Guest blogger series: Sideways edge knitting pattern

by kath_red on 08/03/2011

in Guest Series 2011, Whip Up Tutorials

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Lee Meredith to guest blog at Whipup. Lee is a maker of things and doer of stuff.

I live in Portland, Oregon and focus mainly on designing knit accessories, but I also dabble in all kinds of crafts, and write about them all on my Blog Do Stuff! . I also run a website,, where you can find all my knit designs, embroidery stitch sets, tutorials, yarn, and more!

Sideways edge cast-on and a free knitting pattern: Cassady

Awhile back, I developed this technique that I’ve been using in a lot of my patterns lately, which I call a sideways edge cast-on. It’s not what you normally think of as a “cast-on” because you’re knitting a whole piece at the same time, any way you want, but you’re leaving new stitches along the side, which you go back to later and knit across, which is why those stitches are essentially cast-on stitches. It’s a way to knit something in 2 directions without ever having to pick up stitches or sew seams. Anyway, I wrote all about the technique here, but it’s kind of hard to grasp just by reading about it, even though it’s very easy to do!

So, I wanted to offer up a free pattern using the cast-on method, as a kind of introduction to show you how simple it really is! Cassady can use any yarn and needles, works up pretty quickly, and uses only garter stitch, a couple of increases, and 4 different decreases. It’s a great pattern for an adventurous beginner knitter, ready to try out some new techniques, practice some new increases+decreases, but keep it small and simple.

Once you try out this kerchief and see how easy the technique is, maybe you’ll want to put it to use with one of my more complex customizable patterns! My Custom Tritops hats and the Betiko shawl, both pictured here, take advantage of the sideways edge stitches to make completely custom sized, any-gauge, super versatile designs that you can knit again and again in all different ways!

Cassady Pattern

Cassady is a great way to show off a nice multi-colored yarn – since it’s worked in two different directions, variegated or self-striping yarns will really make the most of the design. The yarn I used here is some beautiful hand-dyed worsted weight merino wool by Knitted Wit, perfect!

This pattern works for any gauge, so you can choose any weight yarn, and the appropriate needle size to match. Worsted weight and finer will work best, as a bulky yarn will make for a bulky kerchief, not ideal; sock yarns will work wonderfully! There’s no need to do a gauge swatch, unless you want to check if a certain needle size will work well with your yarn – the whole pattern is garter stitch, so do any testing in garter (knit all, flat).

– Use either 1 very long circular needle (at least 32″ but longer is better), or use any shorter circular (16″ is fine) plus a set of straight needles (2 double points would work, or a second circular) of the same size. The whole piece is knit flat, but the circular cord is necessary to hold the extra sideways stitches.
– You also need 1 stitch marker, and a yarn needle to weave in ends.

st(s) = stitch(es)
k = knit
kfb = knit into front of stitch, then into back (increases 1 – see here for help)
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together (decreases 1 – see here for help)
m1 = lift a strand of yarn between the stitches on the right and left needles, with your left needle, from front to back, and knit into the back loop (increases 1 – see here for help)
p2tog = purl 2 stitches together (decreases 1 – see here for help)
p2tog TBL = purl 2 stitches together through the back loop (decreases 1 – see here for help)
ssk = slip, slip, knit slipped stitches together (decreases 1 – see here for help)
RS = right side
WS = wrong side

If you’ve never used short rows before, you may find them weird at first and feel like you’re doing something wrong – you’re not! There is no need to wrap stitches or anything like that which normally happens with short rows, but you will just be turning your work before knitting across the entire row. When the pattern says “turn,” do just that. Stop working in that direction, turn your work, and start working back in the other direction. This is how those sideways edge stitches are formed, it’s magical!

If you’re using 2 sets of needles, start with the circular.

Start first strap:
– Cast on 1 (just make a slip knot and place it on your needle).
– Row 1: Kfb (2 sts now).
– Row 2: K all.
– Row 3: K to last 1, kfb.
– Row 4: K all.
– Repeat rows 3-4 until piece measure about 1.5 inches /4cm across.
– Knit all, both sides, until piece measures about 8 inches /20cm long.

Start sideways edge cast-on section (creating new stitches along the side edge of the piece):
– Setup row: Kfb, place marker, k to end.
– WS row: K to marker, pass marker, k1, turn.
– RS row: Kfb, pass marker, k to end.
– Repeat last 2 rows until the section with sideways stitches measures about 14 inches /36cm long, or until it comfortably stretches to about 20 inches /50cm, or until that part reaches around your head.

If you’re using 2 pairs of needles, then start using your separate needles now. *After the following row, pull the end of the circular so that the sideways stitches are all on the circular cord, to avoid the chance of them slipping off the end of the needle.

Ending sideways edge row:
– K to marker, remove marker, k1.*

Start second strap:
– If you’re using 1 long circular needle, at this point you’ll need to pull the end of the needle which is coming out of the sideways stitches (the stitches not being worked) so that all those stitches are on the cord (not the needle points). You’ll use the 2 needle points to continue knitting the other side of the strap, but with the cord in between holding onto all those sideways stitches, which don’t get touched for now.
– Knit all strap stitches (the live stitches that you just knit, not the sideways edge stitches) until strap piece measures about 6.5 inches /17cm, or the same as the other strap up to where it comes in at a diagonal, or longer if you prefer asymmetrical straps.

– Strap point row 1: K to last 2, k2tog.
– Strap point row 2: K all.
– Repeat those 2 rows until decreasing down to 1 stitch.
– Break yarn and thread through stitch.

Start triangular section:
– Slide circular needle into sideways stitches so the point is in the side that you started on (not the side you just finished on), and begin working into those stitches.
– Setup row: K1, [m1, k2] repeat across to end of row (you may end after k2, or k1 depending on how many stitches you had).
– WS row: P2tog, k to last 2, p2tog TBL.
– RS row: Ssk, k to last 2, k2tog.
– Repeat those 2 rows until there are either 2 or 3 stitches remaining.

– If there are 2 stitches, then: Ktog if you’re on the RS row; p2tog if you’re on the WS row.
– If there are 3 stitches, then:
– RS: Ssk, slip that stitch back over to the left-hand needle, pass remaining stitch over ssk’d stitch.
– WS: P2tog, slip that stitch back over to the left-hand needle, pass remaining stitch over p2tog’d stitch.
– Break yarn and pull through the last stitch.

Weave in all your ends, and block as you want to (blocking isn’t especially important with this piece).
Tie it on around your head, or around your neck if you like!

Now, hopefully you have an understanding of how the sideways edge cast-on works and you can take it into your own projects! Happy knitting

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shawna March 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I can’t wait to try this! The shawl looks a bit more challenging, but totally funky and gorgeous!


2 Seanna Lea March 9, 2011 at 6:29 am

I’ll have to try this. I am definitely not a beginning knitter, but some of the language doesn’t really feel like it describes how it works. This is probably much like one of those trust the instructions. Like your first sock heel.


3 Lois March 13, 2011 at 1:50 am

Ok, I’m confused with the turn and the directions when you first turn. I looked at your photos, but that doesn’t seem to get it for me either. Do you have photos somewhere else or a tutorial that shows the steps? I’m definitely not a beginner, but I’m pretty confused.



4 Lee March 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm

So, when you first turn, at the end of the first WS row when beginning the sideways edge cast-on section, there will just be one stitch you’re not knitting at the end. Each WS row that follows will be leaving you with 1 more stitch that’s left on the needle, un-worked, when you turn (because of the kfb increases).

All “turn” means is to turn your work and start working in the other direction, for the next row; it’s like you finished the row and now you’re working the next row, but you just don’t finish all the stitches in the row like you normally would.

I’m not really sure what else I can say… if you’ve never done short rows before, then it will feel kind of weird and wrong at first until you see it starting to look how it’s supposed to, with the stitches all along the side of the strip. If you just do it, it should click for you soon! :)


5 kath_red March 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Thanks Lee for chiming in here:)



6 elizabeth March 5, 2012 at 4:36 am

My mother knitted me a sideways pleated cardigan in the 60s, I’ve still got the cardigan but not the pattern every time i wear I get lots of nice comments. I would love to make one but don’t know how. I will try your instuctions and maybe get the hung of how it is worked.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: