Creative Knitting Newsletter
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Knitting on a Lace Edging
Many lace items, including scarves, table linens and afghans, will benefit from a strip of lace added to the edges of the finished piece. Here's one way to add an edging along all four sides, turning the corners as you go.
To begin, we've knitted a piece with a pattern multiple of 6 + 1 stitches. We decided on six repeats for 37 stitches. We then added an edge stitch to each side for a total of 39 stitches.
Knit the Body of the Piece
Begin with a provisional cast-on (Photo 1), so when the body is finished, you'll have live stitches to attach the edging. Work the lace pattern and work the two edge stitches in stockinette stitch, slipping the first stitch of every row purlwise. This results in what are called "chain" stitches on each edge, one stitch for every two rows (Photo 2). Since you'll join the edging to the main piece on every other row, the one stitch per two rows works out perfectly. When you've finished the last wrong-side row, leave the stitches on the needle.
Calculate the Pick-Up Rate
Now you'll need to be sure you have the right number of stitches on each edge to accommodate your chosen edging. The pattern we used has an eight-row repeat. Since you'll join the edging to the body on every other row, the edges need to be a multiple of four stitches.
We began and ended with 39 stitches. One stitch on each edge will be used as a corner stitch, which leaves 37 stitches. Decrease one stitch; 36 stitches remain, which is a multiple of four. Now count the number of chain stitches along the side edges and compare that to the number of rows in your chosen edging pattern. Our sample was knit with 48 rows, which results in 24 edge stitches, also a multiple of four.
Pick Up the Edge Stitches
The edge stitches will be picked up onto two circular needles. With the yarn still attached, knit the live stitches at the end of the body onto a circular needle, decreasing one stitch. Now mark the first and last stitches on the needle; they will be used as corner stitches. With the same circular needle, pick up 24 chain stitches down the side. When picking up chain stitches, you can either pick them up directly off the edge with the working needle, or you can place the stitch on a spare needle and knit it off with the working needle. Either way, be sure you pick up both loops of the stitch (Photo 3).
Carefully remove the provisional cast-on (Photo 4) and place the stitches onto a spare needle. Knit these stitches with a second circular needle, marking the first and last stitches for the corners. Note: When you remove a provisional cast-on, you'll see that there is one fewer stitch than was cast on. We'll explain this in another issue, but suffice it to say, you don't have to decrease one stitch on this end -- you should have 36 stitches and two corner stitches. With the same circular needle, pick up and knit 24 chain stitches up the side. The stitches are now on two circular needles as shown in Photo 5. Break the yarn.
Cast on & Knit the Lace Edge
Begin the edging along the top of the lace piece. Start by moving the marked corner stitch onto the adjacent circular needle -- you'll use this stitch for the final corner. Cast four stitches onto the beginning of the needle holding the top stitches.
With right sides facing, use a double-point needle to work Row 1 of the edging, knitting the last stitch together with the first body stitch. Turn the work, and work Row 2 back out to the edge. Work Row 3, knitting the last edging stitch together with the next body stitch. For an eight-row repeat, you'll join the edging to the body on Rows 1, 3, 5 and 7 (Photo 6). Continue in this manner until you reach the first corner stitch.
Turning a Corner
In order for the lace to turn the corner without puckering, you'll need to knit two full eight-row repeats, attaching them to one corner stitch. For this example, you'll join to the corner stitch at half the rate of the straight edges, which means joining on every fourth row. *Work Row 1 without knitting the last stitch to the corner stitch; work Row 2 as usual. Now work Row 3, knitting the last edging stitch together with the corner stitch; now place the corner stitch back on the left needle (Photo 7). Work Rows 4 through 6; then work Row 7, knitting the last stitch together with the corner stitch. Again, return the corner stitch to the left needle and work Row 8. Repeat from * to complete another eight rows of edging, joining to the corner stitch on Rows 3 and 7.
Finishing the Edging
Work the edging along the remaining three sides, turning the corners as outlined above. When you've finished the last corner, bind off and sew the bind-off edge to the cast-on edge.
If you want an invisible join at the beginning and end of the edging, begin with a provisional cast-on and join the ending live stitches to the cast-on with Kitchener stitch.
If the number of joining rows of the chosen edging doesn't fit evenly into the number of stitches along the edges, you can adjust them by decreasing or increasing the number of stitches picked up along the edges. To decrease along the sides, simply skip the appropriate number of stitches evenly spaced. To increase along the sides, first knit into both loops of the chain stitch; then knit into one loop of the same chain stitch and increase evenly spaced along the edge. To decrease or increase along the top and bottom, use any of the usual methods, such as k2tog or kfb.
With this newfound knowledge, you might consider adding a lace edge to the Zigzag Eyelet Throw featured in this issue. Simply omit the garter stitch borders and proceed as outlined above. Be adventurous!