How to do mattress stitch when the stockinette edges curl like crazy?

Pattern says to fold it and work the mattress stitch to join the sides. I’ve seen good videos for mattress stitch, and I get how to do it. But this crazy curling really gets in the way of seeing where to put the darned needle!! I tried to iron the edges flat with a cotton cloth over the bookmark, using some steam, but the edges still rolled, of course.
I looked at many projects on Ravelry, and they all look perfect! HOW did they DO that??? Obviously I’m missing something! :worried:

I don’t know how all those people with videos manage to have such flat work. Maybe they wash and pin it out to dry flat before they seam them?

I seamed two sweaters of stocking stitch recently so I had a large section of curled fabric to seam up each time.
What I did was tack my edges (with a yarn of a different colour) at certain obvious points such as at a colour change, to match them up, then every 5 or 10 rows right the way up the seam. For each tack I ciunted my rows (the v shape) so that every row lined up. Then I put in a stitch going down into the v on one edge, up into the v on the second edge, down into the first up into the second, pulled it tightish and cut the yarn leaving several cm tail each side.
What this meant for me was that rather than dealing with a whole length of curling fabric, I was only dealing with a short section at a time. I could get this flat enough by just smoothing it on my lap and keeping my hands on it, basically holding it all in place long enough to count the rows and get the yarn in for the tacking stitch.
At times I just counted one edge whilst the other curled, when I put the sewing needle into the correct stitch I left it there whilst I flattened and counted the rows on the other edge. Then picked up my needle to get the tack sewn in.

After tacking it all the way up I started the mattress stitch with my matching yarn and for each section I just focused on something like 10 rows and just keeping those rows flat enough to work, or if not flat then at least just manageable to know where my needle should go. I pulled out the tacks as I approached them.

It doesn’t make your work flat but it helped me. Once you have a section mattress stitched that part lies flat so as you work up you only have the next few rows to deal with, not the previous rows.

This instruction also helped me, in part because it is photos not video so I could look without trying to pause a video, and in part because it has edges which are a bit messier than those usually shown on videos.

It’s a very cute book mark you’re making.


I thank so much for your reply! I think I will make this my plan of action. Count by 10 rows and tack, 10 more and tack. Much more manageable. Your instructions about counting 10 rows and putting the needle in one side then counting up the other side and putting the needle in the 10th stitch (well, under the bar of it…) were so clear. I felt like I was watching you do it. And I do appreciate just knowing that you have ‘been there’ before me! :slight_smile:
I don’t usually knit with sport weight yarn, and seeing aahllll of those tiny stitches hidden in the curl kind of stopped me in my tracks!
The Simple Knitting pics were helpful also. You’re right about the still photos being easier to follow.
Thank you again for sharing your method with me. You are a blessing! :sparkling_heart:


Oh I’m so glad its helped a bit… enough for you to have another go at it anyway.

With you mentioning the tiny stitches hidden in the curl, it reminded me of a video or photo I’ve seen with a thin knitting needle going up behind a bunch of bars which then helps to identify where they are. Have you seen something like that? I did a little of that at times too. I used a much smaller knitting needle and sometimes this fat plastic sewing needle I have (it’s for seaming chunkier wool, I was using a thinner metal sewing needle for the actual mattress stitch) and i still worked in those smaller groups of 10 stitches but if they looked a bit hard to find the bars I’d get a needle in behind first to find them.
Another thing is you can undo the mattress stitch if it goes a bit off track. I know its not ideal but as with knitting its good to to be overly cautious, things can be undo e and fixed.

Is the book mark felted? It looks like it is on the photo but it could just be a bit blurred.
It’s so cute. I might make one for my son to match the felted slippers I’m making as I have lots of wool left over.

Let us know how you get on.

It is a fiddly job, especially if you are joining 2 pieces that don’t have the same number of rows (they are knitted to a measurement). I start by putting some type of clip at each end and then clipping the halfway point. Then clipping the quarter-point, and so on. Then you can match the bumps and find the corresponding bar where you will insert your needle. It’s likely that the bumps will not match exactly but it will be close. Do not tighten the stitches right away. Do a section, make sure you like the look and then pull the yarn to close the gap.


Actually I am working on it right now! I’ve made up my mind that this is just going to be a slow process. And I did like your reminder that knitting can always be undone! :laughing:
The pattern isn’t calling for felting, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be felted! I think mine is a bit too big, actually, and I am using animal yarn… But this is for me. For you, sure, make it felted.
Actually I don’t have any pink or black embroidery thread to do the face, but I DO have the colors in the merino batt pieces I used to do some needle felting once on a felted bag I made. Hmmmm needle felting is a fun decoration! I ‘stole’ a needle felted standing sheep from someone in Ravelry’s wonderful felted wallet, and make a line of sheep along the bottom of my bag. If I wasn’t to lazy to get up, I’d take a pic and send it to you.
Are you decorating your son’s slippers at all?
I made some felted bunny slippers once. I wonder if we used the same pattern…
I made them for a friend who works with Houserabbit Rescue, but I forgot and left them going in the washer… by the time I remembered, they were WAY too small. Unfortunately I don’t any children in my life, so… my golden retriever got them!
Gosh I’d better get back to my bookmark!


Thank you. Yes, fiddly! At least each side does have equal number of rows!

They are in 2 colours. The main colour is cerise (pink has been hi fav colour since he was a tiny baby) with a sea blue cuff that folds down. I’ve only been knitting a couple of months so I don’t have a big stash of left over yarn to rummage through for things like decoration but I do have the left over of this yarn which is wool and alpaca mix. My son likes embroidery, lots of colours, beads and patterns and I saw a pic of, I think, Mexican slippers, which were highly decorative and he loved them but it was beyond my skill ability which is why we chose these more simple felted slippers.

I have been thinking of trying some knitted flowers with the left over yarn and felting them and see how they turn out and sew them onto the slippers after. I think they could be effective even with just the 2 colours.
My problem at the moment is seaming the slippers is taking longer than it should, I’m struggling to mattress stitch the dec rows where its shaped and I keep pulling it out.
And I’ve got RSI in my hand/fingers telling me to take a break from all knitting and sewing…which I don’t want to do.

I like the sound of your needle felted bag. I saw a felting demo several decades ago when I was at college, even made a piece, but never done any since.

I finally finished the bunny bookmark, which looks more like a mouse than a bunny, but I conquered the whole darn thing, and gave it away to my “house bunny rescue” friend. Embroidering on knitted fabric (not felted) is harder than I thought it would be. I’m not inclined to try it again, although I have seen some beautiful examples.


It’s lovely :blush: and very neatly done.
Congrats for conquering!

Well done! That’s a very cute bookmark.

thanks :slight_smile: