One day, when I was just playing around trying to think of something to knit, I figured I'd give slipping that first stitch another whirl. This time, instead of slipping the stitch with the yarn in the back, I slipped it purlwise, with the yarn in front. As I continued to knit, I was amazed at the lovely, braided edge I had. All that time I had been slipping the stitch knitwise. I could have been saved a lot of frustration had I been told how to slip the first stitch, not just "slip the first stitch". For some reason, the how is never included in instructions, at least not that I have ever seen. So, here are some pictures and videos on getting a nice clean edge on your knitting.
Picture A shows the edges of a fabric that have not had the first stitch slipped. There really isn't anything wrong with this edge, it is just a matter of taste. If you like the bumpy edge, then don't slip the first stitch.
Pictures B and C show the result of slipping the first stitch; there are several ways to get these edges. For Picture B, you would :
Slip the first stitch purlwise, with the yarn in front, and knit the last stitch OR
Slip the first stitch knitwise, with the yarn in the back, and purl the last stitch
Either of these methods will give you the lovely, twisted stitch (or braid as I like to call it) along the edges of your work. This is my favorite edge.
For Picture C, slipping the first stitch purlwise with the yarn in front, and knitting the last stitch through the back loop will give you an untwisted, open edge. This is looser than the twisted edge stitches, so may not be appropriate for all projects. (Which is why swatching is an important step!)
|A: Unslipped edge stitches|
|B: Slipped stitch edge|
|C: Slipped stitch, open edge|