Crocheted edges are important to finishing your crocheted projects. You can use them to create a specific style or just to give your garment a polished finish.
ACROSS A STRAIGHT EDGE
Most times you’ll need to either finish a raw edge; set the foundation row for a collar, buttonhole band, or cuff; or add a border to an afghan square. Depending on the design and directions, this is done with the same yarn and color, the same yarn but in a contrasting color, or a totally different yarn that might not even be the same weight. So how hard is it to crochet across a straight edge? Unless it’s done perfectly, it can look unattractive.
There are two things you need to remember when you are crocheting along an edge. The first is to make sure the right side of the fabric is facing you. Project directions will always state “with right side facing” or “from right side,” but it’s good for you to know this from the beginning. The second is to space the stitches evenly while making sure the fabric lies flat.
It’s easy to work across the top edge (last row) using the same yarn that was used to crochet the pieces, because you simply work one stitch into each stitch across. But when you’re working with a yarn that is not the same weight there are a few things you should know so you will get the best results. If you are using a thinner yarn, you’ll need a smaller hook. To work evenly across, you’ll be working one stitch in some stitches and two stitches in others. The places where there are two stitches should be evenly spaced so all the stitches form a uniform pattern. On the other hand, if you are using a thicker yarn, you’ll need to use a larger hook. To work evenly across, you’ll be working one stitch in some stitches and skipping others. The skipped stitches should likewise be evenly spaced. Spacing stitches evenly takes some practice, so you might have to rip out and begin anew a few times until you get the hang of it. Remember, the whole objective is to be flat and even. If there are too many stitches, the edge will flare out. If there are too few stitches, the edge will pull in.
Tip: To anchor the yarn securely when you are going to work along an edge, make a slip knot in the yarn, about 8″/20.5cm from the end, and place it on the hook. Keep the slip knot on the hook until you have made a few stitches. Carefully remove the working loop from the hook, then the slip knot; place the working loop back on the hook. Pull the free end of the slip knot to undo it. Use the 8″/20.5cm end for seaming or simply weave it in.
crocheting across the side edge
When working vertically, crochet stitches directly into the stitches at the side edge. Not only should you make sure to space them evenly but also go into the stitches at the same depth, so that all stitches are the same size. If the edging is being added in preparation for seaming (like afghan squares), also take care to work an equal number of edge stitches on all pieces so they will all match up perfectly.
crocheting across the bottom edge
WORKING ALONG THE NECK
Crocheting along a neck edge, or any rounded edge, takes just a little more care than for a straight edge because the even distribution of stitches is crucial to the overall fit and appearance. Having too many stitches in one section will make the trim, neckband, or collar bulge or flare out, and having too few stitches will make it pucker.
When working along curved or vertical edges, follow the technique as for crocheting along a side edge, making sure all stitches are the same size. When working across straight or horizontal edges (center front and back neck), use the same technique as for working across a top edge.
Tip: If the trim, buttonhole band, or collar is going to be crocheted using a contrasting color, you can make the transition more seamless when you work the first row in single crochet using the main yarn color.
marking neck edge for spacing stitches
Stitches must be distributed evenly so a trim, neckband or collar will not flare out or pull in. Place pins, safety pins or yarn markers as shown, every 2″/5cm. If you know the number of stitches to be crocheted, divide this by the number of sections marked to determine how many stitches to work between each pair of markers. If no number is given in the directions, use the marked sections to ensure even spacing around the neck.
SEWING ON TRIMS
Sometimes neckbands, collars and cuffs are made separately, then sewn in place. These bands are usually worked in single crochet, where each stitch is worked in the back loop to create a ribbed effect (see below). The bands are made a little shorter then the total length of the neck edge or sleeve edge, so they will hug the neck or wrist. To make sure they are sewn on evenly, place markers every 2″/5cm along the neck or sleeve edge. Place the same amount of markers along the edge of the band, making sure to space them evenly. With right sides facing, pin the band in place, matching markers on the edge with markers on the band, then sew in place.
marking a trim for sewing
The bands are made a little shorter than the total length of the neck edge or sleeve edge. After marking the neck or sleeve edge in 2″/5cm intervals, place the same amount of markers along the edge of the band, making sure to space them evenly.