Knitting Help – “Garter Tab”, or Lace Shawl Beginning


There are several lace triangle shawls out
there that start with this same technique of casting-on stitches and picking up stitches
around, and they’re scarves that look like this. I’ve worked a few of them myself. This one
– I’ll give you a link to this pattern. And it’s for this little bit of knitting
right here. And when people read the pattern it doesn’t
make any sense [laughs], and so they think they’re not understanding what it is. But it is a weird little bit of knitting,
I want to cover this technique so you can see how it looks kind of blown up with bigger
yarn and you see that it actually does work. You’re not misreading the pattern. Let’s take a look on this lace scarf. You can’t even see it. It is this little bit of knitting right here. That just gets you started with the right
shape for branching out and knitting the rest of the shawl. The whole shawl starts from right here. And this is a finished bit blown up. I’ve only done the first couple of rows. It is this bit right here. I know it probably doesn’t make any sense
but it works out for the rest of the shawl. And this of course is a lot easier to see,
considering that this is the weight of yarn that you’re usually doing it in. I think that adds to the confusion quite a
bit, because it’s just hard to see when you’re using this yarn. Much easier to see when you’re using this
yarn. Okay, let’s cover the technique. The pattern will tell you – and these patterns
all start out the same like this. Um, they’ll tell you to cast-on three stitches. And there is something that I’m going to
show you that I did NOT do in this scarf. There’s actually a bump right here, and
that’s because that is my slip knot. It is neater work to do a cast-on without
a slip knot. And you’ll avoid having that bump. That bump is not distressing me in any way,
but I always try to do the nicest work I can. So I’m going to do a long tail cast-on,
slingshot method. And I’ll give you a link to this cast-on,
if you want a slower breakdown of it. I’m going to cast on three stitches. Okay. And then the pattern tells you to knit six
rows. Oh, one more thing. I advise you to start
on double pointed needles for this bit. You don’t need the double points, but this
part of the scarf is so fiddley, that you’ll do better to not have a bunch of cord flapping
around, getting in your way. This is four. Okay. So you end up with this little tiny bit of
garter stitch knitting. Excuse me just a moment here. Six rows, three ridges. Now the first thing the pattern tells you
after you’ve knit those six rows is to pick up three stitches from the long edge. There’s the short edge, there’s the long
edge. And I find that I can pick them up – the
first one, just after that ridge, kind of half way into that ridge. There’s one. You notice I’m using the same needle for
this. So I’m kind of changing the direction of my knitting, using this same needle. Kind
of stretching this bit of knitting around. And the third one I’m going to pick up right
before the corner. Okay, so now I have six stitches on the needle. The next bit of instruction tells me to pick
up three stitches from the cast-on edge. This is the part that everyone gets confused
about. Because that’s going the wrong direction! We’ve already come from over here, and over
here, and now we’re going to go back this way? I swear, this works. Normally, when you’re picking up stitches
I advise you to pick up both legs of the V. Kind of too much to do for this one, I’m
just going to pick up the front leg, this one here, the front leg of the V of the cast-on
stitch. If I can. Lots of tension on the working yarn to get
that to pull through. I’m having a pretty easy time seeing where
I’m going with this. It’s kind of a different story when you’re
using the lace weight yarn. Okay, now [laughs]. See, I told you it was going to work out! There is the beginning of my lace shawl, and
I have nine stitches on the needle. The next row of your pattern – of course,
all patterns are different – but the next row is usually a wrong side row, and it gets
you started on the increases. So this is a really brilliant way to start
a triangle lace scarf. It’s really smart. But the beginning can be confusing. Hopefully
that cleared it up. [music]

76 thoughts on “Knitting Help – “Garter Tab”, or Lace Shawl Beginning

  • Thank you for the tutorial! And especially for using the bulky yarn I can't imagine demo'ing it on lace weighted yarn.

  • Thank you so much for doing this! Trying to walk someone through this in the shop where I work and then having them go home and get frustrated if they have to rip back and start over is hard. I have been regularly referring people to your videos for a while now, but this is a DEFINITE referral!

  • You're welcome! If your customers come to you with questions and I don't have an answer in video yet, let me know! I'm always looking to fill the gaps with more answers. Thank you for the note!

  • Wish I would have waited a bit before starting my lace shawl. It uses this very method, and I was so confused b/c of the very reason you stated: it was done on itty bitty lace yarn. I had the hardest time trying to make out the individual stitches or estimate the best spot to pick up stitches. Eventually managed it, but I have an unsightly nub/bump from where I didn't go far enough down on the cast-on edge. But now I have this tutorial and will know better next time.

  • You are correct – a shawl that is knit bottom-up won't use this technique. There isn't really a specific technique to demonstrate for a bottom-up shawl, you really just cast-on and each pattern is going to be different from there. But I do have a video that may help you – it's called "Knitting Help – Casting-on Many Stitches". Sorry, YouTube won't let me give you a link here in the comments, but you can search for it on my channel page. Good luck!

  • Oh wow, thank you so much. I could not make head or tail of how to do this, and you showed me how beautifully. ONWARDS with the lace knitting (I'm doing the Ishbel scarf). Thank you!

  • As usual I came to your video on how to do a garter stitch tab! Perfect as always! I loved the shawl that you used and when I clicked on the Ravelry link it just linked to the 'wheres my stitches at' page. Do you recall the name perhaps? Also found the pattern for the cardi I had asked you for, thank you!

  • I just checked the links – they're all working for me. The fuchsia shawl is called "Ishbel", and the green one is called "Hitchhiker". Hope that helps.

  • THank you soooo much for explaining this! I have a pattern for a beautiful lace shawl but they did nothing to explain how to do this technique and I was getting frustrated. You were nice and patient and it makes sense

  • All of the information to items you see in my videos (like what I'm wearing, what the mannequin is wearing, yarn I'm using, etc) can be found with links in the video description field, just below the video.

  • Thank you soooo much for this video. I've bee avoiding gorgeous shawl patterns because this part never made any sense to me. You made it perfectly clear. Thanks!!

  • I'm going to cry just a little bit here. I've been struggling for SO LONG to try to figure this out to start my first shawl (Age of Bras and Steam, look it up on Ravelry, so pretty!) and now I think I can say I finally, FINALLY have it. A few tears of released frustration, but thank you so, so much Very Pink Knits, for always having exactly what I need, in such crystal clear videos and instruction. You're amazing.

  • Just started my first lace triangle shawl, and can I just say that I WISH I HAD FOUND THIS VIDEO before I started… You explain it so clearly and talk so fluidly. It is a real pleasure having you here to walk us all through these mysterious knitting puzzles! Thank you! If I ever have another knitting question, I'll be sure to check your channel first!

  • I felt SO validated by your explanations in the video- I'm not stupid, it's just weird that you would assume someone would know this technique when writing out the pattern! I've knit lace before, but nothing with this V technique. You're correct, it is brilliant 😉 I've got it now, easy as pie, thank you for the great tute <3

  • The pattern I found has my pick up stitches purlwise.  So is there anything special/different about doing it that way? Or is it simply purling instead of knitting?

  • I'm so ready to try a lace shawl pattern I have had for awhile now!  I could not understand how on earth to start it but you explained it beautifully! Thank You so much!

  • Question…Instead of casting on three stitches to start, can you do a provisional cast on? That would prevent needing to pick up the stitches along the bottom…

  • Thank you so much!!
    You are so simple and brilliant in your explanations! I can get everything you say even if I'm a beginner, and Italian! Praise to you for your clarity of contents and pronunciation!!!

  • I sound like a broken record… Thank you Staci!!!! I knew you would be able to show me how to do this! I owe you a debt of gratitude- you make my knitting look good!
    Many many thanks! Ronnie Sue

  • Wow Staci! I'm about to start the Ishbel Shawl and was confused by the beginning so I Googled "Ishbel Shawl Tutorial" and there you were explaining how many triangular shawls starts this way. After watching your video, this will be easy as pie. Thank you!

  • Lifesaver! You're right: reading it in the pattern just doesn't make sense, but this video made it crystal clear!

  • thank you so much! I had no idea how to do this, and really appreciate your demonstration and explanation. Thank you!!!!

  • Such a great tutorial Staci!
    I have one small question. When a pattern that uses garter tab cast on says, "pick up and knit along garter bumps" and "pick up and knit along cast on egde" does that mean I should pick up the stitches then knot before moving on? As in; pick up along garter bump side and knit then pick up along cast on edge and knit? Does that make sense? In your video you picked up only…

  • Goodness, that was easy! I was sure that I was misreading the directions. Simplicity itself after watching your video. Great job,

  • Thank you! You got me going on this. I'm making my first Boneyard Shawl. I've been trying to find the right thing for some yarn I've got, and finally tonight, I decided that would be the pattern. Thanks for helping me get past the first part and get it started.

  • Hi, I followed the instructions and the finished product looks like what yours does (like a half-hexagon-ish), but when I turn the work around, there's like a little tab of extra stitches (not live ones) just flapping out like a skin tag. Is that normal? Or should it be flat like the front?

  • A newbie concern just started to bother me and I'm second guessing myself. LOL Is the CO row counted as one of the knit rows? I'm drawing a blank!

  • @verypink knits, I'm currently working on the Geology Shawl by: VeryBusyMonkeyDesigns. I'm a very tight knitter. My Garter Tab Cast On is way too tight. I'm hoping it will look better after blocking. Is there anything I can do in the future to keep this from happening again? Should I go up one or two needle sizes for the Cast On? I would be extremely grateful for any advice. I Love your tutorials & podcast! I wouldn't be a knitter if I hadn't discovered your channel. Your teaching has changed my life for the better. Thank you, Staci!

  • hi Staci, fantastic explanation as always!! thank you so much, now i can start that beautiful shawl pattern that i could not make heads or tails of!!

  • Thanks for this awesome instructional video! Your using the thicker yarn really made it easy to see what you were doing.

  • Staci, I am trying to convert a pattern for the Caterpillar Shawlette by Joyce Fassbender (which was only in chart version from Knit Picks) into words.  Even with all the information about what was not included in the chart (center stitch for example) I am in total confusion.  I have made two sharbellas and one saroyan without any trouble thanks to your video help.  I need your help in trying to get this Caterpillar shawlette even on needles.  I hope you have time to respond to my query.

  • Hope you can help me to convert this pattern  I will be one of by christmas gifts along wind sharbellas and saroyan.  Thank you.

  • Thanks anyway.  I reached out to the designer.  I'm trying to get a couple of these shawlettes and a couple more entrelac scarves made before Christmas.  Charts are impossible for me because of an issue with my left eye.  Keep up the good work.

  • Oh, wow, thank you so much. I just cast on for The Age of Brass & Steam shawl, then immediately hit a brick wall. You're a lifesaver!

  • Thanks, Staci, for the clear directions! I've decided before I ruin my beautiful lace yarn trying to learn this, I'm going to use your example and practice this stitch over and over again with some left over worsted weight yarn I have and bigger needles.

  • I can do the tab, but it always looks stretched, stressed and sticks out in the knitting like a sore thumb no matter how hard I try. It looks crappy in my beautiful knits. Why do they design so many garments with this terrible technique?

  • Staci, do you have any advice about blocking a shawl with the garter tab start…? My bump always seems to protrude …..

  • Thank you Staci, beautifully explained, the link you added for the pink lace shawl goes to a different shawl pattern in Ravelry, can you give me the name of the shawl so I can find the pattern. Thanks so much

  • I did it! Thanks Stacey …. I bought a pattern, has no idea what garter tab meant. Confidence is soaring!

  • Yes it clear it up so nicely for me. I read the instructions on the pattern, and was thinking "what in the world are they talking about?!?" I will have to watch a couple more times to be sure I have the technique down, but thank you again for explaining it so simply!

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