Thursday, April 03, 2008

Spring Blossoms: Border with Double and Triple Joins

This is the border I decided to add to the Spring Blossoms Shawl. The pattern is from Fiber Trends, and Eugen Beugler is the designer. The yarn was dyed specially for me by Margaret at Inspirations Yarn, and it's her Espresso laceweight merino. I'm using a size 4 needle.

The pattern recommends a simple crochet edging. I decided to try a knitted border I particularly like from Victorian Lace Today. It's the diamonds and triangles edging on page 150. The border is particularly wide, so it's going to take some time to complete.

So far, I'm completely happy with it. The diamond shapes echo the diamonds in the flower bouquets of the main panel. The lacy zigzag edge is light and gives the shawl a nice drape.

I have to be careful when I get to the corners. In order to get a wide lace border to turn a corner, you have to plan the number of double and triple joins before and after the corner. For this extra wide border (32 sts wide), Jane Sowerby recommends 8 double and 4 to 8 triple joins.

Jane describes Single, Double and Triple joins in her book Victorian Lace Today. To summarize:

Single Join -- Knit one border stitch (WS) to one stitch of center panel by slipping the last border stitch through the back loop together with one main panel stitch and knitting them together.

Double Join -- Two single joins to one center panel stitch. A total of four border rows are attached to one center panel stitch, since you only "join" on the WS rows.

Triple Join -- Three single joins to one center panel stitch. A total of six border rows are attached to one center panel stitch, since you only "join" on the WS rows.

It takes some thought to decide when to start the double and triple joins. For this border, I'm starting the doubles about 24 rows from the corner, putting in the triples at the point of the corner, and finishing up 24 rows after the point on the next contiguous side.

The border is knit onto the center panel perpendicularly, with the live stitches of the center panel still on the circular needle. I put a rubber point protector on one circular needle tip and knit the panel stitches off of the other end of the needle.

I prefer to use a DPN to knit the border. For me, it's faster to flip the work. I don't ever leave a border row on the DPN when I put the work down. I make sure that I end on a RS row so that all the stitches are being held on the circular when I put the knitting back into my bag.

I included a lifeline on the last row of the main center panel before I started the border. I think this is important if you are not sure you are going to like the border you picked. Then, if you have to rip out the border and start again, you can just pick up the stitches held by the lifeline.

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