Now. Back to the present.

Sallyknitter sends an eMail asking how one goes about attaching an edging to a row of live stitches. I’ll try my best to answer.

First, there are several ways of doing it. The simplest but most fussy is to knit the edging entirely separate, as a long strip – then sew it on using mattress stitch. Effective, but boring. Plus even using mattress stitch you can end up with a relatively bulky seam on the reverse compared to the rest of a gossamer-fine lace piece. I used this method on the two counterpane patterns in the wiseNeedle pattern collection, and on the tragic pink blanket now awaiting repair.

Having had my fill of producing an endless roll of edging, then an eternity sewing it on neatly, I now prefer knit-on edgings. They have the advantage of keeping one’s stitches securely on the needles until they are both edged and bound off in the same pass. Knitting them on is relatively easy. Let’s use an edging pattern I’ve described here before:

To work this onto the edge of a row of live stitches, I wouldn’t even need to break my yarn off after completing the last round of my main piece. Using a half hitch I’d cast 8 stitches onto my right-hand needle, adjacent to the last stitch worked in the main body. If I started with half hitch, I’d purl 8 back, working row 12 of the pattern, with the exception that the blue box would be a plain purl instead of the “artifact” stitch left over after binding off 6. If I were to use a provisional cast-on employing waste yarn, I’d cast on 8 onto a DPN or the left-hand needle, then work across starting with row #1, but working the first stitch as a plain knit.

I’d then work the rows of my chart as directed. You’ll note that on the final stitch of the even numbered (wrong side) rows, I purl the last edging stitch along with a live stitch from the existing edge. In the case of this particular pattern, given the row and stitch gauge difference, I found I had to “eat” additional live stitches as I attached, in order to prevent ruffling (which on some pieces can be a design feature rather than a bug). So on rows 6 and 12, I purl one stitch from my charted edging along with two live stitches from the piece’s body.

Now. What do you do if there aren’t live stitches? You pick them up. To knit the edging above onto a FINISHED edge, instead of purling the last even row stitch together with one stitch from the live body, I’d finish the even rows by picking a stitch up along the body of my finished piece. My odd numbered rows would then begin with a K2tog, knitting that new stitch together with the first stitch of my edging pattern.

Using these method, any edging from dead simple I-cord to elaborate lace can be attached to a live stitch edge or a finished piece. You can even use an edging to both finish and seam together TWO edges. I did that on these pillows.

I recently learned another slightly more involved method of knitting an edging onto a finished piece. It’s the one I use in the Spring Lightning lacy scarf (pattern elsewhere on wiseNeedle). More on that tomorrow.

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