Tutorial: Turned hem

This is the procedure for creating a turned hem, as explained in my Message in the Static hat pattern. A couple of things before I get started – this turned hem will be shallower than the hem in the pattern because it’s for demonstration purposes. I’m also showing the process starting at the point where you fold the hem and start to pick up stitches to knit the two sides together, having previously knit the two sides of the hem separated by a purl row.

In the pictures, the orange stitch marker is the beginning-of-round marker; the green will be the removable marker used to align the first stitch of the CO round with the first row of the round on the needles to knit together the sides of the hem.

1. Weave in the CO end on the wrong side of the work – you need to do this now because you won’t be able to get to this yarn end once you knit together the two sides of the hem.

Weaving in the CO end on the WS of the hem.

Weaving in the CO end on the WS of the hem.

2. Fold the wrong sides of the hem together at the purl row.

The hem before knitting it shut.

Here’s what your hem looks like prior to starting to knit it shut. Your purl row is smack in the middle of it all.

Folding the hem at the purl row

Folding the hem to prepare to pick up the first stitch from the CO edge. I’m pinching it just next to the purl row on both sides to get things lined up..

3. If you haven’t done so already, mark the first stitch of the round on the CO edge with a removable stitch marker (one of those little plastic padlocks would be perfect, as would a knitter’s/coilless safety pin). This will help you line up your stitches as you get started on knitting the sides of the hems together.

Shows removable marker placed at 1st stitch of CO edge

I’ve just placed the removable stitch marker. To help locate the first stitch on the CO edge, follow the tail that you wove in at the beginning of this process. It’ll be right next to that tail.

Shows what's meant by "both arms"

The yarn needle here is going under both arms of the stitch on the CO edge – they form that sideways V. If you crochet, this should look pretty familiar.

4. Align both arms of the first stitch on the CO edge with the first stitch in the round currently on the needle, stick your right needle through all three strands of yarn, and knit both stitches together. I sometimes find it helpful to pick up the stitch from the CO edge with the right needle and then slip it knitwise onto the left needle before knitting the stitches together.

Right needle used to pick up CO edge stitch

Here’s what I mean by taking the CO-edge stitch on my right needle and using the right needle to place that stitch on the left needle.

CO edge stitch slipped and ready to be knit together with 1st stitch of the round

Here’s the CO edge stitch (the two strands nearest the tip of the left needle) ready to be knit together with the first stitch in the round currently on the needle (the single strand just to the left of the CO edge stitch).

First stitch from needle knit together with first stitch from CO edge

And here’s that first stitch from the current round, knit together with the first stitch from the CO edge. I’ve removed the green stitch marker to more easily knit the three strands together.

5. Continue around the hem, picking up 1 stitch on the CO edge for each stitch currently on the needle and knitting both stitches together to close the turned hem.

Almost-completed hem

The turned hem mostly complete, as seen from above. The little “pocket” to the right of the orange stitch marker is the section that hasn’t yet been knit shut.

WS view of completed section of the turned hem

Here’s what your WS will look like once you’ve completed part of the hem. The purl ridge is at the bottom.

6. When you get to the last few stitches, you may find it slightly difficult to pick up the stitches, depending on the gauge at which you’re knitting/yarn that you’re using/needle configuration. That’s pretty normal.

7. If the pattern has you start working in a different color for the part after the turned hem, break the hem color and leave a 6-8″/15-20 cm tail to weave in later.

Finished view of turned hem

Here’s the final product, turned inside out to show you the WS. The yarn tail has been cut and hangs down just to the left of the orange marker (remember, you’re looking at the WS here).

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