I love i-cord selvage edgings that are worked simultaneously with your project. No afterthoughts here! They give a finished edge, and help keep stockinette from rolling. I’ve been using two techniques for this.
The first is on my Thrumbelina slippers, around the opening. This i-cord is accomplished by this little dance with the last 3 stitches of each row, both right and wrong side: Bring yarn to the front, slip last 3 sts purlwise. At the beginning of the next row, just knit.
As you can see, the edging curls towards you on the left edge, and away from you on the right edge. It takes working a few rows before you see the curl clearly, too. (There’s a column of garter stitch right next to the edging, to separate the stockinette from the i-cord.)
My Beanstalk scarf features a different knit-in i-cord edge. It works like this (wyif means with yarn in front):
Beginning of the row: K1, Sl 1 wyif, K1.
End of the row: Sl 1 wyif, K1, Sl 1 wyif.
You can use this on one edge or both edges; you just have to remember the dance for beginning or end.
These edgings look a little more like each other. I like using this edging on scarves and sideways shawls to give the edge a more finished look. It also helps reduce curling. (There’s a column of garter stitch right next to the edging, to separate the stockinette from the i-cord here, too.)
So why did I just run through these options? A knitter wrote to me with a question about the edging on the Thrumbelina slippers, because the edges look different. I thought about revising the pattern with the second i-cord technique, so I made these swatches. Here’s what I found:
The original edging on the Thrumbelina slipper is firmer and slightly bulkier. I like that for a slipper opening, so I’m not going to change it after all. If the slightly different appearance on each edge gives you the willies, you can always swap it out. Knitter’s choice!
Edited to add:
Based on Leslie’s comment below, I tried out her beginning of row i-cord edging: Slip 3 with yarn in back at beginning of RS rows, Slip 3 with yarn in front at beginning of WS rows. I kept my garter stitch column next to the i-cord, and worked in stockinette. Here’s the pic:
It rolls to the back on both edges, yay! But it doesn’t roll as tightly as the other two, so I’m still not changing anything. It’s good to have so many options, and I may play with more, but not right now. Other projects are calling!
Use these handy edges for all sorts of other knitting; they’re pretty cool. Where do you want to add them now?