Saturday, July 25, 2009

Crochet Cast-On as a Provisional Cast-On

There are any number of reasons why I like the Crochet Cast-on. It's wonderful when I am starting with an edge that is not going to be finished further later on in the project, or if I am not sure of how I want to finish my edge later and want to keep my options open. Excellent when I am making something like a scarf, shawl or blanket where all 4 edges are going to show in the finished piece, and I want them all to match. It is also pretty darned handy when I want to use it for a provisional cast-on.

I'm making the Flow tank top by Norah Gaughan, in Berroco Seduce. Because the style of the top is very simple, I wanted to keep my cast-on edge simple as well. Normally, if I were using wool, I would work this edge as a crochet cast-on, so that it would look just like a cast-off edge and look very clean. And 9 times out of 10, this would work perfectly. There's just one problem--because of its fiber content, Seduce has no elasticity. With a crochet cast-on, this results in a loose, sloppy looking edge. Not what I want here. Or ever.

I still want to use a crochet cast-on, but in this instance, I'm going to use it as a provisional cast-on, and go back and finish the edge later. I start by using the Crochet Cast-0n with waste yarn. Next, I start knitting right from my cast-on with my project yarn, but leave a very, very long tail. I measured it as three to four times the width of my piece, and tied it into a little bundle to keep it out of my way.

Now I knit a good few inches with the project yarn according to my pattern. When I have enough fabric to hang on to and work with easily, I am ready to go back and finish my edge off properly. Likewise, I could also wait until I finish knitting my piece entirely, and then go back and fix up the cast-on edge. It doesn't matter. It's just easier to work when you have a couple of inches of fabric knitted.

With a needle that is one size smaller than my project needle, on the bottom of my fabric, I pick up each stitch of my project yarn as it is held by the provisional cast-on (PCO). I like to start getting my PCO unraveled so that I can unravel the PCO stitches at the same time as I pick up the project yarn stitches from the PCO.

In essence, I am turning my project upside down, and getting ready to knit from the opposite (beginning) edge.

Once I have all of my cast-on edge stitches on a needle, I check to make sure that all of the stitches have the legs oriented to suit the way that I knit. For most of us, that means that the right leg of the stitch is on the front of the needle, the left leg is in back.

Now, remember that big bundle of yarn I left when I started knitting with my project yarn? Using that bundle, I loosely bind-off all the sts on my needle at the cast-on edge ONLY.

Voila! I now have a neat edge that looks like a crochet cast-on, but is really a cast-off!

I was pretty certain that I had already done a video on how to do the crochet cast-on, but checking my account on YouTube, I find that I'm wrong. I'll demo that for you asap!

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