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Knitting Tips - Why is my knitting curling? 
Stockinette stitch always curls. It is usually used in sweaters, vests, or socks, with a non-curling border at the edges. That's why you see ribbing at the edges of sweaters.

For scarves, shawls, afghans, place mats, or anything else that you want to lie flat, stockinette is not a good choice. Garter stitch, which is made by knitting every row, producing a reversible ridged fabric, is a great choice. Other options are K1P1 ribbing or seed stitch. In fact, any stitch you pick where there are an equal number of knits and purls on both sides of the fabric won't curl. Remember, when you knit on the wrong side of the fabric, it makes a purl stitch on the right side, and vice versa.

You can add a border to the edge, such as seed stitch or ribbing, which will prevent the curling, but the whole border will have a tendency to flip to the front or the back of the piece. Another option is to line the entire piece either with a woven fabric or by knitting a second layer.

For example, if you want something like a scarf to be knit in stockinette but still not curl, the answer is to make it a double thickness. You can knit a rectangle that's the length of your scarf but twice as wide, then fold it in half longways and seam the edges together. A simpler solution, however, is to cast the all the stitches (for the double width) onto a circular needle, join the beginning and end of round, and knit until the scarf is as long as you want. This will make a long tube and no seaming is required. To join the the ends you may either seam them together or add fringes pulled through both layers.

Of course, you can use knitting's natural curl to your advantage. Knit a narrow scarf in novelty yarn using stockinette stitch. Give it a good hard tug lengthwise and you have a neat rolled scarf. For a knitted "boa," use a fuzzy or eyelash yarn and cast on enough stitches for the length of your scarf. Work a few inches in stockinette and bind off loosely. When you're done, give it a hard lengthwise tug and it will curl beautifully with the purl side out, in all its fuzzy glory.

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All text and images copyright © 2006 Margaret K.K. Radcliffe