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A to Z: Beyond the Basics

Bands


Bands, borders and edges are used to complete garments and to cover and flatten raw edges on knit pieces that have a tendency to curl. Bands and borders are usually wider than edges; they are used to give stability to pieces. Edges, such as those in lace patterns, are often used to add a decorative touch.

The classic ribbing stitch is often used for bands, but you can use a number of other stitch patterns. Choose those that don’t curl, such as garter or seed stitch, except when curling is desired or for folded bands.

You can work a band at the same time as the piece, but for a firmer edge, work it separately on smaller needles. You can either pick up stitches to work a separate band or apply the band once the piece is complete. Prepare pieces for picked-up bands by adding selvage stitches on the edges. For picked-up bands, be sure to have the correct number of stitches. Too few stitches will make the band pull in; too many will cause it to wobble or ruffle. Check the band gauge on your knit swatch.

You can make bands and borders of single or double thickness. They are usually not more than 1-2"/2.5-5cm wide, so that they remain stable. Bands can also be reinforced with ribbon or tape to keep them firm.

RIBBED BANDS

Ribbed bands are flexible and elastic, which makes them perfect for areas that are intended to grip. They can be simple knit one, purl one or knit two, purl two ribbing or some of the other variations shown below.

horizontal
ribbed horizontal band    

This band, more elastic than a vertical one, is often used on cardigan or jacket fronts. It is the easiest type of band to work, but it requires careful attention to make sure that you pick up the correct number of stitches for an even, flat edge.

   
vertical
ribbed vertical band ribbed vertical band  

For an unbroken line, you can work vertical bands from ribbing stitches left on a holder after the lower edge is complete. Once beginning the band, add a selvage stitch for seaming.

To attach the vertical band, pin it along the edge as you work, without stretching it. Then either bind off the stitches or leave them on a holder to work the neckband. Sew the band in place.  

STOCKINETTE STITCH BANDS

doubled on a curve
stockinette stitch band    

This band is picked up and worked with a turning ridge. To keep the curved edges flat, decrease stitches on every knit row up to the turning ridge, then increase to correspond on the second half.

   
picot band
stockinette stitch band    

Pick up an odd number of stitches for this doubled band. Work picot row on the right side as follows: *Knit two together, yarn over; repeat from the *, end knit one. Work inside band to match outside.