The garter tab cast on is a popular technique used to start top-down shawl patterns. In this video, shawl expert Michele Lee Bernstein explains her method of making a better garter tab when working a top-down crescent shawl.
Michele begins by showing several crescent shawl swatches. She notes that in some cases, a small but noticeable hump is located at the center of the top of the shawl. By making a small change to the garter tab cast on, Michele has created a garter tab that leaves a much cleaner and flatter edge along the top of her shawl.
In a traditional garter tab cast on, three stitches are cast on and six rows are knit to create the tab. For Michele’s garter tab, she’s creating a much longer tab. She casts on three stitches and then knits 24 rows. The tab is turned 90-degrees clockwise, so she can pick up and knit stitches along the left edge of the tab. Instead of picking up and knitting in every garter ridge, which is traditionally how the garter tab is worked, Michele works the left edge of the tab by working a yarn over, skipping a garter ridge, then picking up and knitting into the next garter ridge. This process is repeated for the side of the tab. It’s then turned 90-degrees once more and three stitches are picked up and knit in the cast on edge.
Michele then demonstrates how to work the first few rows of a garter stitch crescent shawl pattern. The first row is a Wrong Side, and she places markers and works 2 increases – 1 at each end of the body of the shawl. She works two more rows, increasing a total of 4 stitches on the Right Side and 2 stitches on the Wrong Side.