Longevity Knit Along: Day 1

 Longevity Shawl Knit Along - Day 1

Longevity Shawl Knit Along - Day 1

Welcome to Day 1 of the Longevity Shawl Knit Along.  It's KnitDocDonna back again to be your coach and guide as we work a little knitting magic together!

Surprise! This project uses only basic stitches with a few embellishments. I'm here to help you through any tricky parts! If you've knitted along with me before, you know I'm always available for you even if you've started late. In fact, start anytime at all!

So, without further ado, let's grab our pattern, tools, materials and get ready to fashion what's sure to become a treasured heirloom garment.

Today We'll Learn:

  • Provisional cast-on
  • I-Cord shawl tab
  • Selvedge stitches
  • Double yarn overs
  • Working the stitch motifs

What are Provisional Stitches?
Provisional stitches are nothing more than a way to create temporary stitches, which are typically held by waste yarn, to be worked at a later point in a project.  Very useful indeed to begin a shawl tab and we'll create ours in just a bit.

The Provisional Cast-On
Before we create those temporary stitches  I'm going let you in on a secret. . .  this was one of the those techniques that used to make my knees quake, really.  If you've ever done a provisional cast-on, your first time around may or may not have gone smoothly.  My first one certainly didn't,  but it sure does now!  And I'm going to share how easy it can be.

There are plenty of ways to work this technique but our version will be "tears free". . . I promise!

The Invisible Cast-On (aka - Provisional Wrap Cast-On or Open Loop Cast-On)

You Will Need:

  1. 2 double pointed needles - Size US 7
  2. 10" length of waste yarn (approximately the same weight as our project and preferably a smooth fiber)
A smooth fiber for your waste yarn works best. You’ll want to avoid having 2 fuzzy fibers that cling together when it’s time to remove that waste yarn.
— Knitting Doctor Tip

How to Provisional Cast-On

  1. Make a slipknot with the project fiber leaving a 4" tail and push it to the bottom of one of the double pointed needles (image, left).
  2. Make a slipknot with the waste yarn fiber, again leaving about a 4" tail and position this slipknot at the top of the double pointed needle (image, center).
  3. My waste yarn (red) is stretched across my needle from right to left and in front of my project yarn (gold). Now with your left thumb and index finger hold the waste yarn strand with the slipknot of the project fiber (image, right).


Holding the project yarn in our right hand we'll wrap as follows:

  1. Project yarn will come under the waste yarn strand and towards our body (image, left).
  2. Over the needle and away from our body (image, left).
  3. Under and towards our body (image, center).

Continue wrapping until there are 4 wraps on the needle (yes our slip knot counts), with our last wrap executed over the needle and away from our body (image, right).

Final Steps

  1.  With our left forefinger and thumb placed on the last wrap ( just so it doesn't get away), gently undo the slipknot of the waste yarn, and with the waste yarn tail, now dangling free, wrap it around the project yarn counter-clockwise.  This movement locks the project yarn so we're ready to create the first stitch (image, left).
  2. Knit across the 4 stitches thru the back loops (image, center).

All we'll need to do when it's time is slide out the waste yarn and  slip them on the needle (image, right).

WHEW!  Wasn't that easier than you thought?  I'm even betting that it took you longer to read it than do it!  Am I right?

Knitting Doctor Lazy Girl's Version

OK, don't tell anyone I shared this. It's certainly not a traditional method, but if I only have a couple of stitches to provisionally cast-on, and I'm feeling just a little bit lazy, I do this.

  1. Thread a finishing needle with the waste yarn.
  2. Make a slipknot, wrap the project yarn the specified number of times as we did above.
  3. Grip the last wrap with my left thumb and forefinger to keep it from getting away.
  4. Slide the threaded finishing needle through the bottom of the wraps leaving the waste yarn to hang from each side. Wrap waste yarn counter-clockwise around project fiber as in the traditional method and proceed (image, left).

Knitting Doctor Tips: 
Patterns requiring a large number of provisional stitches can be tricky to manage.  Try this . . . . secure your wraps every so often with something like these little clothespins (you can find them in party supply stores).   Not only can I use them to keep my wraps from escaping I can also use them to aid in counting to make sure I have the correct number of wraps (image, right).  This works equally on a circular needle's cable as well as double points.

And here's an alternate for the waste yarn.  If you're lucky enough to have an interchangeable cable needle set, use one of the spare cables as your waste yarn.  When done wrapping the stitches screw on stoppers on either end and your stitches will be safely tethered until ready to work. Temporary stitches all secured?  Let's move on.

I-Cord Shawl Tab
Here's where we will begin the i-cord that will become the foundation for our shawl. We've already knit across our 4 stitches and completed the initial row, so we are all set to create our I-cord.

Looking at image above, left - this is where the project/working yarn typically resides ready to work the next row, but for an i-cord we will do the following instead.

  1. Slide the stitches to the opposite end of the double pointed needle. The project/working yarn will be at the bottom (image above, center).
  2. Knit the row. The project yarn will be drawn from bottom to top (image above, right).

Repeat these 2 steps for the number of rows indicated in the pattern.

Working the initial I-cord shawl tab rows loosely will make it easy to pick up the upcoming side stitches.
— Knitting Doctor Tip

Picking Up The Side Stitches
Again, another maneuver much simpler than you think, and we'll do it step by step. Let's grab our pattern and see how many stitches we will be picking up and knitting.  

Looking at image, above left, my needle is pointing at the 1st stitch we will be working into.  Most patterns will refer to this as rotating your work 90 degrees. You'll also notice this is the closest stitch to the working yarn.

  1. Insert the tip of double pointed needle into the side stitch (you'll be going under 2 strands as in the image above, center), wrap the yarn as if to knit and draw thru a loop.  Grab your 2nd double pointed needle and knit the stitch.
  2. Repeat until you have picked up and knitted the number of stitches indicated in the pattern.

Here we are having completed the last side stitch. I'm also going to move my yarn forward ready to complete my yarn over and then we're poised for our last step (image above, right).

Picking Up Provisional Stitches 

  1. Gently undo the slipknot of the waste yarn exposing the 1st wrap (image above, left), slipping it onto our 2nd double pointed needle (image above, center).
  2. Continue to pick up the wraps and sliding out the waste yarn (image above, right). For our project we will be picking up 3 wraps and then one more with  the last pick up being our original slipknot .
  3. Making sure our working yarn is still forward (for our yarnover), we'll go ahead and knit our provisional stitches thru the back loop.
Provisional stitches are typically twisted when initially wrapped. Counter this twist with knitting thru the back loop.
— Knitting Doctor Tip
 I-Cord Shawl Tab

I-Cord Shawl Tab

Bravo! Here is our I-cord shawl tab and it's time for a stitch count. If we're at the right number then we're off to a good solid start. Our foundation work is completed and isn't it a beauty?

The Shawl Body Set Up Rows
These are the prep rows for our Shawl Body. They include knitting, purling, and placing our markers along the way. The rows will also include our intro to sl4 wyif.  At the end of each and every row you will do this technique. I'm going to explain it below.

See image above, left. SL4 WYIF = Slip 4 stitches with yarn in front (moving the yarn forward between the needles as if to purl).  
The "with yarn in front" is important . . . it creates the i-cord selvedge.  And in case you missed it in the pattern, make sure when you slip those stitches they are slipped purlwise.

When working i-cord selvedge edges, at the beginning of the rows knit the first 4 stitches as loosely as possible (image above, right). Doing this will help you get the wingspan you expect when blocking!
— Knitting Doctor Tip

Shawl Body - Garter Panel
Change to circular needles. This is our basic garter, knit every row panel with a twist...double yarnovers. Easy? Absolutely! I'll show you below.

Garter Panel - Row 1 With Double Yarnovers
How Your Double Yarnovers will look (image above, left).

  1. Knit the selvedge stitches (remembering that loose is good) and slip the marker.
  2. Double yarnover. Here's how it's done: Bring the yarn forward between the needles and to the right.  It lies over the right hand needle (image above, center). Bring the yarn forward AGAIN between the needles and lay yarn over the right hand needle as before, then knit the next stitch (image above, right) - double yarnover created!
  3. Double Yarnover at the end of the row - Complete the double yarnover instructions above but this time return the yarn between the needles yet one more time.  

Returning the yarn between the needles after the double yarnover process allows the working yarn to be in position for slipping those last 4 stitches with the yarn in front.

Garter Panel - Row 2
Now that we have our double yarnovers set up at both ends of our work we'll need to do something with them, and here it is:

 Here's how your Longevity should look after working the garter panel.

Here's how your Longevity should look after working the garter panel.

  1. Knit the selvedge stitches and slip the marker as always.
  2. The double yarnover on the previous row have created 2 loop stitches, so we will want to: Knit the first stitch.  The yarnover stitch will appear large and slack (image above, left).  
  3. Move the yarn forward and purl (image above, center). The process of moving that yarn forward will take up the slack in the loop (image above, right).
  4. Work across the row to the 2 stitches before last marker (that's the double yarnover again). This time purl, then knit.
  5. Slip the marker, bring the yarn forward and slip the final 4 stitches! VOILA! Garter Panel mastered!

Now that you've got it.  Repeat the pattern rows in Garter Panel until you have the specified number of stitches on the needles. When you count include all the stitches!
Stitch count completed? Did you end on a WS row? Excellent then lets move on, but before we do let's do a check in.  Is your Longevity starting to look something like this?  (image, right).

Eyelet Panel 
These are 4 very easy rows. You already know the stitches.  

  • Yarnover (image above, left)
  • Knit 2 Together (image above, right)
 Moss Stitch panel on Longevity Shawl

Moss Stitch panel on Longevity Shawl

Moss Panel 1
The Moss stitch (shown, right). One of my very favorite stitch patterns for simplicity and texture. Easy stitching (knit and purl) and better still . . . only a 4 row pattern repeat! When you look at the pattern you'll see that all of the stitches are mapped out line by line, so follow the pattern and knit along with me!

During the upcoming week we'll knit to the last eyelet panel and then meet here again on Thursday, June 11th when we'll ruffle and block. I hope you have enjoyed the session today I know I did!

How do I Follow Along?

All of the posts will be on the here on the NobleKnits Blog. Add a bookmark! Join the KAL group on Ravelry. Be sure to follow nobleknits on InstagramTwitterTumblr, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #LongevityKAL to follow the knit along or post pictures of your progress.

Happy Knitting!
- KnitDocDonna

Donna Pelzar

Donna (aka the Knitting Doctor) is the face behind The New Street Knitter patterns. She teaches knitting instruction for all skill levels in her studio and loves to focus on techniques and interesting stitch patterns. She recently expanded into pattern design and we are thrilled to be able to offer her patterns at NobleKnits. Donna also hosts all of our Knit Alongs.