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  • Writer's pictureBecca Norman

Adding a Double Knit Band to Prevent Rolling Hems in Sweater Knitting

If you want a professional-looking finish for your sweater sleeves and hems, but also want a departure from the standard ribbing, you'll love this trick. I'll show you how to modify any stockinette pattern to add this type of hem. It's seamless, maintians the stretch of the fabric, and won't roll up.


The sweater I'm demonstrating on is the Duotone, designed by Rachel Costello. You can read all about that project here. It's worked in the round, which is how you will be learning this technique today.




Step 1: The setup round


At the beginning of the round, knit one stitch and then cast on one stitch via the backwards loop method. For a crash course on the backwards loop:


1. Make the loop

Make a single loop in the working yarn, with the tail end in front of the end attached to the work.


2. Put it on the needle "backwards"

Give it a half-twist counter-clockwise and slide it onto the right-hand needle. Gently tug the yarn to snug up the new stitch. Don't pull it too tight or it will be really hard to work into on the next round!


Repeat this knit 1, backwards loop to the last stitch, and end with a knit. You will have a regular knit stitch at the beginning and end of this round, with no backwards loop in between. This makes a more invisible transition.


Step 2: The Purl Round


If you're using a beginning of round marker, slip that and begin the second round by slipping the first stitch with the yarn in back, and purling the backwards loop stitch with the yarn in front.


Yarn in back, slip 1, yarn in front purl 1...

Repeat until the end of round. I do find that it's easy to zone out and accedentally start working a knit 1, purl 1 ribbing because it's so familiar. To combat this, I find it helpful to say out loud (or whisper under my breath) "Slip, purl, slip, purl..." So that I don't forget what I'm doing.


All knit stitches will be slipped, and all loop stitches will be purled. On the following rounds, they will be more distinct purls. End the round with a slipped stitch.


Step 3: The Knit Round


Slip the marker, and knit the first stitch with the yarn in back. Then slip the purled stitch with the yarn in front.


Yarn in back, knit 1, yarn in front, slip 1...

You know the drill. Repear until end of round, ending with a knit stitch. You may or may not notice at this point that the yarn is always staying on the inside of the slipped stitches, rather than passing over the outside of the fabric. We are essentially creating 2 separate layers of stockinette with a hollow in the middle.


Keep Going


Repeat Steps 2 and 3 two to four more times. It's very important to alternate between the 2 and not mistakenly work the same round back to back. You can decide how wide you want your double-knit band to be. I think it should be no less than a total of 3 sets of the knit and purl rounds. On this sweater, that's what I did for the sleeves, and did 4 sets on the body hem.


Finishing


To finish the edge, I don't recommend the regualr bind off, but rather a tubular bind off, which also goes by the name of kitchener bind-off, sewn bind-off, and Italian bind-off.


On this sweater, I did a stylized i-cord bind-off and I love the way it looks.


the finished edge of a sweater sleeve.
Finished edge with i-cord bind-off


Don’t be scared to play around!


Making modifications to sweater designs can seem daunting at first, but it's so rewarding to look at something you not only made with your hands, but adding your own special touch too.


This was a great design and I loved the creative finish to the edges, but knew I would hate the way they would roll up. It took me 3 tries to figure out just the right way to set it up, but it really paid off!

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