When I think about edgings for projects, I always start with rib. It’s straightforward to do and its stretchy nature hides a multitude of sins if you make as many mistakes as I do. There comes a point however, when you really have to dispense with the training wheels of knitting comfort and try something else. The i-cord cast-off is a pretty good place to start, not least since it is fairly simple to do.
i-Cord gives a smooth finish to projects and, if you’re tough on cast-on and cast-off edges like me, it is probably more durable than a straight cast off in pattern as it is worked perpendicular to the knitted fabric. You could start with an i-cord cast-on for balance, but I’d argue that it is simpler and, perhaps more importantly, neater to cast on provisionally with waste yarn and then go back later to cast off in i-cord.
When I first learnt this, I wondered whether it was all worth the effort. After all, you have to work three stitches to cast off one stitch. That’s true, but there is only the one row to work. If you were using a ribbed edge, you would have to complete several rows before casting off, so the effort balances out.
The Bramante Cowl gives you the opportunity to practise this technique. If you master it comfortably and want to see what else is out there, you might want to look at folded hems, or my personal nemesis, the tubular cast-on*.
If you’re making Bramante, or any other helical project, do join the conversation in our SN2LA Helical Knitting KAL. And it’s not too late to join in! Grab a copy of Something New to Learn About Helical Knitting from our website, where you will also find kits for some of the patterns, or over on Ravelry. The ebook costs £13.99 and includes 7 patterns, 4 chapters of tutorials on helical knitting techniques, as well as a 10% discount code for use in our online shop until 27th November 2018. Happy (helical) knitting!
*Tubular cast-on isn’t impossibly complex, but it did keep Jen, and consequently me, awake with excitement at the possibilities. If you can find an ancient copy of Simply Knitting, you’ll be able to read my thoughts on the subject in my Knitting Ruined my Wife column.