Five for Friday: Cool Cast Ons

Just when I thought the startitis around here was ebbing, I found out about a new baby I get to knit for. I’ll be posting this weekend and next week about some baby gift knitting. In the meantime, starting all these projects has led me deep into the bowels of Google (and my bookmark collection) for some interesting new ways to cast on for projects. One of the things I love about knitting is that even if you have been doing it for years, you can still constantly learn cool new tricks. Here are five interesting cast on techniques that you might not have tried yet.

1. Disappearing Loop for casting on in the middle, via TECHknitting

This tutorial explains how to cast on in the middle of a row of stitches without a bulky slip knot, crochet stitches, or having to graft. This would be perfect for a triangular lace shawl worked from the wide part to the point (such as Icarus). Wish I had found this one sooner!

2. Tubular Cast On for neat edge, via My Fashionable Life

This cast on makes an interesting rolled under edge. It looks good in ribbing and work well for sweaters or other apparel with ribbed edges (hats? mittens?).  The technique involves casting on with waste yarn.

3. Waste Yarn Provisional Cast On for live stitches on both sides, via Knitty

This article from a back issue of Knitty shows you how to work three cast ons: provisional, backward loop, and tubular. I chose this article for the clear instructions of my favorite (so far, at least) provisional cast on.  The purpose of these is so that you can have live stitches on both sides of the cast on. This is useful if you are making a symmetrical scarf or stole, starting in the middle. It is also useful for working hemmed garments. I find this waste yarn way much much easier than the versions that involve crochet.  However, if you want to try the crochet way, check out this clear tutorial from the Purl Bee.

4. I-cord Cast On for corded edge, via Whimsical Knitting Designs

This method would work for any project that you would like to have a corded edge.  I think it would be really interesting to use this on a Chanel-type jacket and finish the whole thing with I cord, perhaps in a contrasting color. It might also help make a neat edge for a blanket, pillow or dishcloth project.

5. Old Norwegian Cast On, aka Twisted German Cast On, via Knitting Daily and You Tube

This method is my all time favorite and old standby.  I learned this as a child, which is probably why I think it is easy. Most adults who I have taught to knit have found it tricky.  If this is new to you, I highly recommend sticking to the tutorials long enough to master it. It makes a neat, somewhat elastic edge for everything and it doesn’t have any of the short-comings of the most commonly used cast on methods (I am thinking of having to measure out enough yarn in advance and that annoying long gap between the stitches with long tail and backward loop).  If the video linked in the heading doesn’t quite work for you, try the written directions at Knitting Daily or this Lucy Neatby video.  It’s worth it!

If you have additional suggestions about casting on, don’t be shy! Post to the comments!

Five for Friday is a series of posts that feature lists of my top five favorite fiber-related items in a specific category.


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