How Do You Stop the Sides From Curling When Knitting a Sweater?

Written by virginia watson
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How Do You Stop the Sides From Curling When Knitting a Sweater?
Blocking a sweater will help prevent the edges from curling. (knitting image by hazel proudlove from

Of all knit stitch patterns, stockinet -- knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side -- is arguably the most common, and the most likely to curl. The quickest way to keep a knitted item from curling is to use a stitch other than stockinet on the edges, but this is often not practical or attractive. It is difficult to keep a sweater from curling at the edges while you are knitting; however blocking each sweater piece prior to assembly will flatten out the curling and help the sweater to "remember" the shape it should hold when you wear it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Blocking board
  • Towel
  • Iron
  • Spray bottle
  • Measuring tape
  • Knitting pattern
  • Stainless steel pins

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  1. 1

    Read the pattern. Most sweater patterns will have a schematic with the final dimensions of each piece. Note the dimensions for the size you knitted and double-check against the finished product

  2. 2

    Set up your blocking board. Foam mats are ideal for blocking sweater pieces. If dampness and pins won't affect them, carpets, bedspreads, towels, mattresses and other flat surfaces can be used. Make sure your board is away from foot traffic and other things that may disrupt the blocking process.

  3. 3

    Dampen your knitting. There are numerous ways to block knitting; research the best way for the fibre content of your garment. Wet blocking is when you fully submerge your knitting in water prior to blocking. Steam blocking uses an iron with a steam setting to dampen the fabric, and spray blocking uses a spray bottle. Please note that a hot iron should never touch the fabric. Hold the iron an inch or two away from the surface so that your garment does not get burnt.

  4. 4

    Ease your garment piece into the proper shape and dimensions. After you have dampened the piece of your sweater, place it gently on the blocking surface and flatten out any bumps. Use your measuring tape to make sure that you are easing the garment to the correct size, as determined in Step 1. Please note that steam blocking can be performed during this step as well.

  5. 5

    Pin your garment into shape. Many fibres require extra help in order to retain their shape while drying. Pinning out the edges can help ensure that they do not curl after you remove the garment from the blocking boards.

  6. 6

    Allow your knitting to dry. Each fibre and type of blocking will have different drying times, ranging from an hour to a few days. This also depends on the levels of humidity in the blocking area. On rainy days drying may take longer.

  7. 7

    Remove your knitting from the blocking boards. Carefully unpin the fabric. At this point your knitting should be flat and not curling at the edges any longer. Some fibres may require further blocking; however, most will respond well to a single session.

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