Monday, June 09, 2008
On Casting Off
So I mentioned that I'd had to mess with the cast off for the Scurvy shawl.
The cast off I use most frequently for lace knitting is the "Russian Lace bind-off"... explained nicely here. It is indeed nice and stretchy, but it's...... errr...
...I guess the best way to describe it is that it's high profile. Since you're working each stitch twice, you're working a full extra row, and as purl stitches. Which means that they sit higher, and stand out more.
It's a good cast-off, absolutely, but I didn't like how it looked against the garter edging.
So I ripped that back, and I tried the good old "k1, k1, lift first stitch over second" cast-off. You know, the first one you were taught. It is lovely. Very simple and elegant. But it's tight. You have to work fairly hard to even get it at the same tension as the knitting. It's a classic beginner problem, a too-tight cast off. It's not easy.
But then if you're trying to to allow stretch for blocking... Definitely a challenge.
The only answer is to use a larger needle. A MUCH larger needle. I had decent success using a 5.5 mm needle (having worked the shawl with a 3.5mm needle) and staying very relaxed.
It worked. If push came to shove, there's probably a bit more blocking room in the lace, and not quite enough in the cast-off, but I'm quite content with it the way it is.