Free Knitting Tutorial: How to Knit Stripes and a Selvedge Edge while Carrying Up the Non-Working Color

Just last Monday I received a question on my Free Gwennie Striped Scarf knitting pattern about how to carry the non-working color of yarn up a selvedge edge, so I decided to put together a little tutorial. The great thing about this method is that if worked on straight, not circular, needles, your yarns will never become twisted and intertwined using this method.

So first off, what is a Selvedge?
A Selvedge has a few different names, though they all really mean the same thing: the Edge of the Self fabric.


A beautiful selvedge knit in garter stitch. Creates a braided look.


A finished selvedge edge with a second color yarn carried up the edge.


The Reverse Side of a finished selvedge edge with a second color yarn carried up the edge.

When knit, knit, knitting away on a piece that isn’t seamed, your edges may not come out nice and straight unless you take the first stitch in each row, and instead of knitting or purling it, you slip it off, and wrap the yarn from front to back (if knitting) or back to front, if purling, and viola! I nice, clean, straight edge. Things get only slightly more complicated when adding a stripe, and complicated a bit further when you also want to carry the non-working color up your work, to avoid having to weave in loads of unnecessary ends.

So how do you do it? Here’s my tutorial:

When clicked, the graphic loads to a new page, and can be zoomed in on. OR scroll past the big graphic, and see step by step instructions blog style.

Part One: CREATING A SELVEDGE [aka SELF-EDGE]

1. Work in pattern through the end of the row. Turn work so that it is on your left hand needle. When the first stitch of the next row is a Knit stitch, hold the yarn to the front.
[Not Shown] When the first stitch of the next row is a Purl stitch, hold yarn to the back.

2. With the yarn in front slip the first stitch knitwise.

3.Bring the yarn to the back, wrapping the slipped stitch. [Not Shown] When the first stitch of the next row is a Purl stitch, bring the yarn to the from the back to the front.

4. Continue working in pattern across row.

Part Two: INTRODUCING A NEW COLOR, WITH A SELF-EDGE

5. Work until one stitch remains in the row before you wish to introduce the new color.

6. Work the final stitch with new color.

7. Turn the work so that it is on the left hand needle. When the first stitch of the next row is a Knit stitch, hold the yarn to the front. [Not Shown] When the first stitch of the next row is a Purl stitch, hold yarn to the back.

8. Slip the first stitch (in the new color) to the righthand needle, with the  working yarn held to the front. [Not Shown] If the first stitch of the next row is a Purl stitch, hold yarn to the back.

9. Bring the new working yarn to the back, wrapping the slipped stitch. [Not Shown] If the first stitch of the next row is a Purl stitch, bring the yarn to the from theback to the front.

10. Continue working in pattern across row with the new color.

Part Three: CARRYING UP THE NON-WORKING COLOR

11. With the work on the leftneedle, slip & wrap to selvedge theedge of the first stitch in the working yarn [shown in green]. Insert the right needle into the next stitch knitwise.

12. While holding the working yarn [shown in green], bring the non-working yarn [shown in blue]—while held to the back—up, around & over the working yarn, count-clockwise.

13. Continue wrapping thenon-working yarn [shown in blue] around the working yarn. Continue working in pattern across row.

©2012 Julie LeFrancois, Feather Press Studio & Project-Hallway.com. All Rights Reserved. Do Not Duplicate without expressed permission by the author.

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One thought on “Free Knitting Tutorial: How to Knit Stripes and a Selvedge Edge while Carrying Up the Non-Working Color

  1. Pingback: Gwennie Striped Scarf, and the Arrival of Autumn « Project Hallway

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