Åsa’s Amazing Tab Cast On

The stitch counts below are particular to the Bakau shawl, which has a 7-stitch edging.
For other edgings, cast on Number of Edging Stitches + 1.
See also the photo tutorial for the Winding Cast On.



Cast on (wind on) 8 sts.


Work Row 1 (RS) of the edging pattern.
On the cable below, the 8 provisional live stitches are sitting idly.
Leave those stitches alone for now.
(The slip-knot has slid under the last (slipped) stitch — not a problem. It can be pulled out later.)


Work edging pattern back and forth.
You now have half a tab.
You are ready to pick up stitches along the left edge to take you to the live stitches on the bottom cable

Note: The last stitch on RS rows is slipped purlwise with yarn in back.
This creates a neat edge for picking up stitches.

The first ‘proper’ row of the Bakau shawl requires 7 shawl or body stitches to start.
For other shawls you may need more or less for your initial row.
For more stitches, work a longer tab. For fewer, work a shorter tab.


Three stitches have been picked up along the left edge (the last three stitches on the Right Needle).
The formerly idle circular needle at the bottom (on the left in photo) has been pulled through (= the stitches have been slid onto the needle from the cable) and you are ready to slide off (and discard) the slip-knot (sitting far right on the Left Needle) in order to work the 8 live stitches back and forth for a few rows.
This creates the second half of the tab.
Or the second part – depending on your edging pattern the two halves may not be equal in length.
For the most minimal tab in stocking or garter stitch you could work as few as 2 – 4 rows in each direction.

The stitches on the Right Needle are  left alone and are not worked until later.
You may have to pull the needle through — to let those idle stitches sit on the cable rather than on the needle — in order to comfortably work the 8 stitches on the Left Needle.


Row 16 (WS)  – and also seen from WS in the photo.
The Bakau tab is complete and you are ready to pick up more stitches along the edge.
This will carry you across to the 11 stitches (8 edging + 3 picked up) that have been sitting idle for the last few rows.
On the left: is Left Needle with the 8 + 3 stitches that have been slid onto the needle to make them available for knitting.
On the right: Right Needle with 8 edging stitches, ready to pick up 4 sts in along the edge and then work the 11 sts on the Left Needle.

You are curving/bending the tab to join up all your stitches.
This sets them side by side so you can knit across all stitches for the remainder of the shawl, beginning and ending with the edging:


Row 17 (RS) of the Bakau pattern has been worked in this photo.
The setup is complete with stitch markers in place.
The photo shows only three markers. The pattern has 5 — an additional one at each edge like this:


I work with as few stitch markers as I can get away with (often none).
For pattern writing purposes, it is mostly easier for knitters to find their way if the instructions say “knit to marker” instead of “knit to the last 7 sts, blablabla….”

Incidentally, those are my favourite stitch markers. They are from fripperies & bibelots and were a present from EmmaCo.

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