Tuesday, July 17th, 2007
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I’m swatching for my Stashmina shawl (heretofore referred to as the Shetland Rectangle) and I’ve decided to knit it with a slip-stitch double knit border like on my backyard leaves scarf. It’s a no-curl edging, and it’s straight and simple and looks much prettier than garter stitch. I love the simplicity of garter stitch, but I think something as pretty as lace deserves something a bit nicer. Besides, when I’m knitting a garter edge I always screw it up because I end up purling all the way to the end on one WS row or something else happens and it just doesn’t work out. I like the double-knit as an alternative, and it’s complicated enough that I’ll do it every time.

I wanted my cast-on and cast-off edges to mirror the sides, so I learned how to do an i-cord cast-on. It’s pretty! And ingenious. I used the instructions here but they were somewhat unclear at times. Here’s how I thought about it, in case you need some extra clarification:

I-Cord Cast-On

You start off with a provisional cast-on of three stitches. I used a bunch of waste yarn which I had to scrounge for. So if you have to scrounge, go ahead, I’ll wait.

Knit two rows of i-cord: knit 3 stitches, slip your stitches back to left needle (purl-wise, so make the needle points touch and just shove three from the right needle to the left) and repeat. These rows will give you a bit of length to bend around the right corner of your knitting. The provisional stitches will bend up to make your side border when you get past the cast-on itself and start knitting back and forth.

Now we get to the fun part! You’ll still be knitting i-cord, but with a twist. Shove those three stitches on the left needle like you’d normally do, but instead of knitting 3 stitches you’ll be increasing by one in the first stitch. Knit in the front and back of the first stitch (kfb), knit 2. The stitch on the very right is your first cast-on stitch. (Yeah, I know, this is going to take a while.)

Keep slipping the left-most three stitches back onto the left needle and repeating those three stitches: kfb, k2. Once you finish casting on, you should have the number of required stitches plus three that will become the left side of your i-cord edging. Knit two more rows of i-cord and put it back on the needle.

Other notes for now: I’m using giant(ish) needles, and from measuring my swatch I figure I’ll knit the shawl 5 repeats wide and about half a metre shorter than what feels comfortable. I’m 150% positive it will stretch immensely, and I don’t want to show up looking like Doctor Who, no matter how dashing his current reincarnation.

If you’d like me to swatch out another i-cord cast on and put up pictures in a tutorial format, I’d be more than happy to do that. I was so excited about this swatch that I didn’t stop to take any except the one at the top of this post. In fact, I’ve already got almost two repeats done of the actual shawl, which I’ll save for another post in a few days. Time to get back to my reading! I want this paper done tonight.

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7 Comments to “Swatchmina”

  1. What a clever cast-on! I like the edging, too.

    Comment by
    July 17, 2007 @ 1:33 pm
  2. This is a wonderful cast-on. I would love to see the tutorial. Thanks so much!

    Comment by Ellene
    July 17, 2007 @ 5:37 pm
  3. I would like to second the call for a tutorial. Photos always make a technique more explanatory, at least to me :).

    Comment by Miki
    July 18, 2007 @ 9:12 am
  4. Done and done! Well not done yet, but I’m accepting your requests with a “done and done” response phrase.

    Oh geez, all this paper writing has caused my comments to be extremely convoluted. Must… remove… self… from… academic… mindset…

    k guyz, I’m toatlz into this! I’ll take the pictures this afternoon after I meet with my profez0r3d.

    Comment by Eve
    July 18, 2007 @ 9:19 am
  5. Oh yeah, photos of the technique would be welcome. It’s always clearer that way. Pretty Shetland rectangle.

    Comment by Carol
    July 19, 2007 @ 8:15 am
  6. I absolutely loved the reference to Tom Baker’s famous scarf – and loved the pictures. I had forgotten that my mom told me that Dr. Who is back on…I haven’t watch in YEARS…lol Is it engaging enough that I should start watching again? B)

    Oh, and your cast-on technique to mirror the edging technique is amazing (and mind-boggling)! I look forward to photos to go with the explanation. Your shawl will be amazing, just like everything else you knit, I’m sure – it is well on its way with that cool swatch! :cool:

    Comment by Carly
    July 19, 2007 @ 8:55 am
  7. I love i-cord cast-on and it looks great with that edging.

    Comment by AuntieAnn
    July 24, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

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