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 need advice for best cast-on for this pattern
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JulyGrrl


USA
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Posted - 07/14/2007 :  8:19:40 PM  Show Profile Send JulyGrrl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi everyone. I'm working on a rectangular feather-and-fan stitch petite shawl using a very expensive handpainted silk/wool yarn. I'm about a quarter of the way through and am debating ripping the whole thing out (I had done that numerous times about a year ago when I started, after having gotten poor advice from my LYS, but I finally came up with the correct number of stitches and needle-size...at least back then...but now I'm knitting more tightly and the colors are pooling, so I have multiple reasons to begin again). One reason that bothered me from the start was that my bottom (cast-on) edge is curling upward. I would like the curves of the feather-and-fan pattern to lie as flat as possible, which they are likely to do on the bind-off edge. I only know how to cast on one way (it may be called "long-tail cast on," and I knit continental style. Does anyone know of a better cast-on method for this specific project that might make the starting edge resistant to curling? FYI, the only modification I've made to the pattern is to use a 3-stitch garter stitch border up the sides. Thanks for any and all advice.

I think if I start over, which will require me to soak the yarn I've used to get the kinks out, I can correct all of the problems by going up one needle size (or switching to a more slippery needle which might loosen the gauge just enough), using two skeins simultaneously to prevent the colors from pooling (is that the correct term?...and does anyone have a good technique for carrying the two different balls of yarn up the sides so that you don't see strands sticking out?), and hopefully using a better method for the starting edge. It pains me to rip out the many hours of work I've done, but I think the end result might be worth it. If the yarn was inexpensive, I would just finish it and chalk it up to a learning experience, but it really is luxury yarn and I'd like the finished product to be the best that it can be. Thanks in advance for your help!

Lace Lunatic
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
524 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2007 :  09:58:43 AM  Show Profile Send Lace Lunatic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi JulyGrrl!

Your long tail cast on is not the problem. You need to work some rows of garter stitch or seed stitch before starting the pattern. If you have a 3 stitch garter edge either side, I would work six rows before starting. If you wish to try a different cast on, a cable cast-on would provide a nice edge. It is basically a knitted cast on (*knit one stitch and place it back on the left needle, repeat from*)except that, after having made the first stitch, you work all subsequent stitches between the first and second stitch on the left needle. I'll let someone else address the issue of working with two balls of yarn and keeping the edges tidy - it is not something I normally do.

Suzanne
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Ditzy Girl
Permanent Resident

USA
4723 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2007 :  10:34:18 AM  Show Profile Send Ditzy Girl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would stick with the long tail for lace. Remember you will be stretching and blocking and that should take care of the problem, plus do the first 3 rows in garter and then start the pattern.

Zola, Seattle, Wash.

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maribelaprn
Permanent Resident

USA
2033 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2007 :  11:05:31 AM  Show Profile Send maribelaprn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've made many feather and fan shawls and haven't ever used a garter stitch border on the cast on or cast off edge. I found that using a garter stitch border on feather and fan seemed to make the rippled edge less prominent and I like that rippled edge. It did curl a tiny bit but when blocked, it went perfectly flat. You can see an example here on my blog.

If you find that the curling is bothering you, but you don't want to start over, you can always pick up and knit on a border after the shawl is complete. I've done that and it has worked very nicely.

Mari

2007 shawls/throws completed: 14
2007 socks completed: 11
WIP: Cocoon Lace Shawl (Fiber Trends) in Art Yarn's Silk Mohair (still)

My blog: http://maribelaprn.blogspot.com/
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ceecee
Permanent Resident

1896 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2007 :  05:20:13 AM  Show Profile Send ceecee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A narrow garter stitch border will help with the curling and won't be too prominent. The long tail cast-on is relatively stretchy but you may want to go up one needle size for the cast-on to ensure a more relaxed edge. Since your yarn is a silk and wool blend, when you block your shawl, the curling will subside some. If you're alternating rows from 2 balls of the same colorway, the carried yarn shouldn't be too prominent since it's carried for only one right and one wrong side row.
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JulyGrrl


USA
Posts

Posted - 07/16/2007 :  6:32:23 PM  Show Profile Send JulyGrrl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you, everyone, for very helpful comments! Wow, so nice of you all! I think possibly the three-row garter stitch edge might work, though I lean toward agreeing with Mari, who said that she prefers no borders at the edges. I DO love the rippled edge, just not the curling upward. I guess I have a lot to learn about blocking...have never needed to do that before. The yarn is a gorgeous mix of aquas, lavenders, greens, turquoise, and when the colorways are not pooling into vertical stripes, the effect is that of a waterfall...the pattern stitch is a perfect fit for this watery vision, and I wonder if a border will diminish that effect by making it look a bit more solid/weighted down. If I choose an odd number of rows for a garter stitch border, will I end up with the pattern on the wrong side, or is there really no "wrong side" until you begin the pattern stitch, at which point one becomes obvious?

I haven't made a final decision but do think that there are enough issues that could be corrected that starting over might be worthwhile. I would need to figure out how to soak the yarn to get the kinks out without making that skein look different from the others (or worn out). Plus, I'm disabled, so I need to figure out an easy way physically to do it. I honestly wasn't sure that this shawl would even require blocking, but maybe it is always a good idea. I've been working on a size 7 bamboo needle (maybe metal would have been better), but my gauge seems so much tighter now (after re-starting the project after a year off) that I may need to go up to a size 8. The looser gauge from last year's work makes the "peaks and valleys" of the pattern stitch show up better, but I also like the neatness of the tighter gauge, especially if it will be stretched a bit in blocking later. Perhaps a size 8 bamboo OR a size 7 metal needle would do the trick...just a hair looser than my most recent work.

Anyway, I'll try to check back to see if any of you have any further comments, and thank you very much again!
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elizh
Permanent Resident

USA
1248 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2007 :  10:58:11 PM  Show Profile Send elizh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Personally, I would not soak the yarn to get the kinks out. Simply wind it into a loose ball, and let it sit and use it last. This will give the yarn time to relax. When you block the shawl, the kinks will come out. If you have not experienced blocking anything before, dealing with a wet hank of yarn might be a tricky thing to begin on. You wouldn't want to be surprised by color problems, or make this one ball a different elasticity the your others.

There are lots of way to block a finished article. I typically soak in the washer with wool wash, spin out the water (no rinsing) and smooth it out to size. But you can also just pin it out and spritz with a spray bottle or blot it with a wet towel and smooth it out. Some people use those electric steamers too.
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JulyGrrl


USA
Posts

Posted - 07/18/2007 :  2:28:16 PM  Show Profile Send JulyGrrl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the additional advice. I had actually ripped part of this skein of yarn last year when I started working with it, and I had wrapped the yarn rather tightly around an empty toilet paper roll covered in Saran Wrap, and that did get most of the kinks out. I had thought I might need to soak it this time because about half of the skein has been in knitted form for a whole year, so I thought the kinks might be more obvious. But I think I will take your suggestion and try the paper roll method again and use that skein last. I had started with it first because all of the skeins are a bit different and I was going to concentrate the darker colors toward one end, but I can just reverse that idea now, and also, I will probably use two skeins at once if I do begin the entire project again. I haven't ripped it out yet. Have to make a final decision soon. In fact, I think I might make some notes (so I don't forget what I did wrong the first time), rip the work I've done, give the yarn plenty of time to relax, and work on a different project in the meantime. I bought yarn for the Guitar Messenger Bag in the book Greetings from Knit Cafe because it would be a perfect gift for my partner, whose birthday is in September, so maybe I should work on that right now...it's an easier stitch, though much more complicated to construct (and it will be my first time using a color chart, too...yikes!).

Thanks again to everyone for the ideas. I think I will use the "spritzer method" for blocking this particular yarn whenever I get back to working with it because I know a yarn made of 50% silk is probably too fragile for the washing machine, even skipping the agitation step.
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Calamintha
Permanent Resident

USA
2886 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2007 :  4:40:48 PM  Show Profile Send Calamintha a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have to agree with Mari on this one. I did a feather and fan shawl with no garter edging on it anywhere and really like the way it looks without it. I think if you use a needle two sizes larger to cast on you should be ok.
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dCalla
New Pal

USA
45 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2007 :  5:21:30 PM  Show Profile Send dCalla a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a cast on that works really well with the feathr and fan pattern. I has a lot of lateral spread, so the scallops don't curl at all. It is also kind of decorative. The problems are that I don't know a corresponding bind off, and it does take more time and yarn than a regular cast on.

You will need to dorp down a couple of needle sizes. Start by making a slip knot, then casting on one additional stitch. For each row, you will do the same thing, as follows: * Yarn over, knit 2 together. Turn your work.* Repeat. What this will do is create a chain or tape effect, with tiny loops on each side. You keep doing this until you have as many loops on one side of the chain as you need cast on stitches, so you end up knitting twice as many rows on the tape as you need for the cast on. Then, along one edge ,pick up one stitch for each stitch needed in the pattern. Be very careful not to twist the tape. (that instruction of the main row may be a little simplistic. I know there are different wasy to do the yarn over, but I never really thought about it. I just make one)

The other edge of the tape makes a very nice eyelet edge detail on the scarf.
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JulyGrrl


USA
Posts

Posted - 07/21/2007 :  2:16:45 PM  Show Profile Send JulyGrrl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks again, everyone, for the truly wonderful advice. I'm very grateful that you all took so much time to give me instructions for various possibilities. Blessings to all!
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