Knitting Help – Why is My Knitting Curling?

In this video, I’m going to answer a question
that I get all the time, Stacy, why is my knitting curling? And usually the question
is asked to me this way, “Stacy, I’m a beginning knitter. I’ve decided to knit a totally simple
scarf, a totally simple stockinette scarf. And it’s curling up, and will blocking help?” And I see this question so much, and it’s
because people, especially beginning knitters, think scarf is very simple, stockinette is
very simple. It’s a match made in heaven. But it’s not, because stockinette curls up.
And really, any stitch combination you’re using for a flat piece of knitting, that is
what I would call stockinette-based, where there are more knit stitches on one side and
more purl stitches on the other. That piece is probably not going to lie flat. So in this
video, we’re going to talk about your knitting curling up and when it’s good and when it’s
bad and how to avoid it, etc. To answer the first question, which is, will
blocking help my stockinette scarf that’s curling? Yeah, for five minutes. You can wash
it and set it out flat to dry, and it will look pretty good. And you’ll pick it up, and
you’ll put it on your neck. And you can watch your watch because, in three minutes, it’ll
be curling again. Stockinette stitch curls. The way you can avoid it a little bit is to
knit in a really big gauge, where using a big needle size and smaller yarn. Tighter
gauge will curl more. Looser gauge will curl less. But it’ll still curl. Okay, let’s go ahead and take a look at the
curling that I’m talking about and how to avoid it or how to love it. Here we go. Here is a sample in straight stockinette.
And this is actually a gauge swatch. People ask me all the time, “What do you do with
those swatches?” Well, I go into the bin and pull out little things so I can demonstrate
in videos like this. So this has been blocked, but it’s curling on the side because it’s
straight stockinette. It’s curling more on one side than the other, but it is curling
on both sides. And that’s just what stockinette does. And here is a stitch that I would call stockinette-based.
This is a fancy stitch combo called sugar cubes. And because it’s mostly knit on one
side and mostly purl on the other, it’s going to curl. And this has been totally blocked.
And as soon as I unpinned it from the blocking board, it did this. And it’s not bad for showing,
for demonstrating the stitch. But if this was my scarf, that would drive me nuts. So
that’s when it’s bad. Here’s an example of when it’s good. This
is funny. I made this hat years and years ago. And it’s one of my favorite hats because
it’s alpaca, which means it’s really warm. And it’s loose. It doesn’t mess up my hair.
But there’s no brim on this hat, you see? Well, there’s no brim knit in because the
brim is just this curling stockinette stitch. That’s what it does. That’s the brim of the
hat is the curl on the edge. So that’s when it’s good. That’s when you like it. You have
this brim. The curl of the stitch is actually worked into the pattern. And I, of course,
will give you a link to this alpaca hat pattern that I love so much. And here are some ways of getting around the
curling on stockinette. If you watch my video called “Stellar Swatching,” this is how I
knit stockinette swatches so they don’t curl. And it’s not really that big of a deal. I
can still measure stitches per inch if it was curling, but this is such a nicer experience.
If you knit a garter stitch border or any border around stockinette, it will keep it
from curling. It will always lie flat. And here’s one sample. Here’s my favorite
swatch. This is the swatch from my Rodeo Drive poncho, a cashmere swatch. It feels nice.
But the garter stitch border keeps it from curling. And here is another example I’m going to pull
up from my lap. This is a stockinette sweater. And the reason that it doesn’t curl-, because
it would be curling a lot here at the button band. The reason it doesn’t is because we
have a button band. There are no buttons on it, but it’s still called a button band. This
is knit on it to keep it from curling, and up here, the ribbing on the collar keeps it
from curling. And e have the same border at the bottom of ribbing that keeps it from curling.
So you end up with a sweater that’s stockinette like this, but it’s not curling because all
of the edges are carefully covered in ribbing that will help it lie flat. Now, let’s go ahead and take a look at some
examples of stitches that don’t curl. Here I have seed stitch, which is knit 1, purl
1, knit 1, purl 1. And then you purl the knits and knit the purls on the wrong side row.
It gives you this bumpy fabric. And because it’s half-knits half-purls on each side and
not predominantly one or the other, this lies flat. And it’s a pretty stitch. You can make
a whole scarf out of this and it would not curl. And here’s another example. This is just garter
stitch, which, when you’re knitting a flat piece, is knitting every row. And because
it’s knit every row on both sides, there are equal number of knits on each side, and it
does not curl, totally flat. This is an old swatch. So if it was blocked, it was years
ago. I think I might have used this in my log cabin blanket tutorial, and it still has
not curled. And here’s an example of a stitch that is
just enough knits and purls alternating to keep it from curling. This side has more.
The wrong side actually has more knits on it. So you would think there would be more
curling than this. But there are just enough knits and purls alternated in this basket
weave stitch. And this is a sample from my mimi hooded scarf pattern. Adjust enough to
keep it from curling and to keep it flat. And one last thing I don’t want to forget
to say. To all the people who ask me, “Will my stockinette scarf block out?” And I have
to say no. This is what I always tell them. I always say your best bet, especially if
you’re a beginning knitter, your best bet is to use a tried and true scarf pattern that
someone has designed in a stitch combination that won’t curl. The pattern that I always
recommend is called one row handspun scarf. I think that’s the name of it. You don’t have
to use handspun yarn. The pattern is by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee who is also known as the Yarn
Harlot. And I will give you a link to this scarf in the video description field below.
And it’s a great pattern because it is the same stitch, both sides are the same pattern
stitch repeat. It’s not masculine or feminine. It looks good on everyone. You can use any
yarn, any gauge, and it turns out to be a nice scarf. Anyway, all the links to everything you see
here as well as that scarf will be in the video description field below as well as on
my website. I hope I helped answer the question about why your knitting is curling. Good luck.

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