If you’ve ever been bothered by the way the edge of your shawl looks, then have a little read below: some of these tips might give you a solution!
1. Smooth Garter Stitch >>> Lots of shawls have a garter stitch border, which is great because it stops the edges of the knitting from rolling, but many people aren’t so keen on the bumpy edge that this produces. For a sleeker edge, slip the first stitch of each row purl-wise (as if you were going to purl it) with the yarn in front, then move the yarn to the back of your work (between the needles) to work the rest of the row. This creates an edge stitch that is smoother and looks more like stocking stitch than bumpy garter stitch (have a look at my project page here (Ravelry link) to see what this looks like).
2. Loosen Up! >>> If you find that the edge of your shawl is a bit tight (when you pull it lengthways it doesn’t have much stretch), then you could work a yarn over in-between the edge stitches on the right-side row, dropping it off the needle on the wrong-side row. For example, if the edge was three stitches wide, work the first stitch, make a yo, then work the other stitches as per the pattern. Then on the wrong side drop the yo off the needles and work the other edge stitches as usual. This helps to create a bit of extra yarn within the edge stitches, thereby making them stretchier.
3. Loosen Up Some More! >>> It’s really easy for i-cord edgings to become tight, since each stitch is only being worked every other row (it is slipped every alternate row). You can use the above method within the i-cord stitches to help loosen off the edge.
4. Carrying That Yarn >>> If you’re knitting a shawl with large stripes (wider than 2-4 rows), then it’s a real pain to have to cut the yarn in-between stripes. Try carrying the non-working yarn up the edge . After working the first stitch of the row, loosely lay the non-working yarn over the top of the working yarn, then continue working the rest of the row. This twists the yarns together and means that the non-working yarn will be carried up the back of your shawl as you work those wide stripes. (See photo above)
5. Carry Some More >>> You can also carry yarn within an i-cord edge, using a similar method as above. Just remember to keep the stitches and yarn pretty loose so that when you come to block your shawl, the i-cord will stretch in a similar way to the ‘body’ of the shawl, and is not restricted by the ‘carried’ yarn pulling tight.
Comment below if you have any more tips for edgings – I’d love to know!
I knit a shawl using technique #2 and I absolutely LOVED the effect. I have avoided knitting a striped shawl or scarf because I did not like the way the edges looked. I look forward to carrying the yarn as you suggest. Thank you for all the tips!