Bring on the Bands

Cardigan sweaters usually have bands that border the center front. Cardigan bands keep the center edge from stretching, add a neat trim to an otherwise rough-looking edge, and create a place for fastenings — usually buttons. You can knit a cardigan band in two ways: knit from the bottom up, or pick up stitches along the edge and knit them out sideways.

i Vertically knit bands are knitted in the same direction as the sweater body, from bottom to top. You can knit them as part of the front (usually in a noncurling stitch like rib, seed, or garter) or make them separately and sew them on later.

i Horizontally knit bands are usually made by picking up stitches along the center front edge and knitting at a right angle to the sweater body for an inch or so. Like vertical bands, you can knit them separately to be sewn on later if, unlike most knitters, you'd rather sew than knit.

It's a good idea to have some understanding of how these bands work — how to plan and make them. When you're familiar with both types, you just may decide to turn your perfectly fitting pullover pattern into a cardigan.

¥When you're making a vertical or horizontal band in a ribbed stitch (1 x 1 or 2 x 2), end your band on a knit rib and add an extra knit stitch at the outside edge. Edge stitches never look great and tend to curl and disappear. The extra knit stitch tucks itself in and becomes an unobtrusive facing. What you'll notice is a symmetrical band with a tidy edge. Try it!

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