Composition of an Edging
Some artistic advantages of edgings are: to add a pop of color, to bring attention to an interestingly shaped project, to make a project more feminine, and to make your project different from every other version of the pattern ever made!
Some practical advantages to “edginess” are: to add structure to a piece that is too drapey, to add lightness to a more densely stitched project, to add to the overall size of the completed piece, and to use up leftover or remainder yarn.
A great edging will complement the body of the piece—it will reflect the stitches and shapes within the piece with similar stitches, mood and openness in the edging. You don’t want an edging that looks “stuck on” but rather one that is integrated into the look of the piece. You don’t want an afterthought edging, but something that looks like it belongs together, like peanut butter and jelly. An edging can look integrated into the body of the piece by using color to help unify them.
A project with a busy stitch pattern might look best paired with a simple edging and vice versa; that is, a simple stitch pattern in the body of a piece might be elevated by a more intricate edging.
In general, it’s helpful to create an edging that allows the project to lie flat. Too many stitches in a space will create a ruffled edge, while too few stitches will make the project cup like a bowl. Sometimes a tighter edge that makes the fabric cup is useful. One example is when a sleeve cuff is slightly too big. Adding an edging that is slightly tighter in gauge will help decrease the cuff circumference. Adding an edging with extra stitches can help stretch a fabric that is slightly too small. By adding extra stitches, it will open up the fabric and hold it open, almost like a permanent blocking wire. Edgings may be just one row/round or may be multiple rows/rounds. Usually an edging worked in rounds forms a continuous border of stitches around the perimeter of a piece with the right side facing and no turning. Generally, an edging made of rows is turned and worked with a wrong and a right side. Keep an eye on instructions however, because projects that might benefit from a reversible fabric may use an edging that uses turned rows or rounds.
Many times an edging begins with a foundation row of single crochet. Working along the side of knit rows, it can be difficult to see where to place stitches. For this reason, it’s often a good idea to work the foundation row/round of the edging in the same color as the body of the pattern. Subsequent rows/ rounds of edging will look more clean and crisp with a foundation that is not distracting or jagged.
A dictionary of crochet edgings is a great resource. Often edgings are listed with the multiple of stitches that the edging will fit. Instructions for an edging might say “multiple of 4 sts + 1”; then you will know to make your foundation single crochet row/round to fit the multiple of the edging you would like to choose. It is often easy to “ease” the exact number of stitches on the foundation single crochet row/round to get the desired number.
If a simple edging is all that is needed to finish off a great pattern, choose an edging that says it works with “any multiple” because it is guaranteed to fit any project regardless of how many stitches there are.
Many of the edgings in stitch dictionaries are composed of a few to several rows/rounds of stitching. As you are choosing, remember that if an edging has five rows/rounds, you don’t have to do all five. You can stop at any time the edging is pleasing to you.
The samples on page 88 are worked in rounds, as is the border for the Mini Scarflette on page 89.
Included are a few edgings to try on your next project! I alternated colors on rounds to show you each distinct component. This will also help you envision what it will look like without the subsequent rounds added if you choose to work fewer rounds. Use all the same color for a more unified look.
If you are not familiar with crochet stitches and abbreviations, see Crochet Class on page 112. Choose a crochet hook about the same size as the knitting needle used for the project.