Sunday, 10 April 2011

Tutorial - starting a shawl with a garter tab

When I first started knitting shawls this was one of the things that flummoxed me. Why would you faff about with knitting a tiny garter stitch rectangle and picking up stitches (my pet hate) when you can just cast on the right amount to start with? Well I asked on Ravelry and was told that it creates a neater and more flexible long edge on shawls knit from the centre neck outwards. Meh, thought I - bet it doesn't. Two versions of "198 yards of Heaven" later and I was converted.

Recently someone asked the same question in one of my Ravelry groups and I was able to give the same answer I was given all that time ago. As I was about to start knitting up a new shawl design I also took some photos to create a tutorial and here it is:

1. I'm using a 2 stitch garter edge on this shawl so I've cast on two stitches:

2. I need to end up with 13 stitches so knowing I have two stitches cast on (and therefore will have two stitches at each end of the garter tab) I need to knit 18 rows, giving me 9 garter ridges:

3. Now I have a long thin rectangle so I knit the two stitches, then start to pick up stitches down the long side of the rectangle:

4. Once I've picked up one stitch per garter ridge I will have 11 stitches on the needle and just need to get two more. My knitting looks like this:

5. And now I just need to get my last two stitches which I get from picking up two stitches from my cast on edge:

6. Now this looks a little awkward but I have my 13 stitches on the needles and a lovely flexible edge which allows me to start knitting my shawl. This particular pattern is based loosely on the Pi Shawl model so I am increasing on row 3, row 7 and row 15 to start with which starts to create a curved, almost semi-circular shape:

I have now finished the shawl and the yarn/pattern combination hasn't worked so I've overdyed it with green and blue to create a deep turquoise with some inky pools.Finished object photos to follow but here's a picture of the shawl blocking:


Ms C @ HappyElastic said...

Thank you for explaining that so well! I've never done a shawl before but I did try casting one on but was totally flummoxed by the picking up of stitches!

Patricia said...

I had to have it explained to me and even then I didn't believe the very experienced person who explained it. It does make a big difference to the finished item to have a lovely consistent top edge

Lora said...

Thanks for this! I know this is an old post, but I just started a Mizzle and had never even heard of this kind of start before. I could not understand it from the life of me by reading but this made it perfectly clear, and it is in fact a genius start for this kind of shawl, which is my favorite style.