Garter Tab Cast-On – How to start a triangular shawl
Many triangular shawls – including our own designs – begin at the center back, with a small number of stitches, and then grow in ever-lengthening rows, which form 2 triangles, separated by a center stitch.
A garter-tab cast-on is recommended, as this technique creates a small rectangle of garter stitch, which blends seamlessly with the garter stitch edging which forms the top horizontal line of the shawl. It is a bit more work than just casting on stitches normally, but the results are worth the extra effort. Tutorial shown in Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in ‘alizarin’, ‘tincture’, and ‘wreath’.
What’s the difference?
The yellow swatch above uses a regular cast on, without the garter tab. You can see how there is a gap at the top. The garter tab cast on is used to bridge that gap. The green swatch uses a regular cast-on and a garter-tab. The red swatch uses a provisional cast-on and a garter-tab. The difference between the red and green is subtle, I will outline how to do each of them below.
How to work the garter-tab cast-on with a provisional cast on:
Garter tab cast on: Cast on 3 sts provisionally. Knit 6 rows. Knit 7th row, then pick up 3 sts along the border of the small garter rectangle you have just knit, then undo the provisional cast on and put the 3 cast-on sts on the left hand needle, and knit them. [9 sts]
Method 1: The fanciest method
Next you will knit 6 rows
Then you will knit a 7th row and pick up and knit 3 sts along the border
Next you will unzip the provisional cast on and place the live sts on the left hand needle. Then knit those sts.
Voila!! You now have cast-on a total of 9 stitches! This method is a little fussy but comes out pretty perfect.
Method 2: A little less fussy
The second method accomplishes the same thing, but instead of working the provisional cast on, you are going to use a regular cast on and pick up stitches from your cast on. Like this:
Next you will knit 6 rows
Then you will knit a 7th row and pick up 3 sts along the garter edge like this:
If you haven’t picked up and knit stitches before check out our tutorial here.
You can see this method comes out a teeny tiny bit less perfect at the garter tab, but it really depends on how fussy a knitter you are! For more on our simple Grain shawl check out the tutorial here.
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