I hope the shawl swatching went well for everyone and you were either able to get the pattern gauge or create a fabric you are happy with. Now it’s time to cast on. I know the figure of eight cast on is fiddly and some of you may be wondering how a cast on typically used for toe up socks can be used for a shawl that isn’t started at the centre. To picture it try to think of the knitting as going out from a U, where you go down one edge and up the other and then turn and work the WS, instead of completing the circle.
Figure of eight cast on
Hold the tips of the needle together, and wrap the yarn around the needles in a figure of eight motion, three wraps on each needle. End with a wrap on the bottom needle (you may have to do the figure of eight wrap more than once to get this to work out).
Slide the wraps on the bottom needle onto the cable so that you can use the needle tip to work into the wraps on the top needle, the three wraps will wait on the cable. Knit the first three stitches of Row 1.
Now comes the fiddly bit. I like to pinch the 3 stitches I just knit with my right hand and slide the left needle down so that the three waiting stitches are now on the left needle. Then carefully pull the right needle up so the first 3 knit stitches are on the cord and the right needle is free.
Yarnover around the right needle and finish the rest of row 1 (for me knitting into the back of these stitches).
You will know have 6 stitches on the needle and 3 on the cord.
Now TURN so you can work the wrong side (this is where this cast on differs from a toe up sock where you’d work in the round).
Work row 2 (WS row 1), sliding the first 6 sts to the cord once they’ve been worked and the 3 waiting sts back to the left needle so you can finish the row.
Continue using this modified magic loop until there are enough stitches to work comfortably across the row.
If you are working from the written directions on Row 3 the k1tbl is the centre stitch.
The edge always has either 2 or 4 stitches.
When you are directed to bind off 2 stitches and then knit two stitches, the first of those k2 will already be on you right hand needle.
The rows that begin bind off 2 are the only time when that edging will have 2 stitches. At all other points the edging will have 4 stitches. Sometimes a defined four stitches and sometimes one stitch on either side of a double yarn over (yo2).
Set up of markers
There are five parts to the construction of the shawl: right edging, side panel, centre stitch, side panel, left edging (or if you are following the chart A, B, C, B, D). You could put a marker between each part, or you could put markers between the edging and side panels and mark the centre stitch with a safety pin – this is what I would recommend. This really comes down to personal preference. Once we get to section 2 of the shawl you may want to add more markers to mark the repeats, I’ll cover that in a few days. If you take a look at the chart it may be easier to picture the set-up of the shawl.
A and D – are the edging stitches and the stitch count will alternate between two and four stitches.
B – is worked twice and is the same for each side panel.
C – is the centre stitch, you may find it easier or clearer to mark this stitch with a safety pin instead of a marker on each side of the stitch.
By following our step-by-step mattress stitch knitting tutorial, you'll learn how to make your seams look beautiful and how best to prepare your knitting so that when you seam it with mattress stitch, it goes smoothly on the first try.
The long tail cast on is a great multi-purpose knitting cast on and the perfect place for beginner knitters to start. Learn how to work the long tail cast on and how to estimate the length of yarn needed with our clear step by step tutorial and video.
Find out the latest news from the studio such as sales, pattern releases, and new workshops or KALs our learning community, The Knitwork. We also share helpful tips and exclusive subscriber discounts...