My two most current WIP’s use a provisional cast on and I thought I’d share a little pictorial of how I do it. My favourite of the many provisional cast on methods is the crochet method and it’s one of many reasons that I think every knitter should have some basic crochet skills – there’s lots of time to entice you to the dark side!
There are two crochet-type methods, the most common is where you create a chain length and then pick up your stitches in the back bump of each chain stitch. This is a perfectly serviceable method but even as an experienced Hookster, I find dealing with a long, floppy bit of string to be a pain. I think it would give a novice the vapours!
For control, neatness and ease – once you’ve practised just a little – the “crochet on” method works best for me and I think would be easier to manage for beginners or entrenched knitters. It does require two “sticks” and works stitches in a knitting-type way, so is a more familiar feel. When done the way I do, there is lots of room to correct stitch count before beginning to work with your project yarn without having to rip out and start over. If you’re as OCD as I am, this method really fits the bill.
Below is a photo infographic with notes of how I work this cast on. I can’t be sure if anyone else does it like this, I haven’t seen it in any tutorials or pictorials, so I’ll call this tweaked version “Kei’s Crochet Provisional Cast On”. You’ll need to click the individual photo in order to read the full text of the instructions 🙂
Step 1: Your project needle, same size crochet hook, smooth waste yarn – same weight as project yarn.
Step 2: Make slipknot and place on hook as normal. Now the different part, chain 3-5 stitches. This creates a little tab for the next step.
Step 3: Hold hook on top of needle at a right angle. Bring yarn underneath and to back of needle, wrap around the hook and pull through the loop on the hook. Hold the tab as shown to stabilize the hook and needle as you make your stitches. Bring the yarn back under the needle to make the next stitch.
Step 4: Your work will look like the regular crochet provisional cast on after a few stitches, it’ll just have the nifty little tab at the end. Continue casting on until you have the number of stitches called for.
Step 5: After making the last stitch, bring the yarn to the front of work, wrap around the hook and pull through to create a chain stitch. Make a few more, at least two more than the beginning tab. This will help you find the correct end for “unzipping” more quickly. You can draw out the last loop, nice and long in order to count your stitches and correct by carefully taking out the extras of the end chain, putting the loop back on the hook and adding the stitches you need. Extras are fine as long as to knit up the correct number with your project yarn in the next row. Leaving the ending chain tab will also give you something to work from when you pick up the provisional stitches to a 2nd needle and that pesky but unavoidable “Missing Man Stitch” happens. It was years before I realized that this MIA stitch happens with all provisional cast ons and that I didn’t have some sort of dark power to make it evaporate every single time I used any provi technique!
I hope this is as clear as I think it is and if you are trying this out, feel free to message me if you have a question – there’s a “message me” email button up top there ↑
You will find that you very quickly gain a rhythm with this, using your forefinger to move the yarn from the front of the last stitch made and around to the back for the next one. I like giving myself the insurance of a couple extra chains even if I wind up not needing it and the added control that the beginning tab gives me for those first few stitches.
I’m using a ChiaoGoo circular needle, a Prym hook and a smooth cotton fingering weight (a scrap, don’t remember the brand). Smooth cottons are ideal for any provisional cast on.
Hope this will help someone out!
Cheers all! 🙂
I am using this on my ‘Le Scarabée Bleu‘ cardigan and between it and German Short Rows, I’m not sure which technique I love more!
When I decided to do the TP cast on a few hours ago, I thought as I looked at the directions that it is the same as the way I’ve always added stitches – But! – purling them instead of knitting them ie: cabled cast on, makes for a much nicer edge to pick up and the first and last stitches between the front and back are much tidier. *Heart*
The German Short Rows… With a maiden name like ‘Tupper’ this should have always been in my crafty tool kit. I will never ‘wrap and turn’ again. Srsly… It is just that good.
Sharing the joy of the original posts just below here:
German Short Rows La Maison Rililie picture tutorial
German Short Rows Tin Can Knits picture tutorial
Mimi Kezer’s step-by-step tutorial on the German Short Row or “working the Double Stitch”
If you haven’t used these techniques before (and I have an ‘old knitter’ attitude about not broke, don’t fix) you may want to give them a whirl. My knitting happy quotient just jumped big time and that’s saying a lot from Miz Sticks Obsessed 😉
There are so many neat tips and techniques out there!
I’ve been knitting and crocheting a long time and so don’t feel the need to change my technique very often. Preferences come with proficiency! I am always willing to try something new and finally got round to doing that with the “Magic Loop” for crochet. This technique is now my favourite for all the reasons you may have already read: it’s simple, clean and produces a very nice start to crocheting in the round.
There are lots of great tutorials out there and I’m adding a pictorial one here and you can find pictures and full text here: “MLCT By KeiB” – this will take you to the Flickr page for the tutorial. You’ll need to click each photo to read the written step-by-step instructions. I hope this will be handy for any of you who decide to make a KeiB Design that is or incorporates crochet. Hope you’ll find this helpful and straightforward 🙂
Magic Loop For Crochet Tutorial ~ MLCT By KeiB Start with your required yarn and appropriate sized hook. The tail end of the skein has a small knot to distinguish it, the working yarn is the skein end.
MLCT ~ Step One Begin by looping the yarn around your index and middle fingers. Have the tail hanging down on your palm side and the working yarn laying over and behind the loop on your fingers.
MLCT ~ Step Two Insert your crochet hook underneath the front loop and grab the working yarn strand that is behind it. I like to anchor my yarn with my thumb to keep it from coming unwound at this point.
MLCT ~ Step Three Pull up a loop of the working yarn strand from underneath the tail strand.
MLCT ~ Step Four Wool round hook (Yo, WRH, et al) and chain one (ch1) or as many starting chains as your pattern indicates. In this tutorial, the foundation round of my pattern calls for three chains (ch3) and then to work 15dc into the centre of my loop.
MLCT ~ Step Five This photo shows the ch3 and the first completed dc. I am still anchoring the loop and the tail strand between my thumb and index fingers, this is a preference and one I find useful until there are a few stitches worked over the strands of the magic loop.
MLCT ~ Step Six This is how the loop looks after 5dc have been completed. Continue around the circle, working over both strands until you have made the number of foundation stitches required. I like to snug up my centre a little by pulling the tail end of my yarn (the knotted end in the photo) every few stitches.
MLCT ~ Step Seven Almost done! The foundation stitches are complete, the round needs to be slip stitched closed to finish it and at that point, pull up on the tail end to close the centre and fasten securely.
MLCT ~ Step Eight This photo shows the completed foundation row. The centre hole has been snugged up by fulling gently on the tail, the round has been closed with a slip stitch and is ready for the next pattern round. You’re done – congratulations!
I found this gem of a tip from Melissa Leapman on Vogue Knitting International:
“I like the look (and the speed!) of solid double crochet stitches, but I hate the little holes that often appear next to the turning chains. Here’s how to use “linked dc stitches” to prevent them: Immediately following the turning chain, insert your crochet hook into the second chain of the turning chain just made, then yarn over hook and draw the loop through the chain—two loops will be on your hook. Then, insert the hook into the next stitch the regular way (that is, into the second stitch of the row), yarn over hook and pull up a loop—three loops will be on your hook. To complete the double crochet stitch, [yarn over the hook and draw the loop through two loops on your hook] twice. Easy!”
I love this and will definitely be using it on my next crochet project.
I learned to knit using double pointed needles and so I love this technique. If a flat pattern can be worked in the round, I modify it. I love circular needles too and the different ways they can be used to create seamless work.
With sock knitting becoming ever more popular, this double point technique seemed timely. Click the photo to take you to this wonderful tutorial and more pictures that illustrate the cast on and beginning rows. If you’ve not used dpn’s before or it’s been awhile, this is worth a peek!
Working in the round with double point needles.