazillion stitches. Just one.

To finish my blanket, I used the Simple Shell Edging from The Harmony Guides: Crochet Edgings and Trims, hot off the press. This book will guide even the most novice crocheter through the process. The Simple Shell Edging is a two-row edging, with the first being a base row of single crochet.

Because the edges of my knitted swath are pretty even and stable, I was able to make it even simpler: I eliminated the base row. So I just commenced crocheting green shells around the purple swath until my UFO became an FO—just a different FO. (To see the specifics of where I decided to put my hook when making the edge, check out the blog on CrochetMe.)

And now all is harmonious: I have one less item in my stash of “good gollies” and Project Linus has one more item in its stash of blankets.

While many of you already subscribe to Interweave Knits, now is a great time to add Interweave Crochet to your tool box.  Get a free trial issue of Interweave Crochet and discover more fabulous edging ideas, amazing sweater patterns, expert tips, and more. We're on the front lines of the crochet revolution and we'd love to have you join in!


Editor, Interweave Crochet 

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