Learn It: Knitted-On Edgings

Beech Leaf Shawl knitting pattern

The Beech Leaf Shawl by Joan Fogione, from Interweave Knits Spring 2015

The Beyond-the-Basics article in Interweave Knits Spring 2015 goes in-depth on an interesting subject: knitted-on edgings. A knitted-on edging is one that is joined as it is worked to the larger body of a project. These edgings often have a perpendicular orientation to the body; you join the edging rows to the body stitches.

But you’ll also see many designs in which the edging is worked parallel to the body of the work; and some projects call for an edging that rounds the perimeter, shifting from perpendicular to parallel orientation. This knitting technique eliminates sewing and is ideal for shawls, though you can also use it in garments and home décor items.

As with many things in knitting, there are several ways to work a knitted-on edging. Here’s an excerpt from “Understanding Perpendicular & Parallel Knitted-On Edgings.”

Knitted-On Edgings: Working with Live Stitches

A knitted-on edging is one that is joined as it is worked to the larger body of a project. These edgings often have a perpendicular orientation to the body; you join the edging rows to the body stitches. But you’ll also see many designs in which the edging is worked parallel to the body of the work; and some projects call for an edging that rounds the perimeter, shifting from perpendicular to parallel orientation. The knitted-on technique eliminates sewing and is ideal for shawls, though you can also use it in garments and home décor items.

The Beech Leaf Shawl (Swatch 1, below) is worked from the top down, and stitches at the bottom edge are left live—you will join the edging to those live stitches. This is a typical example of a knitted-on edging worked into live stitches. Once the body is complete, you end with a right-side row and cast 16 stitches onto the end of the row. You work in lace and at the end of each wrong-side row, join the last stitch of the edging to the first stitch of the body by working a p2tog over those two stitches, then turning to work the right side of the edging. In this way, there are two rows of edging for every one stitch of the body—a right-side row worked even, and a wrong-side row that ends with a joining decrease. The body stitches are gradually consumed as the edging continues, and at the end the only remaining stitches are the edging stitches, which are bound-off.

Beech Leaf Shawl knitting pattern

The Beech Leaf Shawl is worked top down and finished with a perpendicular knitted-on lace edging. You can see that the edging stitches make a 90-degree angle with the body stitches.

Many edgings are garter-stitch based, which means the lace patterning is worked on a ground of garter stitch, versus stockinette. Garter stitch has a compressed row gauge; each row is about half as high as each stitch is wide. The Potter’s Shawl gets four stitches and nine rows to 1″ in garter, for instance. This is ideal for perpendicular knitted-on edgings, in which two rows of edging have to fit into the space of one stitch of the body. In stockinette, rows are taller, which would make for less equivalence in the edging-to-body ratio.

You can work edgings from left to right or right to left (as Swatch 1 was worked). The decrease join occurs at the END of the edging row, which could occur on right- or wrong-side rows, depending on which direction you’re working in. Patterns may call for slipping the resulting stitch (from the decrease) on the following row, or not. Different decreases can be used to work the join, but the concept is always the same. You can work this same method over a project that begins with a provisional cast-on, joining the edging to the live stitches of the cast-on.

Interweave Knits, Spring 2015

Beyond the Basics is one of my favorite features in Interweave Knits. These in-depth articles on knitting techniques are what you can expect in each issue, so subscribe to Interweave Knits now so you don’t miss anything!

Cheers,
1KCsig

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