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Eating My Words Again

This was the stunner from camp. Things I believed carved in stone were wrong, or were creating twists that I did not intend. So I have to eat some words. Again.

First, the e-loop cast on, the most basic thing in knitting. This is the first cast on I learned. It is the first cast on millions of us learned. I hated it. I would not teach it (thank goodness). Knitting the first row of this cast on was impossible. Then Sally showed me why I felt this way. Duh, I’ve been doing it backwards MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!

I can try to blame my first teacher or a yarn conspiracy or global warming, but surely I should have noticed. Especially ten years ago when Sally first told me how often she uses it. Check it out in your reference book if you wish. The stitch should open nicely to accept your needle as you knit. If it is a struggle, you may have twisted the stitch causing it to sit backwards on your needle.

My entire life!

I’ve said cast on with a larger needle many times. Then I do it with a long tail cast on. Physics for Knitters will show you that this doesn’t really work. Check out the two tails. If you, correctly, have the unattached tail in front, you will see that it never even comes in contact with that larger needle. And it is the unattached tail that forms the cast on. All this does is create a loose first row. Remember that a long tail cast on equals the cast on plus the first row of knitting.

If you cast on too tightly, use a larger needle but also use a cable cast on.

The crochet cast on is my favorite. It is fast to do, uses only one strand, and looks just like the cast off row. But I’ve managed to put a twist in that. I scoop the yarn with the hook from under the yarn and then finish the chain. That scoop direction twists the st. It is pretty, if that is what you want, but it does not EXACTLY match the bind off.

To do a crochet cast on perfectly, go to The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville. Great photos and clear instructions. Or if you live in Charlotte, just ask me to show you.

Finally, my ssk adaptation. I don’t use an ssk often; I just like the old fashion SKP better. But when I do use it, I slip the first st as if to knit, then I put it back on the left needle and k2tog through the back loops. It is quick and easy. BUT the second st is twisted. It lies behind the first st, so you really have to look for it, and my loose knitting can use some tightening, so I will continue to do this. What I won’t do is teach it.

Some of this is just more fiddly to think about than Jane the Knitter cares about. My standards are not that high. Jane the Teacher needs to know these things. Do you?

My entire life!

More later–


One Response

  1. Here’s my ravelry post of last year, discussing one of my verrrry favorite elastic cast ons. While different projects will sometimes require a different one, this translates well to thicker yarns and lace yarns. As with all long tail cast ons, this is a first knitted row, so if you’re doing stockinette, your first row after casting on would look best purled.

    This method of doing the long tail cast on produces a very very stretchy edge: I like it for lace where the body often is more stretchy than the foundation row.

    The manner in which the two strands interlace are exactly the same as long tail cast on. Only difference is that you use two needles but NOT held together as one big fat needle.

    Start with two needles of different sizes both larger than what you plan to use. Say your project calls for size 7 needles, use one size 11 and one size 9. Then go to the video tape:

    The upper needle will keep the loops incorporated into your first row nice and loose. What is special though is that the lower needle keeps you from cinching each cast-on stitch too tight. I think that cinching the bottoms of the cast-on stitches is what makes those foundation stitches always too tight even when you go up several sizes.

    The only other alternative is to do a provisional cast on with a nice long length of working yarn wrapped onto a bobbin at the beginning, work your project and then bind off as loosely as the finished project requires.


    I should add that I discovered just recently that you should do this cast on with (2 different sized) flexible circular needles, and then, if you can stand it , keep the lower loops on the smaller needle for the first two rows of your knitting, before sliding it out. It keeps you from overstretching one gap between stitches and inadvertently tightening the next one.

    Makes an absolutely beautiful, elastic cast on.

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