Many people automatically think of sewing when they hear the word hem or hemming. After all, hems are usually made by folding fabric and sewing it down in a particular way to make a neat sturdy edge. Knitted edges are often just a single layer of knitted fabric. However, knitted hems are a great way to give a unique clean look to your garment or project, especially when you want an edging that will not stretch out of shape or become too worn.

This makes hems a great choice for fibers such as cotton, bamboo, sugar cane and other plant fibers that often lack enough elasticity to make a neat ribbed edge. In this blog post you will see 3 different picot hems that were all made using slightly different methods and there will be a free pattern so you can make your own picot hem!

Picot Hem Method 1: Use a Provisional Cast-On

This method takes the most initial effort, but it is a foolproof way to get a perfect neat hem with reduced bulk. Here is the pattern I used for a summer top I am knitting from Sirdar Baby Bamboo DK. Feel free to use it for your own projects.

12 Row Picot Hem Using Provisional Cast-On

Special Note:
This stitch pattern requires a cast-on number divisible by 3+2 extra stitches. The number I had was 104. If you are knitting in the round, you will simply need a number divisible by 3.

Casting On: Use a provisional cast on. I used a crochet cast on and chained 104 stitches. Then I picked up a stitch through each of the chains.

Row 1: Purl all stitches
Row 2: Knit all stitches
Row 3: Purl all stitches
Row 4: Knit all stitches
Row 5: Purl all stitches

Row 6 (Picot Row): K1 *YO, K2TOG*, repeat until one stitch remains, K1.

Row 7: Purl all stitches
Row 8: Knit all stitches
Row 9: Purl all stitches
Row 10: Knit all stitches
Row 11: Purl all stitches

 With an extra needle of the same size ready, unravel your provisional cast on and pick up the stitches. Now I had 2 needles that each held 104 stitches each. The needle with my working yarn attached was in the front and the needle with the picked-up stitches was in the back, creating the folded hem.  

Row 12: Using my 3rd needle, I knit the first live stitch with the first stitch from the cast-on, and so on until the end of the row.

 At the end of the row, I had 104 stitches and a perfect picot hem.

Picot Hem Method 2: Picking Up Cast-On Stitches One By One

This is the simplest method but it requires some thought. You cast on the required number of stitches, using your usual method. You work a certain number of stockinette rows (such as 5) and then work a picot row. You then work 5 more plain rows.  Whether you are working in the round or flat, you need to end on a wrongside row so you can work the next step on the right side

 Step 1: Fold your hem with the wrongsides facing eachother.
 Step 2: Using the tip of your knitting needle, you take the first stitch of your cast-on row and place it on your lefthand needle. Then, you knit the picked up stitch and your first stitch together.

 You repeat step 2 for each seperate stitch by simply picking up its 'mate' in the cast on row and knitting it together with the stitch on your needle. When you finish, you will have a nice folded hem. 

 The only problem with this method is that if you don't carefully match the cast-on stitch to the stitch on your needle, you might accidentally skip a stitch or two and end up with a hem that is slanted or skewed. What will happen is that you will near the end of the row and you will either run out of cast-on stitches or you will have too many. As long as you are careful, this method works just fine.

Picot Hem Method 3: Picking Up Cast-on Stitches All at Once On a Seperate Needle
This is very similar to the second method but it uses a simple trick to avoid missing or skipping cast-on stitches.You will cast on using your usual method and knit your hem as described above until you reach the picking-up row.

  Step 1: Using a seperate needle of the same size you are knitting with (a circular needle works excellently for this), you will pick up each cast-on stitch before you begin knitting any stitches together. Once you are finished picking up your cast-on stitches, you should have the same number of stitches on both needles: the needle with your live stitches and your needle with the stitches you just picked up. The needle with the cast on stitches should be behind the needle with the live stitches, creating the folded hem appearance.

 Step 2: With a third needle of the correct size, simply slip your needle-tip through the first live stitch and the first picked-up stitch and knit them together. You will repeat this until the end of the row. This ensures that each stitch is paired with its cast-on mate and it makes a very neat edge.

 Simply repeat steps 1-2 until you reach the end of the row.