Thursday, March 8, 2012

Picot Cast-on and Bind-off

I've been on a tear with toe-up, "forethought" heel socks lately. So I'm becoming pretty adept with JSSBO (a variant of "the yarn-over bind off" which is a pretty standard technique).
But this bind-off isn't particularly "pretty". For ladies' lacy socks there's another option: a picot bind-off. Here it is, in summary:

1. decide the size of your picots (N stitches, where N=1, 2, or 3)
2. Cast off 2 stitches.
3. Slip the remaining single stitch on your right needle back to the left.
4. knit-on cast-on (or, alternatively, cable cast-on) N stitches
5. bind off N+2 stitches (two more than your picot size)

Repeat steps 3-5 until you've bound off all your stitches.

This works well and is quite stretchy - there's no hard "edge" to the sock. You can make the picots any size, but I find for a traditional look that 1, 2, or 3 gives good results (that's not to say that a 10-stitch picot couldn't look'd probably flop over and look almost fringe-like...) The spacing between the picots is always 2 stitches in this recipe, it's determined by step 5 where you bind off 2 more than you cast on (and by step 2 where you position the first picot). Feel free to improvise!

There's a matching cast-on, which you can probably unvent yourself because it is obvious once you've got the cast-off in your head:

1. decide the size of your picots (N stitches, where N=1, 2, or 3)
2. do a slip knot to start.
3. knit-on cast-on (or, alternatively, cable cast-on) N+2 stitches (two more than your picot size).
4. bind off N stitches
5. slip remaining single stitch on your right needle to the left.

repeat steps 3-5 until you have the desired number of stitches. Again I've made the picot spacing 2 stitches, but this is adjustable.

I've made  fingerless mitts (pattern here) with picot edges on both ends. They match quite nicely.
[Mitaines or fingerless gloves]

Here's another "bumpy-and-stretchy" cast on option: the Channel Islands cast-on.

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