Slipping first stitch

I watched the video on the video page and it talks about slipping the first stitch. My question is - can you ALWAYS do this (whether you are knitting or purling) and regardless of the pattern? When can’t you do this?

I don’t want to do it when I start a new project if I’m not supposed to, you know.


I only slip the first stitch and knit the last when the edge will show–like for a scarf.

If your edge stitches are loose, you can do it for anything, but when I’m going to seam something I don’t bother.

Thanks Ingrid. You do it on purl rows as well?

Yes, slip the first stitch of every row as if to purl, and knit the last stitch.

After you slip the first stitch, bring the yarn from the front to the back between the first and second stitches to knit the next stitch.

slipping the first stitch is a [COLOR=Red]selvage stitch
(where stitch means pattern, (as in garter stitch, stocking knit stitch)[COLOR=Black]

it is just one style of selvage stitch, and its OK, but not the best for seaming --but excellent for raw (unseamed edges) as you might find on a scarf.

many new knitter have a problem with the last stitch in a row being oversized and loose. (and this selvage stitch pattern help hide this)

for edges that are going to be seamed, follow this pattern:
on row 1, work one (knit or purl as pattern calls for), pull yarn snug. work stitch 2 and do the same.

continue across row, normally.

repeat row 1 ‘snugging up’ first and second stitch every row.

as you work a row, you stretch a stich… (by sticking the needle into it)

with each stitch, the stretch get passed to next stitch…(so even tight knitters find it gets easier to knit by end of the row!)

by the last stitch, all this ease created by stretching the stitches works its way into last stitch… and has no where to go! the last stitch swells with the accumulated ease.

if the first (and second) stitch are snug, (and smaller than the other stitches in the row) they can ‘absorb’ the ease, and not get too big.

there are other selvage stitche… one advanced one (again for unfinished/seamed edges) is YO, K2tog.

many newish knitters (and even many advanced knitters!) don’t feel comfortable making a YO as the first stitch…

some patterns (especial fine knits in the european style) call for 2 (yes two!) garter stitches as selvage stitches, and both of these get knit into seam… (in german style sock, they are used in heel, and left visible)


I never do; if I slip them, my end stitches are looser and sloppier than just knitting or purling them. I have found that when knitting the first stitch, if you pull on that a little, it takes up the slack in the last stitch on the row before and makes a neater edge as of troy suggests above.

I have to say I’ve never slipped a first stitch ever and never read about it until I came here.

Actually, I’d never heard of it either until I started knitting a couple years ago and read knitting forums. Must be why I’d never done it before. Tried it, sucked…