How to flatten knitting curling

How to flatten knitting curling

If you’ve ever picked up a knitting project and noticed that the edges are curling, you’re not alone. Curling is a common issue that can leave your finished project looking less than perfect. Fortunately, there are several easy techniques you can use to stop knitting from curling.

1. Blocking: Blocking is a simple technique that involves wetting your finished project and then stretching it to the desired shape and size. This process helps to relax the fibers and sets them in place, preventing curling. To block your knitting, fill a basin with lukewarm water and a squirt of mild detergent. Place your project in the water, gently squeezing it to remove any air bubbles. Allow it to soak for about 15 minutes, then remove it from the water and lay it flat on a clean towel. Gently shape your project to the desired dimensions, making sure to smooth out any curls. Leave it to dry completely before removing the pins.

2. Changing needle size: Sometimes, curling can be caused by using the wrong needle size for your yarn. If your knitting is curling despite following the pattern correctly, try switching to a larger needle size. This can help to create a looser tension and prevent the edges from curling. Experiment with different needle sizes until you find the one that works best for your yarn and pattern.

3. Adding a border: Another effective technique for stopping knitting from curling is to add a border. By knitting a few rows of garter stitch or seed stitch at the beginning and end of your project, you can create a stable edge that won’t curl. This border acts as a frame for your knitting and helps to keep the stitches in place. Choose a complementary stitch pattern and knit the border in a contrasting color for added visual interest.

4. Using a different stitch pattern: Some stitch patterns are more prone to curling than others. If you’re experiencing excessive curling in your knitting, consider switching to a stitch pattern that lays flat. Stockinette stitch, for example, is known for curling, while ribbing and moss stitch tend to be more stable. Experiment with different stitch patterns to find the one that works best for your project.

5. Incorporating blocking wires: If blocking alone isn’t enough to stop the curling, you can try using blocking wires. These flexible wires can be inserted along the edges of your knitting and stretched to the desired shape. They provide extra stability and help to keep the edges from curling. Simply thread the wires through the stitches along the edge of your project and then gently pull them to straighten the edges. Once you’re happy with the shape, allow your project to dry completely before removing the wires.

By implementing these techniques, you can easily stop knitting from curling and achieve a professional-looking finish for your projects. Don’t let curling edges ruin your hard work – try these simple solutions and enjoy your beautifully flat knitting!

Why Does Knitting Curl?

Have you ever finished a knitting project only to find that it curls up at the edges? This can be frustrating, especially if you’ve put a lot of time and effort into creating your piece. Understanding why knitting curls can help you prevent it from happening in the future.

One of the main reasons why knitting curls is due to differences in tension between the knitted fabric and the yarn used. When knitting, the yarn tension pulls the stitches horizontally, creating a natural tendency for the fabric to curl towards the side with more tension.

Another factor that can contribute to knitting curling is the stitch pattern used. Certain stitch patterns, such as stockinette stitch, are more prone to curling because the tension on the knit side of the fabric is different from the purl side. This difference in tension causes the fabric to curl towards the knit side.

Additionally, the type of yarn used can affect the curling of your knitting. Yarns with less elasticity, such as cotton or linen, are more likely to curl because they don’t have as much natural bounce-back as wool or acrylic yarns.

Environmental factors can also play a role in knitting curling. Changes in humidity or temperature can cause the fibers in the yarn to expand or contract, which can lead to curling. Blocking your finished knitting project can help minimize the effects of these environmental factors.

To prevent knitting from curling, there are several techniques you can try. One option is to use a different stitch pattern, such as garter stitch or ribbing, which are less likely to curl. You can also try blocking your finished project, which involves wetting the fabric, shaping it, and allowing it to dry flat.

Another technique is to use a different yarn that has more elasticity, which will help the fabric to lay flatter. Paying attention to your tension while knitting can also make a difference in preventing curling. Finally, adding a border or edging to your knitting project can help prevent curling by providing extra stability and weight to the edges.

By understanding why knitting curls and implementing these techniques, you can create beautiful, flat knitting projects that don’t curl at the edges.

Understanding the Issue

One common problem that knitters often face is the issue of curling when knitting. It can be frustrating to spend hours on a project only to have it curl up at the edges, leaving you with a less than desirable final result. Understanding why this happens and what can be done to prevent it is essential for any knitter.

When knitting, the edges of the fabric tend to curl inwards due to the tension in the yarn. This curling is caused by the natural properties of the knitted fabric, as well as the stitches used. It is particularly common in stockinette stitch, where the curls can be more pronounced.

The reason why this happens lies in the alternating rows of knit and purl stitches. The knit stitches create a flat, smooth surface on one side of the fabric, while the purl stitches create a bumpy texture on the other side. This difference in texture causes the fabric to curl towards the bumpy side.

To prevent curling, it is important to create balance in the tension between the knit and purl stitches. Additionally, certain techniques can be employed to alter the fabric’s natural tendency to curl. In the following sections, we will explore five easy techniques that can help stop knitting from curling and create beautifully finished projects.

Blocking Techniques

Blocking is a process used to shape and align the stitches in your knitting project. It involves wetting the knitted piece and then stretching or pinning it into shape, allowing it to dry and set in that desired shape. Blocking not only helps to prevent curling, but it also enhances the drape and appearance of your finished project.

There are several blocking techniques that you can use to stop knitting from curling:

  1. Wet Blocking: Wet blocking involves fully submerging the knitting in water, gently squeezing out the excess moisture, and then pinning it into shape. This technique is commonly used for natural fibers like wool and cotton.
  2. Steam Blocking: Steam blocking involves using a steam iron or steamer to apply steam to the knitting. Hold the iron or steamer a few inches above the fabric and allow the steam to penetrate the fibers. Then, stretch and shape the knitting as desired.
  3. Spray Blocking: Spray blocking is a quick and easy technique that involves lightly misting the knitting with water until damp. Then, shape and stretch the knitting into the desired shape and allow it to dry.
  4. Pin Blocking: Pin blocking is commonly used for lace or intricate stitch patterns. After wetting or misting the knitting, use rust-proof T-pins or blocking wires to secure the knitting into the desired shape. Straighten the edges and adjust the tension as needed.
  5. Combination Blocking: Combination blocking involves using multiple blocking techniques to achieve the desired results. For example, you can start with wet blocking to get the initial shape, and then use steam blocking or pin blocking to further refine the shape and eliminate any remaining curling.

Blocking is an essential step in achieving a professional finish to your knitting projects. It may take some practice to find the right technique for your specific project, but once you master the blocking process, you’ll be able to enjoy well-shaped, non-curling knitwear.

Changing Needle Size

One technique to alleviate curling in your knitting is to change the size of your needles. The size of the needles you use can have a significant impact on the tension and drape of your knitted fabric. By choosing larger or smaller needles than what is recommended for your yarn, you can adjust the overall gauge and potentially reduce curling.

If your knitting is curling, try using larger needles. This will create looser stitches and a more open fabric, which can help counteract the curl. By adding some extra “breathing room” in your stitches, the tension that is causing the curling can be relaxed, resulting in a flatter piece.

Alternatively, if you are already using larger needles and still experiencing curling, you can try switching to smaller needles. Using smaller needles will create tighter stitches and a denser fabric. This increased density can help to counteract the curling and produce a flatter finished piece.

It’s important to note that changing needle size can affect your gauge and overall garment size, so it’s a good idea to make a gauge swatch before starting your project. By knitting a small sample using the new needle size, you can measure the gauge and ensure it matches the pattern’s requirements.

Experimenting with different needle sizes is a simple yet effective way to combat curling in your knitting. It allows you to tailor the fabric’s tension to your liking and achieve a flatter finished product.

Using a Different Yarn

Using a Different Yarn

If you’re experiencing curling in your knitting project, one solution is to try using a different yarn. Certain yarns have a higher tendency to curl than others, so selecting the right type of yarn can help alleviate the problem.

Here are a few yarns you can consider:

  • Cotton Yarn: Cotton yarn is known for its ability to lay flat and not curl. It has less elasticity compared to other yarns, which can help prevent curling in your finished project.
  • Bamboo Yarn: Bamboo yarn is another great option to prevent curling. Like cotton, it has good drape and doesn’t have a strong tendency to curl.
  • Acrylic Yarn: Acrylic yarn is lightweight and has less of a tendency to curl. It’s also available in a wide variety of colors and is budget-friendly.
  • Blends: Yarn blends that incorporate fibers such as silk or linen may also help reduce curling. These fibers provide more weight and structure to the yarn, reducing its tendency to curl.

Keep in mind the following tips when selecting a different yarn:

  1. Check the Gauge: Make sure to check the recommended gauge for your project and choose a yarn that will match it. Using a different yarn with a different gauge may lead to other issues and affect the final size of your project.
  2. Consider the Project: The yarn choice can also depend on the type of project you’re working on. For example, if you’re making a shawl or scarf, a drapey yarn like bamboo or silk would work well. If you’re making a blanket or rug, a sturdier yarn like cotton or a blend may be more suitable.
  3. Experiment: If you’re unsure about the yarn, consider knitting a small swatch with different yarns to see how they behave. This can help you decide which yarn will work best for your project.

By selecting a different yarn that has less tendency to curl, you can improve the overall appearance of your knitted projects and reduce unwanted curling.

Trying a Different Stitch Pattern

Trying a Different Stitch Pattern

If you’ve tried blocking and other techniques to stop your knitting from curling, but still haven’t had success, it might be worth considering trying a different stitch pattern. Some stitch patterns naturally lay flatter and don’t curl as much as others.

When choosing a stitch pattern, look for ones that have a good balance of knits and purls, as this can help distribute the tension more evenly across the fabric. Also, consider patterns with more texture or ribbing, as these can help counteract the curling tendency.

Here are a few stitch patterns to consider:

  • Seed Stitch: Alternating between knit and purl stitches creates a textured fabric that resists curling.
  • Ribbing: Knitting ribbing, such as 1×1 or 2×2 rib, can help keep the edges of your knitting from curling.
  • Garter Stitch: Working every row in knit stitches creates a fabric that lies flat and doesn’t curl.
  • Moss Stitch: A combination of knits and purls in a specific pattern can produce a fabric that is less likely to curl.

Experimenting with different stitch patterns can be a fun way to add variety to your knitting projects while also solving the problem of curling edges. Keep in mind that changing stitch patterns may also affect the overall look and drape of your project, so it’s a good idea to swatch and see how the new stitch pattern works with your chosen yarn.

Adding a Border

Adding a border to your knitting is another method to prevent curling. This technique works well for scarves, blankets, and other flat items.

Here’s how you can add a border to your knitting:

  1. Choose a contrasting color of yarn for the border. This will make it stand out and give a nice finished look.
  2. Decide on the width of the border you want. It can be as narrow or as wide as you prefer.
  3. Start by picking up stitches along one edge of your knitting. Use a smaller needle size than what you used for the main project. This will help keep the border tight and prevent it from curling.
  4. Work a few rows of garter stitch or seed stitch for the border. These stitches create a textured pattern that helps prevent curling.
  5. Continue knitting the main project as instructed, but remember to add the border stitches at the beginning and end of each row.
  6. Repeat the border pattern on all edges of the knitting.
  7. Once you’ve finished knitting, bind off all stitches, including the border stitches.

Benefits of adding a border:

  • Prevents curling by adding weight and structure to the edges of the knitting.
  • Adds a decorative element to your project.
  • Allows you to include a contrasting color for visual interest.


Adding a border to your knitting is a simple yet effective way to prevent curling. Whether you prefer a narrow or wide border, this technique helps to add weight and structure to the edges of your project. Experiment with different stitch patterns and colors to create a unique border that complements your knitting. Happy knitting!

Additional Resources

  • Curl Control Techniques: A comprehensive guide with step-by-step instructions on various techniques to prevent your knitting from curling. This resource includes detailed explanations and illustrations for each technique.
  • Blocking Tutorial: Learn how to block your knitting properly to prevent curling. This tutorial provides detailed instructions and tips on how to effectively block different types of knitted items.
  • Choosing the Right Yarn: Understanding the properties of different yarns can help prevent curling. This resource explains which types of yarn are less likely to curl and provides recommendations for choosing the right yarn for your projects.
  • Edge Stitch Options: Learn about different types of edge stitches that can help prevent curling. This resource includes instructions and illustrations for commonly used edge stitches.
  • Alternatives to Stockinette Stitch: If you’re tired of dealing with curling, this resource explores alternative stitch patterns that are less likely to curl. It provides instructions and examples for different stitch patterns you can try.

Remember that preventing curling may require a combination of techniques and experimentation. Don’t get discouraged if one technique doesn’t work for you, try different approaches until you find what works best for your knitting projects.


Why does my knitting always curl?

Your knitting may curl due to the natural properties of the yarn and stitch pattern you are using. Some stitches are naturally more prone to curling, while certain types of yarn can exacerbate the curling effect. Other factors such as tension and blocking techniques can also play a role in how much your knitting curls.

What are some techniques to stop knitting from curling?

There are several techniques you can try to stop your knitting from curling. One method is to add a border or edging stitch to your project, such as garter stitch or seed stitch. Another technique is to block your knitting by wetting it, shaping it, and allowing it to dry flat. You can also try using a larger needle size or adjusting your tension to help reduce curling. Additionally, using a different stitch pattern or yarn that is less prone to curling may also help.

Can knitting needles affect curling?

Yes, the size and type of knitting needles you use can affect curling. Generally, using larger needles can help reduce curling in your knitting. Additionally, using circular needles instead of straight needles can also help distribute the weight of your knitting more evenly and minimize curling.

How can tension affect curling in knitting?

Tension, or how tightly or loosely you knit, can affect how much your knitting curls. If you knit with very tight tension, it can cause your fabric to curl more. On the other hand, if you knit with very loose tension, it can result in a more relaxed fabric that may be more prone to curling. Finding a balanced tension that works for your knitting style and the project you are working on can help reduce curling.

Is there a specific yarn that is less prone to curling?

Yes, some types of yarn are less prone to curling than others. Yarns with more elasticity and memory, such as wool or wool blends, are generally less likely to curl. Additionally, yarns that are plied or have multiple strands can also help reduce curling. It is worth experimenting with different types of yarn to find one that works best for your desired outcome.

Can blocking prevent knitting from curling?

Blocking can be an effective method to prevent knitting from curling. Wet blocking your finished project involves soaking it in water, gently squeezing out the excess moisture, and shaping it into its final form while it dries. This process can help relax the stitches and flatten the fabric, minimizing curling. It is important to follow the blocking instructions specific to your yarn and project to achieve the best results.

What can I do if my knitting continues to curl despite trying different techniques?

If your knitting continues to curl despite trying different techniques, you may need to experiment further with alternative stitch patterns, yarns, or needle sizes. Some stitch patterns inherently curl more than others, so choosing a different pattern may be necessary. Additionally, it may be helpful to seek advice from experienced knitters or consult knitting resources for additional guidance and troubleshooting tips.


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