Doing It Wrong: How to Work a Provisional (And Not-So-Provisional) Crochet Cast On!
Welcome to a new (potential) series of knitting technique posts, where I’ll attempt to explain how to do things wrong! Or rather, I’ll show how to do some things, and how to do some things I do a little strangely because I’m self-taught at all these fiber arts things, and some of my methods have evolved a little differently.
Today’s post is about crochet cast on methods, because I’m preoccupied with knitted hems and with crochet finishing. You’ll need to know a little bit about crochet, at least enough to work a chain. The way I work a provisional crochet-chain cast on is pretty standard, but the way I work a simple crochet cast-on is a little different than most of the google results you’ll see; the photos below will demonstrate both versions of the latter technique.*
Provisional Crochet Cast On. This one is only temporary, but it sets up some really nice edgings; my favorite right now is a knit-in hem.
Make a crochet chain–a little longer than you need, so if you have a 120-stitch cast on, for example, you’d want to chain ~130 stitches. A smooth, mercerized cotton thread (this isn’t one) in a weight similar to what you’ll be knitting with is best.
Once your chain is finished, pick up your cast on stitches in the bumps on the reverse of the crochet chain.
Continue this until you’ve got all your cast on stitches on the needle.
For a knit hem, you’ll knit the required number of rounds in your pattern, and then place your foundation row stitches (the ones in the photo above) on a second needle. After unzipping the provisional chain, you then knit each main stitch together with its foundation stitch until all the foundation stitches are consumed, and you’re left with a very neat hem. If that’s hard to picture, I’ll do a more in-depth photo tutorial on that as well, later on.
For a traditional crochet cast on, you apparently work stitches right over the knitting needle. One benefit of this, in my opinion, is that you may be able to see and count your stitches more easily.
Mouse Army Crochet Cast On. This is essentially the basic crochet cast on with an added foundation row–it’s very much like the provisional version.
For a crochet cast-on the way I do it, work a crochet chain. The number of stitches is the number of stitches for your cast on row minus one, since the last live stitch adds one to the row. So if your cast on edge is 35 stitches, you’ll make a loop, chain 34, place the last, live stitch on the needle, turn work, and pick up 34 stitches from the same bumps you’d use in a provisional crochet cast on, for a resulting total of 35 stitches.
Keep picking up stitches until you’ve worked the entire chain. Check to be sure your stitch counts are correct–for me, going from crochet-chain counts to knitting stitches can be a little weird. Here’s what it looks like with all the stitches picked up–a 35-stitch cast on row. (Please forgive the squiggly needle. It’s new.)
Now you’re ready to turn your work, and start knitting flat, or join and knit in the round, depending on your project.
*Or my version, plus my unfamiliarity with the standard version. That is the first time I’ve attempted it.