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Crochet Provisional Cast-On 2 Ways

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From time to time, you'll come across a knitting pattern requiring a provisional cast on. This is very common for infinity cowls which are worked flat and then seamed together, for example. By grafting the live stitches from both ends together, the knitter is able to create a nearly invisible join rather than seaming the cast-on and bound-off edges, which often produces a bulky or visible seam. This technique can also be used in other projects, such as sideways-knit hats, toe-up socks, or unique sweater constructions. Today, we'll show you two ways to create an easy-to-remove provisional cast on using the crochet cast-on method.


Supplies
You'll need your working yarn and knitting needles, some scrap yarn (enough for your provisional cast-on), and a crochet hook that is similar in size or slightly larger than the knitting needles you'll be using.

Method #1: Picking Up Stitches from a Chain

Step 1: With waste yarn, make a slip knot and slide onto your crochet hook.


Step 2: Wrap the working end of your yarn around the hook from front to back (as shown below) and pull this loop through the slip knot to create your first chain stitch.


Step 3: Continue wrapping the yarn around the hook from front to back and pulling the loop through the stitch on the hook to create chain stitches. You will need to chain the number of stitches needed for your cast on PLUS a few extras (about 5-10 additional chain stitches will work). Cut yarn and pull through the final loop to secure.

Step 4: You will now be using your working yarn to pick up stitches from the chain you've created. The top of your chain will look similar to a bound off edge; you will need to flip the chain over - the bumps on the bottom of the chain (where the yellow arrows are pointing in the image below) are where you will inserting your needle to pick up each stitch.

With your working yarn and needle and beginning at the slip knot that started the chain, insert needle from front to back, wrap the yarn around the needle as you would do when picking up stitches from a knit fabric, and pull the loop through the chain stitch bump to create a stitch on your knitting needle. Leave this stitch on the needle and repeat the process until you have picked up the required number of stitches.


Step 5: You can now begin knitting with your working yarn (either in the round or flat) to follow your pattern instructions. When it is time to unzip the provisional cast-on, you will begin at the extra stitches at the end of the chain (if you were wondering, the extra stitches make it easier for you to find later on!). Simply take the yarn end and pull it the opposite way through the final loop - you should now be able to quickly and easily "unzip" the provisional yarn, allowing you to move these live stitches onto a knitting needle to be worked according the pattern instructions.


Method #2: On-Needle Method

Step 1: With waste yarn, make a slip knot and slide onto your crochet hook (see image for Step 1 above).

Step 2: Arrange your knitting needle and crochet hook in your left hand as pictured below (they should be parallel).

Step 3: Secure the stitch on the crochet hook while you wrap the working yarn around the back of the knitting needle, bringing it over the needle and to the front of the crochet hook.



Step 4: Pull the working yarn through the stitch on the crochet hook.


Step 5: Repeat Steps 3 & 4 until you have 1 stitch less than the total number of desired stitches on your needle.

Step 6: Transfer the stitch that is on your crochet hook to the knitting needle.

Step 7: You can now begin knitting with your working yarn (either in the round or flat) to follow your pattern instructions. When it is time to unzip the provisional cast-on, you will need to begin at the end with the slip knot to begin unraveling your provisional cast-on. This is sometimes a little tricky to get started, but if you think of it as though you were trying to untangle a knot, that can be helpful!


Bonus: This method can also be used as a regular cast-on method, using only your working yarn. Although it is not as stretchy as some cast-on methods, it requires less yarn than some methods, and it also more closely resembles the bound-off edge.

We hope you found this tutorial helpful for your next project - and if you like this post, be sure to share it on Pinterest!

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