I want to introduce you to my friend, the provisional cast-on. It’s a nifty little technique that can be completely invaluable. It lets you cast on (and knit), then come back and knit in the other direction. The finished product is insanely stretchy and totally unnoticeable. It’s perfect for top-down sweaters (so you can knit the entire sweater, then knit the collar). It’s also great for lace shawls and scarves, where you don’t want an unsightly cast-on edge.
So, how do you do it?
Grab some scrap yarn and a largeish crochet hook and chain several stitches more than you want to cast on. Don’t worry about making the crochet look pretty, it’s all going to be removed before you finish the garment.
Then, use your knitting needle to pick up and knit one stitch in each chain.
Keep going until you have the number of stitches that your pattern calls for.
Then, just knit your pattern as you normally would. Ignore the ugly neon green crochet stitches at the collar of your sweater, they will be gone soon enough.Here comes the cool part. Carefully undo the crocheted chain one stitch at a time (or a few stitches at a time).
And slip your needle into the newly freed stitches. (In knitter’s lingo, these are now “live stitches.”)Keep going, until you’ve picked up all the live stitches.Now you’re ready to keep going. Join your yarn and start knitting the other direction!
Agreed: it’s such a clever technique. And your explanation is refreshingly easy to follow.
If you knit into the back loop it makes the unraveling easier.
Totally! Although, sometimes I think it’s a little too easy to unravel. If I’m working with particularly slippy yarn or needles, I like picking up stitches in the front of the crochet chain, so that I can be doubly sure it won’t get away from me.
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