Garter Tab Cast On

Tutorial: Garter Tab Cast On

Garter Tab Cast On - Pick UpI love to use the garter tab cast on in my shawls. This cast on leads to a lovely and even border at the cast on edge for a triangular top-down shawl if the border is worked as a two-stitch-garter throughout the pattern.

This article will show you two options to do the garter tab cast on and explains when and where to use it.

Additionally at the end of the post: How to modify the border tab cast on to use it for a top-down crescent shaped shawl too.

Why to use the Border Tab Cast On?

If you need to cast on x stitches for a tringular top-down shawl with a garter border and you use just one cast on this will show in the final result. If you chose a cast on fitting with the garter border this will become an invisible cast on. The final shawl looks even and lovely.

Beginning

Tools and material needed:

  • One circular needle or three double pointed needles.
  • One spare needle to add life stitches for option two.
  • Yarn for your shawl.
  • Pattern including the information on how many stitches to cast on.

Let’s go.

Calculate how many Garter Rows to work

If the pattern says nothing about how many garter rows are needed you can easily calculate them by yourself.

First: How many stitches has the border?

Either the border size is mentioned, e.g. “cast on two stitches provisionally”, or you can derive it from the chart or written instructions. Look how many border stitch symbols are at the beginning of a row. Most of the time it would be two or three stitches.

An Example:

The border uses two stitches.

Second: Total amount of Cast On Stitches minus two times the Amount of Border Stitches

After deriving the number of border stitches, multiply it by two, because there are two borders in a shawl. Subtract this number from the total amount of cast on stitches to calculate how many center stitches have to be casted on with the garter tab.

Continue Example:

2 * 2 Border Stitches = 4 Border Stitches for both Borders

The total amount of cast on stitches is 9.

9 Stitches Total – 4 Border Stitches for both Borders = 5 Center Stitches to be casted on with the Garter Tab Cast On

Third: Fine. How many rows to work now?

To get one center stitch from this cast on you have to work on right side row and one wrong side row.

Continue Example:

5 center stitches are needed. Therefore you have to work 5 wrong side rows and 5 right side rows, which makes 10 rows in total.

Method 1: Work the Garter Tab and Pick up Stitches from its Border

This option saves you the work to pick up the stitches which is especially helpful with very thin lace yarn.

Step 0: Preparation

Get yarn and knitting needles ready.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag Maschen aus dem Rand aufnehmen Schritt 0
Garter Tab with Pick up Stitches Step 0

Step 1

Knot a first loop. The photo shows a chain stitch.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag Maschen aus dem Rand aufnehmen Schritt 1
Garter Tab with Pick up Stitches Step 1

Step 2

Slip the loop onto your knitting needle.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag Maschen aus dem Rand aufnehmen Schritt 2
Garter Tab with Pick up Stitches Step 2

Step 3

Provisionally cast on the desired amount of stitches. In this example, two stitches.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag Maschen aus dem Rand aufnehmen Schritt 3
Garter Tab with Pick up Stitches Step 3

Step 4

Turn your work to be able to knit the provisionally casted on stitches.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag Maschen aus dem Rand aufnehmen Schritt 5
Garter Tab with Pick up Stitches Step 4

Step 5

Work the two stitches on your knitting needle as knit stitches. This forms the first right side row of the tab. Turn your work. Work your wrong side row knitting both stitches.

Repeat this step until the required amount of rows is worked.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag Maschen aus dem Rand aufnehmen Schritt 6
Garter Tab with Pick up Stitches Step 5

Step 6

Each row forms a small “knot” at the border of the tab, as usual when knitting garter stitch. Using your spare needle you pick up stitches by collecting those “knot” onto your spare needle. For each pair of right side and wrong side row you pick up one knot.

On the picture below are: Right needle: Two stitches from the provisional cast on. Top needle: Three stitches picked up from the “knot” border of the tab. Left needle: Two stitches which were worked last time.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag Maschen aus dem Rand aufnehmen Schritt 7
Garter Tab with Pick up Stitches Step 6

Step 7

Slip all stitches onto one needle and knit them once. The result is seen on the picture below.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag Maschen aus dem Rand aufnehmen Schritt 8
Garter Tab with Pick up Stitches Step 7

Method 2: Garter Tab working the second Stitch as knit Front and Back

Step 0: Preparations

Get yarn and knitting needles ready.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag mit re, re verschränkt Schritt 0
Garter Tab work kfb Step 0

Step 1

Knot a first loop. The photo shows a chain stitch. Slip it onto your needle.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag mit re, re verschränkt Schritt 1
Garter Tab work kfb Step 1

Step 2

Provisionally cast on the desired amount of stitches. In this example, two stitches.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag mit re, re verschränkt Schritt 3
Garter Tab work kfb Step 2

Step 3

Turn your work to be able to knit the provisionally casted on stitches.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag mit re, re verschränkt Schritt 4
Garter Tab work kfb Step 3

Step 4

Work the first right side row. Knit one stitch. Knit front and back into the second stitch. Now there are three stitches on your needle.

In case your border has more than two stitches: Knit all but the last stitch, knit front and back of the third stitches and you will have one more stitch on your needle as before.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag mit re, re verschränkt Schritt 5
Garter Tab work kfb Step 4

Step 5

Slip the newly created stitch onto your spare needle.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag mit re, re verschränkt Schritt 6
Garter Tab work kfb Step 5

Step 6

Turn your work and work the remaining stitches as knit stitches.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag mit re, re verschränkt Schritt 7
Garter Tab work kfb Step 6

Step 7

Repeat step 5 and step 6 until you have the desired amount of center stitches on your spare needle. Shown in the picture below.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag mit re, re verschränkt Schritt 8
Garter Tab work kfb Step 7

Step 8

Transfer all stitches onto one needle and knit them once. The result is shown in the picture below.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag mit re, re verschränkt Schritt 9
Garter Tab work kfb Step 8

Step 9

Continue knitting in pattern. As you can see on the photo below the garter tab border is continuous. This is the desired effect.

Kraus-Rechts-Steg-Anschlag mit re, re verschränkt Schritt 10
Garter Tab work kfb Step 9

Modify the Garter Tab Cast On to work with a Crescent Shaped Shawl

The garter tab cast on described above is perfect for a triangular shawl. In case you want to knit a crescent shawl with a garter border you will soon discover, that the border will be very firm. A fact I used and loved in my pattern Doireann. Contrary to my taste many knitters do not love this effect. To change this you can modify the cast on (and the whole garter border) in the following way.

At the side where no stitches will be picked up later, or no kfb will be worked, create a yarn over at the beginning of a row. When reaching the yarn over at the end of a row, drop it. It does not matter if the row is a right side or a wrong side row. Beginning of the row,  make a yarn over. End of the row, drop the yarn over. The yarn from the yarn over will be used by the knit stitch beside it and gives it more yarn to elongate and become more flexible to react to the many increases in the crescent shape.

Laoise's arabian Dream - Beads are Glowing
Laoise’s arabian Dream – Beads are Glowing

Patterns using the Garter Tab Cast On

I wish you a lot of fun casting on your new shawl.

There are still questions left? Leave a comment.
You know another method? Please let me and the other readers know about it by writing a comment.

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