Shawls are one of my favorite things to knit. They’re versatile wearables, great for every season and occasion, AND I absolutely love how simple, beginner-friendly shawls show off hand dyed yarn.
Now, if you really want to take your shawl knitting game to the next level, you may want to try a couple different patterns with new techniques.
My latest shawl design, the Water Shawl, uses an applied border (aka applied lace border or knitted-on border).
What is an applied lace border?
An applied lace border is a type of border treatment where the stitches are worked at a 90-degree angle to the body stitches. In all seriousness (this is a Melina-ism phrase), nothing special is really done, you’re just casting on border stitches and then working the last stitch of the border row with the first live stitch from the body (k2tog or how you’re otherwise instructed by the designer). Then you turn your work, and the next live body stitch is worked together with the first stitch of the next wrong side border row.
This will all make sense in a minute here.
In the case of the Water Shawl, you end up working the body of the shawl in a top down fashion. Then, on a right side row, you cast on the proper number of border chart stitches and start working them, working a k2tog with the last border row stitch, and the first live stitch from the body.
Dangit, Melina, that makes absolute no sense. Show me some pictures dagnabbit.
I know, I know. So, let me show you, using the Water Shawl to demonstrate:
- First, to set up, when I finished working all the charts for the body of the Water Shawl, I turned the whole work so the right side was facing me. Place a marker before your live stitches (to alert you when you get to the live stitches), and then, using the backward loop method, cast on the number of border stitches necessary. In the case of the Water Shawl, I cast on 29.
- Work the first row of your border chart/instructions to the last stitch, which will get you to one stitch before your marker like this:
- Slip the stitch from your left needle onto the right, remove the stitch marker, and place the stitch you slipped back on the left needle. Essentially, you’re just removing that stitch marker for a second.
- Now, knit two stitches together (k2tog)……and turn so the wrong side is facing.
- If you notice, the working yarn is now on the left needle. The next live stitch from the body is on the right needle. Slip that live stitch onto the left hand needle and put your stitch marker on the right needle.
- Now, purl two together (p2tog).Do you see how that works? Here’s what it should look like after you purl those two stitches together:
- Now you can go on to finish the rest of the row as written.
- Repeat steps 2 through 7 ad nauseam et infinitum (until you run out of live stitches).
Why use the applied lace border in a design?
The applied border allows for extra drape along the border. The Water Shawl is definitely a huge beast of a shawl and needs all the help it can get to get that swagger going. An applied border seemed like the only option, really.
I think it also adds a unique dimension to any design. Honestly, anytime I see any knit or crochet item, I’m analyzing its construction (be warned, as an introvert, I’m probably more into your sweater until I get to know you better…lol). With this type of border, your stitches are perpendicular to the body stitches, so as a knitter and a designer, I like seeing the stitches go in different directions.
Want to make the Water Shawl? Click here to go to Ravelry to purchase or click on the patterns tab above and that will take you to my Etsy store which also has the pattern available.
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