Provisional Cast On Tutorial

We’ve been having a lot of fun teaching our Happy Hour classes every week and one thing we’ve noticed, Sandy Kay and I, is that there are so many ways to do different techniques that you can always learn something new (especially from one another!). For instance, the way Sandy Kay and I perform a Provisional Cast On is completely different from what you’ll find on or Knitty.

Since so many of our customers are web customers, we thought it would be a good idea to create a tutorial once a week (or so, permitting) to share the many tips and tricks we’ve discovered. This week we’re going to show you our own unique method for Provisionally Casting On.

A Provisional Cast On is used when the cast on edge will later be picked up or worked again, such as in the Ruffled & Ruched Scarf. As I was just about to start such a scarf (for a friend), Sandy Kay and I took the opportunity to shoot this tutorial.

When working a Provisional Cast On, always use a smooth and even waste yarn. Sandy Kay prefers a cotton yarns, I prefer superwash wool. The yarn shown is Cascade 220 Superwash. The main (or “working”) yarn is Shibui Baby Alpaca DK.  The tutorial is embedded as a slideshow below.  If you would like to see each individual image, check out our Provisional Cast On set on Flickr.

Note: our method is a variation of the traditional Long-Tail, or left-handed, Cast On.

Text Instructions (each step has a corresponding photo):

  1. Using both yarns held together, make a slip knot.
  2. Place the slip knot on the right knitting needle.
  3. Using thumb and forefinger, tighten slip knot.
  4. Place working yarn over forefinger and waste yarn over thumb.  
  5. Using the waste yarn as the “tail”, twist waste yarn with thumb and place over the right needle.  Continue to hold the loop in place with thumb.
  6. Using the right needle, catch the working yarn and pull it through the waste yarn loop.
  7. Using thumb, pull waste yarn loop up and over working yarn.
  8. Drop waste yarn from the right needle.
  9. Tighten the stitch using thumb to snug the waste yarn up against the needle.
  10. Repeat from Step 5, casting on as many sts as pattern calls for.  DO NOT count the waste yarn slip st from Step 1 as a stitch.
  11. Note: when working the first row DO NOT knit the waste yarn slip knot on the first st, simply pull it off the needle at the end of the row.

Over the next couple months, we’d like to cover the following techniques:

  • Picking up a Provisional Cast On (that’s going to be really important for the next step in the scarf!)
  • Sewing handknits with a sewing machine (for Skif sweaters, etc)
  • Sewing handknits by hand – i.e. for the Thursday vest.
  • Joining new yarn the quick and easy way
  • A whole new jogless stripe method
  • Casting On in the round seamlessly
  • Stuffing a hand-knit toy without lumps

The whole point of this series is to provide knitters with new/ different methods to complete projects.  If you have a request for a tutorial, please let us know!  Leave a comment or send us an email at info(at)knit-purl(dot)com.  We’re always glad to take suggestions and would love to know that someone out there found this useful :)

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March 03, 2010 by Sara M
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