In many of my patterns you can find the instructions to start the row with: “Slip the first stitch” and to finish the row with:“knit the last stitch”, no matter what the rest of the pattern says. We call it edge stitches and it is very important to make them look good. It is a very simple technique, but it still seems to puzzle many people.
Why and when do we slip the first and knit the last stitch? What difference does it make to your knitting if the first stitch is slipped? It makes your edges look very neat. I recommend slipping the first stitch on the open surfaces as scarfs, front lines of cardigans, shawls, blankets, etc.
By slipping the fist stitch of the row you make your edge tighter (because you are basically knitting this stitch every other row) and if it is done right – a beautiful braid runs along your edges. Sometimes I also do it on the side of a sweater because it is extremely easy to sew when the edges are done with the slipped stitch, but you have to be careful with the sides as it could be too tight for some patterns. it usually works very well with higher number of rows per inch, for example seed stitch. NEVER slip the first stitch on armholes or raglans as it will make the seams feel tight and uncomfortable.
Often people ask me how to slip the first stitch: “as of to purl” or “as of to knit”? If you follow my method of knitting the last stitch (not purling), you should slip it “as to purl”.
If you are not familiar with this technique and want to learn how to slip the first stitch right, cast on 15 sts, knit the first row and watch my little video.