Friday, April 25, 2014

On the edge

Two blog posts in a week - when was the last time I did that? Someone must be napping in her crib more.

Two of my current WIPs had me thinking about garter stitch edges lately. If you just knit row after row, that first stitch often gets loose and floppy unless you do something to tighten it up. These two designs tackle the problem in clever ways. No simple slipped stitch here!

First up, Martina Behm's Hitchhiker - that addictive little scarf pattern - grows into a toothy swirl of garter stitch. The teeth have a stockinette edge and the curve is formed by a k1f&b on every row (beginning the RS rows and ending the WS ones). The result is a tidy, yet extremely elastic, edge. No need to pick up and knit a border to hide imperfections on the edge.

(This is my new midnight knitting project, now that I've finished the girls' latest knits. The decadence of the cashmere silk blend I'm using more than makes up for any boredom my fingers might feel with the garter stitch.)

Romi Hill's Fiori di Sole has the cleverest garter stitch edge treatment that I've seen on a lace shawl. Instead of the typical basic garter edging, she has you work a garter eyelet band with a decrease on the very edges of the shawl to balance the yo eyelets (ssk, k1, yo, k2 on the right edge and k2, yo, k1, k2tog on the left). The decreases tighten up any looseness from the previous plain WS row and give a lovely (yet sturdy!) edge which I expect will come in very handy for blocking.

If you're working a sweater or similar garment with a garter stitch edge, I'm a big fan of slipping the first stitch of the row knitwise, with the yarn in back. It makes for a neat and tidy edge without disrupting the garter ridges. That's what I used on Sprout's latest sweater and it worked like a charm.


Kathy said...

I love the red of that Romi shawl! I hadn't really cared for Hitchhiker when I've seen it before but your close up shows a nice detail and it's more attractive than I thought.

Stephanie said...

I wish I had slipped the 1st stitch of each row on DD's sweater that I'm currently working on, although my tension has been even and it looks ok. The entire yoke is garter stitch. I'll be starting the body soon, but I think that has a classic garter stitch border. Agreed that is a clever idea by Romi! (sjn821)