Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lighter, Faster, Easier

 At Tuesday night knitting, as I frogged a thousand odd cast on stitches, Liz—quite rightfully asked- You know a mess of cast ons, and you did the wrong one?

Yes—Knowing (about, and how to do) a cast on doesn't always mean that you know the right cast on for a project. Sometimes you need to swatch, and sometimes you need to rethink.

My problem was I KNEW the effect I wanted, and I got it into my head to with the wrong words.

Do you know what I mean? Sometimes I will say KNIT—when what I really mean is WORK THE STITCHES (as appropriate—i.e., Knit the ribbing (or rather work K1, P1 for X inches)

But sometimes, new knitters hear KNIT –and think, OK, and knit. (every stitch, every row).. and wonder why their project doesn't look right. But I fell into the same trap!

I had an edging that I thought of as cast on X, bind off Y—and I did that--a kind of picot cast on edge.  As I proceeded, I liked the results less and less. I disliked the heaviness of the cast on edge --binding off made a double thick edge at places. I also found it tedious to do--not helped by a cold weather split in my thumb finger nail that was right down to the quick—and made it uncomfortable to pick up and bind off the stitches. Using a needle tip would have been just as awkward.

It was slow going, and I was making all this effort to create an edge, I really didn't like!

I experimented—and tried using a crochet hook—it helped a bit—it was a bit easier, and a bit faster, but the edge was just as heavy. The solution came to me as I headed for bed... Not quite a dream—but in those last fleeting moments of consciousness. (That was Monday night.) So Tuesday I frogged, and yesterday I started again. By last night, I had completed the cast on, and row 1. This morning, row 2 (an easy row—purl every stitch). Row 3 is done now, too.  Row 4 is another easy all purl row. Row 5 will be a decrease row--(the count is now 732, and by the end of row 5, 552) and the end of the edging—well almost the end—there will be a simple set of beading* before the beginning of the shawl pattern and decreases

*By beading—I mean a lace pattern--
R1—purl (on right side)
R2--K2tog, YO (repeat)

Which will bring the border up to a total of 8 rows. A nice little edging. Then placing markers, the plan will be a slightly modified triangle shawl—4 decreases every right side row, until there are just a half dozen stitches of the border left and they will be grafted together.

The new cast on edge uses a crochet cast on—well a finger crochet—no hook involved. I don't think there is a person in the world who doesn't know how to make a simple chain using their fingers—and this simple chain can be worked as a cast on edge, too. Its fast, it's easy and it was the perfect choice for my edge!

Here is the prototype (top of image) —pretty but the lower edge is a bit heavy-below  is the new edge (it's changed again—so the lace looks different)  The new edge hasn't been blocked—so it doesn't look as good—but clearly, the bottom edge of the lower edging  is lighter, and lacier, (and easier and faster!)

I made a video of the finger loopcrochet cast on—If you are not a fan of working with a crochet hook (or don't own an array of crochet hooks), you can still make a nice crochet cast on edge—just using your fingers.

PS—my most popular video—The Italian method (of a tubular cast on) is edging up—97,000 hits!
I better get cracking and get some kits together as prizes for when it hits 100,000—its coming soon.


Kathleen J. said...

This post lead me to explore more of your videos. I definitely want to try the Channel Island cast on. I think it would be great for baby hats.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm having the devil's own time with my knitting, but it's a teeny tiny project. I cannot imagine having to frog over a thousand stitches because of a cast on that wasn't suited. Best wishes in everything darlin'.