Crescent shawl selvedges

One of the  common forms of knitted crescent shawls involves casting on a few stitches in the center top of the shawl, and then knitting back and forth while increasing three stitches on each side over every two rows.

The selvedges I’ve seen most frequently are in two parts: there’s a two stitch garter selvedge on the outside edges, and the increases take place just inside. There’s a pretty standard recipe for this that results in pretty large holes at the edge. These look great in some circumstances, but I don’t think they’re always right for any given crescent shawl. I’m sure other people have come up with variations, but here’s a couple of my own. Feel free to use them however you like.

Crescent shawl selvedge variations

I should also mention that I usually find the garter selvedge tight with crescent shawls because of the way the stitches have to stretch to accommodate the increases.  The method that I use to loosen this up is to knit 1, yarnover, and knit 1 for the selvedge, and then when I come to it on the next row, I knit 1, yarnover, drop the previous yarnover, and knit 1. This makes the edge stitches a bit looser than I might like, but on the other hand, they don’t feel horribly tight.

First, here is the basic structure of the most common crescent selvedge I’ve seen:

a common crescent shawl selvedge

usual crescent.png

Notes:

  • The chart leaves out the middle section of the pattern; likewise the yarnovers I work and drop in the garter edge.
  • When figuring how many stitches to cast on, first work out how many stitches are needed for the main pattern, and then cast on three extra stitches for each side (six stitches total for the selvedges).

Abbreviations:

  • k: knit.
  • kyok: (k1, yo, k1) in next stitch.
  • p: purl.
  • yo: yarnover.

Row 1 (RS): k2, kyok, (pattern), kyok, k2.
Row 2 (WS): k2, yo, p3, (pattern), p3, yo, k2.

My main issue with the one above is how large the holes are, so I decided to play with single yarnovers with only one stitch worked in them on the following row.

crescent shawl selvedge variation 1

plain yos both rows crescent.png

For the first variation I stuck to the basic principle of the above: increase 2 stitches on each right side edge, then increase 1 stitch on each wrong side edge. I like the result a lot – as simple in appearance, but with smaller holes. I think it’s interesting that only one of the right-side yarnovers is really visible.

Notes:

  • When figuring how many stitches to cast on, first work out how many stitches are needed for the main pattern, and then cast on 3 extra stitches for each side (6 stitches total for the selvedges).

Row 1 (RS): k2, yo, k1, yo, (pattern), yo k1, yo, k2.
Row 2 (WS): k2, yo, p3, (pattern), p3, yo, k2.

For a second variation, I thought I’d try increasing all three stitches on each each edge on right sides only.

crescent shawl selvedge variation 2

plain yos first row crescent.png

This one is wider than the others, and some of the holes end up being larger than I expected – something about the way the stitches settle into the curve, I guess. Still, they’re a little smaller than the holes the standard selvedges. I like this one too – it’s a little fancier, but not too fancy.

(And I see now that a hair decided to sneak its way into the picture. Sorry. Well, you get sheep hair and human hair, then.)

Notes:

  • When figuring how many stitches to cast on, first work out how many stitches are needed for the main pattern, and then cast on 4 extra stitches for each side instead of 3 (8 stitches total for the selvedges).

Row 1 (RS): k2, (yo, k1) x 2, yo, (pattern), yo, (k1, yo) x 2, k2.
Row 2 (WS): k2, p5, (pattern), p5, k2.

This is just the tip of the iceberg – I’m sure many other variations are possible! Why not give inventing your own a try?

5 thoughts on “Crescent shawl selvedges

  1. Your second technique would have worked well for one of the shawls that I knit a while back, Naomi — it would have turned out looser and better. Thank you for the charts, I’ll give these a try sometime!

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