A Knitted Hem by Any Other Name

A Hem by Any Other Name .....

....is still a hem.  Plain and simple, a hem frames our knitting. It's the beginning of your work whether it's a scarf, sweater or blanket. For a shawl, it can even be at the end, more like a trim. For our purposes today, I'm going to refer to the bottom or beginning of your work.  And, just like a button, it can make or break a look. The pattern that you're following will give you instructions for a hem right after the cast on.  More often then not, the designer of the pattern has decided how those crucial first few rows will best frame his or her look. That's not to say that we can't have our own opinion and have a different vision in mind. How many times have you shopped for something and said, "I really like this but I'd like it better if......"  It's always nice to have choices. My favorite right now is a knitted hem.  Let's look at some other options.


I think that a ribbed hem is the most common.  Most patterns begin with a nice Knit 2, purl 2 or Knit 1, purl 1 rib, as we've come to expect it at the bottom of a sweater. A rib is a great choice.  For one thing, a rib doesn't curl.  It lays nice and flat.  Sometimes you're even asked to knit a rib on a tighter tension to bring it in a bit, especially at the waist.  I like to begin and end with a Knit stitch when I rib as it creates a nice frame.  So, if I knit a Knit 2, Purl 2 rib, I make sure that my stitch count is a multiple of 4, plus 2 stitches. It would look something like this: K2, *P2, K2 repeat from *


knit rib hem

Garter Stitch

Another type of hem is a Garter Stitch hem. You knit every row.  This hem also lays (no curling).  It's great for a beginner as it's difficult to make a mistake.  I also like this hem on a baby blanket.  This picture shows the Garter Stitch framing the side of the garment as well.

Hem Option 1 for the Robin Capelet - Garter Stitch Hem



The rolled hem which is nothing more than Stockinette Stitch doing what it does best.  Curling!  This hem really became popular about 20 years ago when a more relaxed, boxy look was preferred. It's much less tailored then a Ribbed hem or even a Garter Stitch hem.  To achieve this hem simply cast on and knit one row, purl one row and alternate.

Rolled Hem

My new favorite hem is a Knitted hem.  I like this because it's unexpected and you can play with color.  It can be solid or you can have the hem be another color. It's not too difficult and it lays flat if that appeals to you.  On the Robin Capelet  below, you knit a hem at the beginning and also the end. The Pebbled Cardigan is at the right.



                                                                 The hem on the front of the Robin Capelet.

knit hem                                                                          The hem on the Anatomy of a Wave.

Below, a video of how to make a Knitted hem for the Robin Capelet.


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