My Pi Shawl is turning a corner into the “almost done” territory – the really for real almost done kind of almost done. I’m on the knitted-on garter stitch border, which is one of the border options that Elizabeth Zimmerman suggests in the pattern instructions. There are a couple of other more lacy options, and I had really thought that I would try something a bit fancier this time around – it’s my 3rd Pi Shawl and every other one has had the same garter stitch border. Turns out I like what I like, and I’m going to have 3 Pi Shawls in exactly the same style.
When I mentioned in my last post that a knitted-on border is really just a big slow cast-off, blog reader Linda (hi, Linda!) asked for more explanation about what that means. Well, here’s a nice aerial shot of the border in progress for a bit of visual support. Knitted-on borders or edgings come into play with items like shawls or blankets, where you have been working the piece from the centre-out and need to finish the edge in a way that is both visually pleasing and slightly malleable. This is especially true of circular or square shawls/blankets: If you were to bind off the edges straight out, likely the edge would start to pucker slightly. A knitted circle needs to be closed off by a slightly larger circle, not a snug one. Bind-off edges tend to be fairly firm, so adding a firm edge to a circle wouldn’t give it the nice drapey, wider-circle-than-the-circle-it-is-finishing-off kind of edge.
Enter the knitted-on border. This is straight-up garter stitch, nothing too complicated or patterned. started by casting on 8 new stitches right off of the live edge of the circle. on the right side of the work I knit 7, then do an ‘ssk’ to work 2 sts together – the final stitch of the edging plus one of the live stitches at the edge of the shawl. To come back on the wrong side I slip 1 st, then knit 7. I keep going like this until all the stitches are consumed. Effectively, this is knitting an edging and casting off at the same time, but really what’s happening is that the edging is eating up 1 stitch of the shawl edge for every 2 rows. Then when I block it, the outer edge will be nice and flexible.
On that note, I’d better keep knitting if I’m going to get this sucker done this weekend! Happy knitting this Saturday, friends – I hope you have a nice refreshing beverage by you too.