March 9, 2011
Part of the challenge and fun of knitting is that it is made of some many components. True, there are just 2 stitches: knit and purl. It is the fact that these 2 stitches can be combined into so many different patterns and that these patterns can then be combined with others and then constructed into so many different combos that makes the possibilities endless. You will never stop learning with knitting and I love that! One of my favorite techniques in knitting is the knit-on edge. The knit-on edge allows you to add another layer to any project regardless of stitch count. You can add a fancy lace border to any scarf or shawl, for instance, without having to get out the calculator again and masterminding a way to reduce or increase your stitch count to accommodate your new stitch pattern. This is because you will be knitting your lace edge sideways and then attaching it to your live stitches by slipping and knitting together stitches. It sounds tricky but it is easy.
Leave your main project still on needles with the edge of live stitches. Once you have decided on your border pattern (it is easier to start with a simple and small pattern, 10 sts or less so you can focus on the technique instead of the design), cast on the recommended number of stitches plus 1. Starting with your first RS row, knit to the end of the pattern instructions which will leave you with one stitch. Slip this stitch knitwise and then knit one stitch from your main project. Turn your work and knit your last stitch (knitted from the main project) and the slipped border stitch together and then follow your border pattern instructions for the wrongside (or row 2). You will continue in the pattern like this, knitting to the last stitch on the RS, slipping this stitch and knitting one stitch from your main project, turning the work and knitting the last 2 stitches together until you have no more live stitches on your main project and ending with a wrongside row of your border pattern. You can then cast off your border pattern.
Congrats your have successfully completed a knit-on edge. My pictures depict an attempt at the Swallowtail Shawl with a modified knit-on edge. I have trouble with mohair and for some reason or another when it came time in the pattern to switch to the border lace pattern, my stitch count was way off. I tried to fix the error but mohair doesn't like to be ripped back. I decided my best course of action was to pick a complimentary lace border pattern to knit-on. This way, my stitch count would not matter and I could complete my shawl with decreased stress and anxiety! It would very well and the finished project was just as beautiful as the original. A knit-on edge is also a great way to finish sweater hems, add detail to a hat brim, or lengthen a too small child's dress. You can add knit-on edge to finished garments as well by picking up stitches on the main project to create live stitches.
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