Elementary questions - neat edges, counting rows

Is there a right or wrong way to make selvage edges-- that is, the beginning and end of rows? Mine always look too loose, even though I pull them up after the stitch. Should you slip or knit or what? I find it very difficult to do that mattress stitch with a sloppy edge.

How do you count rows? Particularly on the purl.

I slip the first stitch of every row to make neat, tight edges.

For counting purls, use the bumps–there should be two very close rows of half-moons (at least that’s how I see them!), and they alternate: one curved side down, one up, one down, one up, etc. That’s ONE row of purl stitches. If you’re counting purl rows in stockinette, count those half-moon rows. The form a sort of stripe, really, and are easy to see unless you’re using fingering-weight yarn.

Oh, I see it, I see it! I have never read that anywhere and have read about a dozen knitting books. Either I overlooked that little bit of info or it was assumed to be obvious. Thank you so much!


But, about those edges - do you mean to slip as if to purl or to slip as if to knit? What if you had a pattern that read K1, k2 tog, etc. - would you disregard the first K1 and slip it instead?

Oops, I guess I’ve posted in the wrong spot - should have been in How To Questions. Thanks for not making me feel dumb.

That’s okay… it’s a general knitting question too.