How do I keep my first rows from getting all ratty?

I’m a new knitter. I did a basketweave scarf in a very loose wool blend, and now I’m doing a toddler cardigan using Sugar N Cream cotton (I know lots of people only use that for dishcloths, but I love cotton and found a great multicolored one so I don’t have to keep switching yarn colors). The pattern is free from the Lion Brand website, Bubblegum Baby Set. The sweater is obviously not big, but is knit all in one piece.

My issue is, how the heck do I keep my knitting staying nice-looking? I’ve been working on this sweater a few weeks (I don’t have a lot of free time), and I’m getting there, but now the first stitches look like someone has already worn it 30 times. How do I keep this from happening? I’ve considered laying some sort of plastic on my lap to keep it from rubbing against my clothing, and maybe I should store it in something other than a cloth bag…?


Hi Mari, welcome to Knitting Help!

Some yarns do that more than others and if your gauge is loose then it can make it look worse, too. A toddler can be pretty hard on a sweater though so what you’re seeing is probably no worse than what it will get with him/her. I’m not sure there is anything you can do to make it stop. :shrug:

Bummer. My first reaction was that there is probably nothing you can do, but then your idea of plastic is appealing to me. Maybe it would help to take some plastic wrap like you use to seal things in the kitchen and wrap that all around the edge. I like “stretch-tite” (a brand, but any that is good). It should stick to itself so that you can completely enclose the side edges and bring it up on both sides of your piece and fold it over a time or two so that it has more strength along the edges and pin it through that part you have folded with a bunch of small safety pins on the front and the back. In other words completely enclose the piece you have made from the edge up to as close to the needles and you can get away with and still continue knitting. It doesn’t seem like it would hurt anything to try that and wouldn’t cost much, maybe you already have every you need around the house. Might be worth a try.

It will probably look better after you wash it. And after the little one has worn it a few times - falling down and spilling everything on it - it likely won’t look any different.

I agree, Sugar N cream looks better after it’s first washing.

On most yarns, it doesn’t matter how I align the yarn when I cast on. But with tightly twisted cottons, like Sugar N Cream, I get smoother stitches if I knit with the twist vs against it.