Picots are used in lots of crafts – I’ve made them in knitting, crochet, and tatting, and I know they exist in bobbin lace. They must be part of many kinds of needlework. In tatting, crochet, and bobbin lace, at least, they serve both a decorative and a structural purpose, being a decorative loop applied to the very edge of the work that can also serve as an attachment point for other parts of the work. Picot cast-ons and bind-offs in knitting are generally decorative; the only functional aspect that I’ve seen most people use them for being to help make the edge stretchier. They are also attached to the very edge of the work. So far as I can tell, knitted picot hems are called picots because they make a jagged edge; they seem more of a cousin to all the other picots. They do have loops, but their loopishness isn’t generally visible. Still, they’re worth mentioning here.
I will have more to say about picot bind-offs in a future post. (Indeed, you might be surprised by how much there is to say about knitted picots.) The rest of this post is about the inside-out picot, developed by certain nimble knitters (Ravelry link). It’s an alternate way to make a little loop at the edge, centered over a single stitch, without having to cast on extra stitches during the bind off.
(My way to center a picot over a single stitch is still a good one in my opinion; I just like having more than one possibility.)
The knitters of Nim Teasdale’s Ravelry group, Nimble Knits, have come up with another nifty knitting trick, and this time, each of the people involved is trying to give the credit to someone else. So I’ll give the credit to all of them. Truthfully, that’s often how things work: one person does something and it sparks an idea for someone else, and then a third person thinks up extra ways that it’s useful…
The major difference from a regular knitted picot is that the inside-out picot is added to the last pattern row before the bind-off. The picot loop is thus inside the bound off edge instead of outside; hence the name.
Here’s how it works:
- Find a single stitch in your knitting that would look nice with a point above it. It should be a stitch that would otherwise be worked as k1.
- Instead of working it as k1, work a KYOK increase in it (k1, yarn over, k1 all in the same stitch), with no corresponding decreases elsewhere in the knitting. The goal is to add a couple of stitches.
- Bind off on the wrong side row (this is how Nim’s patterns tend to be written). There will be a little bump above the stitch with the extra increases.
- Stretch that bump out when blocking. Ta-dah!
- Work more than one YO in the KYOK. When binding off, keep binding the YOs off until there’s no slack. This makes a longer picot.
- If there’s a complicated stitch (like a double decrease) where the picot should go, work the pattern row as usual, then work a wrong side row. At the point where the picot should be, work PYOP (p1, yo, p1 in one stitch). Then bind off as usual on the right side.
- Work a long inside-out picot (with lots of YOs), and then work regular picots on it while binding off. Why not? (Well, it might be overly fussy or ornate, depending on the circumstances. But there might be reason to do it.)
The one major disadvantage I can think of in regard to this over the picot bind-off is that the picot bind-off can be adjusted more on the fly, depending on one’s whim. But it’s not really a big deal.
I like both kinds of picot very much, and I’m going to have fun playing with this new one!