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Monday, August 01, 2016

Monday Mini Tip - Garter Tab Cast On

Many top down shawls recommend using a Garter Tab cast on. I first came across this cast on method years ago when I first learnt how to knit tow down triangular shawls. The best way to work a Garter Tab cast on is to start with a provisional cast on. You only cast on three stitches and at the time, I felt that it was too much effort and too much hassle and that it didn't make that much difference to the look of the shawl. I was also worried that if I wrote a pattern using the Garter Tab cast on, it would put knitters off who didn't know the Garter Tab cast on or who knew how to do a provisional cast on. So I never used the Garter Tab cast on in my patterns.

Last year, when I was designing a top down crescent shawl I wasn't happy with how the regular cast on looked so I tried the Garter Tab cast on and I really liked it. I am now using it a lot more than I used to. However, many patterns recommending the Garter Tab cast on, can also be worked by using a regular cast on.

One of the reasons I decided that the Garter Tab cast on wasn't so bad after all, was that I changed the provisional cast on I used. The Garter Tab cast on works as follows: 
  • You cast on a few (usually three) stitches using a provisional cast on.
  • Knit several rows, slipping the first stitch of every row.
  • On the final row, knit across the cast on stitches, pick up and knit stitches from the slipped stitches along the edge of the Garter Tab, then knit the cast on stitches (from the provisional cast on).
That's it in a nutshell. How many stitches you cast on and how many rows you work, depends on how many stitches you want for your first row.

So does the Garter Tab cast on actually make a difference? I've knitted a couple of swatches. They are both crescent shape which is achieved by working three yarn over increases at the beginning and end of every other row.  Right side rows are worked as follows: K2, (yo, k1) twice, yo, k to last 4 sts, (yo, k1) twice, yo, k2.  Six stitches are increased every other row.

In the photo above, the top swatch was worked using the Garter Tab cast on and the bottom swatch was worked using a regular cast on and one knit row before starting the shaping. Which swatch you prefer is personal taste. I think the top edge of the swatch with a Garter Tab cast on looks smoother and more even (the top swatch).

So let's look in more detail at the difference. Below is the swatch which has a Garter Tab cast on (I did knit fewer rows on this swatch so it's a bit smaller).

Below is the swatch where I did a regular cast on (I used the long tail cast on but you can use any cast on) then I knitted one row before I started row 1 of the pattern.

The main reason I now like doing the Garter Tab cast on is that I use a different provisional cast on method to start the Garter Tab. The Turkish (also known as the Eastern) cast on method is normally used to do a closed cast on for a toe up sock but with a slight modification it can be used as a provisional cast on method too.

You can also watch the video here.

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1 comment:

Rosy said...

Hi Anniken! I watched the replay of your Periscope tutorial last night, it was excellent (although how you managed to knit around a tripod and read comments/answer questions at the same time is beyond me!) I would have loved to have watched it live, but as I am at work in an open plan office I couldn't really get away with it!

Anyway, casting on today!

Looking forward to catching up on part two later this week :o)