Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Latvian Cast-on

I know I'm a day late for posting for this last week, but once I mentioned the Latvian cast-on in the previous blog post, I realized that I really had to show you how to do it.

The tricky thing with that idea is this - how do you take a video of yourself knitting? You really need both hands for knitting, and then two spare hands for working the camera. I spent the week puzzling over how to make that work, and then last night as I was knitting I remembered my old tri-pod from my photography days. I took a few minutes of digging to find it in the back of my closet, and then I was in business! By then, of course, it was really too dark in the house to get a good video, so here we are this morning. So this week will be a double-feature!

Pardon the scratchy asthma voice, and the camera that would really rather focus on the carpet than on my hands and my knitting. I think it works pretty well, though, for my film debut!

Now for the written out instructions-

Latvian cast-on:

Very much resembles a Long-Tail cast-on in the set-up and execution. You should be able to pick this up easily!

Leaving yourself a 6-8 inch tail for weaving in later, measure out the length of yarn you need for the number of stitches you would like to cast on. Figure another 6-8 inches into that length for use later.

Now double that whole length (so that you have 2x as much yarn) except for the original 6-8 inch tail, still hanging onto your original tail in your right hand. The doubled length of yarn becomes your thumb yarn, the single strand of yarn going to the yarn ball is your finger yarn, and the 6-8 inch tail is held against your needle. Set yourself up for a regular Long-Tail cast-on.

Instead of starting with a slip knot as many people do with Long-Tail and its variations, begin by pointing your needle straight down in the space between the yarn arranged in your left hand going from thumb to finger and the inner curve of your hand between your thumb and index finger. Bring the needle firmly back against the yarn, and turn it so that it is pointing towards the finger, twisting it in the yarn as you continue to turn the needle to the upright position. See how much neater that is than a slip-knot?

Now, cast on your first (next) stitch by using the normal Long-Tail method, remembering that the doubled yarn serves as your thumb yarn in this cast on.

For the second stitch, instead of putting your thumb down through the middle of the two yarn strands and then pulling up the way your normally would, reach your thumb outside of the yarn strands and over the thumb yarn pointing downwards. Scoop your thumb under the thumb yarn and up through the middle of your thumb and finger strands.

Notice that in a normal Long-Tail, the loop around your thumb is twisted at its base. With this second, altered stitch, the thumb loop is open at its base.

Now take your needle, go over the top of the doubled thumb strand, down under the single strand thumb yarn, grab your finger yarn and bring the new stitch through the thumb loop.

Alternate the normal, more familiar stitch with the altered stitch for the number of required cast-on sts.

See how the stitches arrange themselves on your needle in pairs?

1 comment:

Marianne said...

Well done!