Garter Stitch Tab for Shawls
If you've looked at any top-down shawl patterns, you have probably seen the "garter stitch tab". I didn't include one in the Oaklet Shawl pattern, because I wanted the shawl to be doable by a beginner knitter. But it's a handy technique, and once you get past its trickiness, it adds a lovely seamless border to the top of your shawl. In this article, I've included a photo of the tab in a shawl, and instructions on how to make a tab, with a diagram.
You make a small rectangle in garter stitch, then pick up stitches along its side and cast on edge. This rectangle then forms a border at the starting edge of your top-down shawl. This garter stitch border is then worked throughout the shawl at the beginning and edge of each row.
Here's a photo of the tab in action:
To make a garter stitch tab (in this example, I'm using a 3 stitch wide tab, and want to end up with 9 stitches for my first row of the shawl):
Cast on 3 sts. (You can use a regular or provisional cast on. Provisional makes the tab blend in a little more, but the tab is such a small part of the shawl, I don't find that it makes a lot of visible difference. The above example was done using a regular cast on).
Knit 7 rows, do not turn work. Pick up 3 and knit stitches along left side of work (one stitch per garter stitch ridge)—you now have 6 stitches.
Pick up 3 and knit stitches along cast on edge. (If you used a provisional cast on, transfer your cast on stitches to the left needle, and knit across them)—you now have 9 stitches. Your next row is a WS row.
Here's a diagram (the blue arrow shows the direction of picking up):