Cast On

I went to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival this weekend. I found these guys snuggling despite the 98 degree weather.

Since I was out fondling fibers I didn’t get much done on my sweater. Actually I had two false starts before being satisfied with my gauge. I was trying to knit loosely but found that cotton yarn shows all flaws and the stitches were not looking uniform.

Like every other pattern out on the market, this one doesn’t mention what cast on to do. I checked a few sources and finally decided to use a regular long tail cast on for the knit stitches and a backwards version for the purl stitches. This produces a very stretchy edge.

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Most knitting books don’t seem to mention the purl long tail cast on and I didn’t find a good reference on the web. The best written reference on this technique is in “The Principles of Knitting” by June Hemmons Hiatt. Here’s a description in my own words.

This cast on is started like the regular one. Put a slip knot in the yarn and place the loop on the needle. Place one strand of yarn around the index finger and the other strand around the thumb with the palm facing forward (The strands are wound around the finger and thumb from the palm). Once the yarn is in place, pick up the strand of yarn on the far side of the index finger, pulling it up and over the other one on the same finger and towards the first strand around the thumb (closest to the palm). This action will make the yarn around the index finger cross, forming a loop around the index finger. Once the needle is past the first strand on the thumb, dip under this strand to hook it on the needle. The thumb strand will be looped on the needle from back to front. Pull the needle back towards the index finger slipping it between the loop around the index finger. Once the needle is through the loop, slip the loop off the index finger and tighten the stitch by tugging on the loose ends.

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