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November 20, 2006

Turned Hem Revisited

Many, many thanks to Margaux and to Whitney for recommending a Provisional Cast On when working a turned hem.  Always in an experimental mood, I tried this technique for my sleeve hem.  Can I tell you, it was much, much, much -- did I say much -- easier than picking up the cast on stitches.  The live stitches created by the provisional cast on also ensured a straight hem alignment.

Is "Provisional Cast On" Greek to you?  In a nutshell, a provisional cast on creates two sets of live stitches, the first set ends up on your knitting needle and are worked first.  At some point -- in the near or far future -- the second set are taken and worked in the opposite direction.  There are two basic ways to work a provisional cast on -- check out the videos for The Invisible Provisional Cast On or The Crochet Provisional Cast On.

Now for the turned hem avec le provisional cast on.  Work the hem as described before up to the last step, then...

Fold the hem inward along the turning edge.  Take the live stitches from the provisional cast on and place them on a separate needle.

In this picture, the live stitches were held on scrap yarn -- the white yarn -- and have been transfered to a spare double pointed needles -- the back needle.  I can now removed the scrap yarn, it's done its job.

Knit two stitches together.  One stitch from the front needle -- a sleeve stitch -- and one stitch from the back needle -- a hem stitch.  Repeat across the needle, joining the hem to the sleeve.

This technique is similar to the 3 needle bind off without the bind off.

Once you're all the way around, the hem is completely turned and beautifully joined to the sleeve.  Easy as pie!

November 20, 2006 in Project - Elizabeth Z., Tips and Techniques | Permalink


wow... so useful. I have often seen the provisional cast on mentioned in patterns, but I always ignored it and never actually knew what it was. I watched the video and I was truly amazed. Good website too, I had never seen knitting videos online before :)

Posted by: Maggie | Nov 20, 2006 4:33:56 PM

Oh WOW, I just realized that the site with all the videos on it uses continental knitting. Which is how I knit! I never get to see anyone knit that way... so exciting!

Posted by: Maggie | Nov 20, 2006 4:37:22 PM

Thanks for this, but argh! Just one day too late. I've just suffered through my third turned hem (bottom of sweater, two sleeves) and wish I had used a provisional.

Never again! Thanks Nona!

Posted by: Liz K. | Nov 20, 2006 4:40:40 PM

Thanks! I am always looking for good ways to do things.

Posted by: Brenda | Nov 20, 2006 5:03:34 PM

Great! I like the pictures with the description. Thanks Nona.

Posted by: Punkins | Nov 20, 2006 6:28:18 PM

I love this kind of hem! Feels so cool when you pick up the provisional stitches and it's all neat and tidy. I do usually knit one less row on the inside (cast on) side than the main sweater side, so if there's any flipping going on it flips inward.

Posted by: Kathy | Nov 20, 2006 6:57:46 PM

Hehe, I posted a hem tutorial like that in early 2005
And Savannah Chik posted about it recently too
Must be something in the air ;)

Posted by: Marnie | Nov 21, 2006 9:40:09 AM

Nona, I am so on that same turned-hem wavelength. It's the influence of brooklyntweed, isn't it? Just this morning, I did this for the second sleeve of the sweater for Jason (he likes the colors you helped me pick out at your LYS, by the way). I am normally all about ribbed or garter-stitch hems, but the more I work the turned hem, the more I fall in love.

Posted by: Sarah | Nov 21, 2006 12:41:38 PM

Cool! Thanks for the info.

Posted by: Arleta | Nov 21, 2006 12:52:19 PM

Provisional cast on turned hems are so great. You can do them with a picot edge, too.

Here's a picture of my Snake Skin Socks that uses a picot edged turned hem.

You have to have a number of stitches divided by 4. Just *k2T, YO* on the 'turn' row.

Posted by: Karla (threadbndr) | Dec 3, 2006 9:36:33 AM

Darn, hit "post" too soon. The "turn row" is the row that will become the 'edge' of the hem. Usually it's the midpoint row of your hem knitting. I often use a single purl row on plain hems like the one in Nona's pictures. That encourages your kniting to fold neatly along a line. (I think that's an EZ trick, but I've used it so long I don't remember where I got it from!)

Posted by: Karla (threadbndr) | Dec 3, 2006 9:41:05 AM

Yay! I'm always looking for new ways to never have to do finishing, what a great way to do it!


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