Friday, March 09, 2007

My favorite and most often used cast on’s

Most often, I use long tail or a variation of long tail.

One disadvantage with long tail is knowing how long a tail to make--too short, and you have to start over, too long, and its just cumbersome and in the way.

There are several rules of thumb for gauging how long a tail to start with these include;
---Allow 1 inch (or 1/2 inch--which is it?) for each stitch
--Wrap yarn around needle 10 times, measure, this measurement is equal to 10 stitches
--Use this measurement to figure out required yardage.
--Cast on 10 stitches, measure, use this measurement, equal to 10 stitches to guesstimate.
--Use 3.5 times cast on length (i.e., if you are cast on 20 inches, tail should be 20 X 3.5 or about 70 inches of tail to start)

I use the last method, it generally works. For long cast on’s, (over 150 stitches) I use the 2 ball of yarn method--that is:
I use one ball of yarn for ‘thumb‘ and another ball of yarn for index finger. When I have finished casting on, I cut the ‘thumb‘ yarn.
It is an extra tail to weave in, but I think its worth it The tail is always the right size!
A nice variation of this, is to a use different colors of yarn for the Tail. this adds a bit of interest, and is one of the simplest variations of long tail!

Another long tail cast I like is the Norwegian (aka German, German twist cast on) this cast on requires 4 times the length for the tail (i.e., if casting on 20 inches, tail needs to be 4 X 20 or 80 inches long, The twist in the cast on makes the edge stretchier, and making the twist requires a bit more yarn to start.

I like 2 color and knit and purl long tail cast on, too.
Here, are Knit and Purl Long tail, 2 color Braided, and 2 color simple.
The 2 color braided is especially attractive, when combined, as it is here, with a braided fair isle band.

So, while I use long tail about 50% of the time, I only use a simple long tail about 10%!

Tubular cast on is my next favorite. I know 4 ways to do this:

--3 Needle--Simple cast on to start, with ½ +1 number of stitches,
--Provisional 1 --cast on ½ +1 desired number of stitches, work in stocking knit
--Provisional 2 --cast on ½ +1 desired number of stitches, R1: K1, YO method
--Italian/Kitchener Style--my current/favorites style

All of these cast ons end up looking identical once completed.. It is really just a matter of trying them out, and deciding which method works best for you! I like the Kitchener one best --it is perhaps the hardest to learn, but, it doesn’t require waste yarn, picking up stitches or any other fussiness. The clean rounded edge of tubular cast on is very attractive.
I like eyelets cast on’s too, Emily Ocker, or In the Loop.
(sorry no images!)
I use these 3 cast on’s (long tail/eyelet/tubular) or variations of them, for about 90% of my knitting.

Sometimes I combine a cast on with an edging, like the Latvian twist, or my own double picot.
Here is a simple long tail (in gold) followed by 2 rows of stockingknit in green, followed by a Latvian twist, and dark blue 2 x 2 ribbing.
The newest cast, for me, is the channel island cast on. It is both attractive and very stretchy.

Since I see no need to re-invent the wheel, tomorrow, I’ll post a page of links and list of knitting references to learn casts on, and other cast on tips.
These will include web pages, blogs and books.

Look for the (new 4/08) link to my You Tube video's in side bar too.

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