Monday, January 14, 2008

Provisional No More or A Knitting Epiphany

I woke up with a complete idea. Well almost complete, as I could see it forming and played with the idea a bit until I was thoroughly energized by it.  This does not happen to me very often and, as it was a knitting idea, I was even more excited.  However, as much as I wanted to grab needles and test it out, I needed to feed the hungry fuzzies -- Basel, Sparkles and SmokeyBlue.  Once they were satisfied and the kitchen a bit picked up I made myself a cup of Wu Yi Oolong and settled down to see if this idea would really work.

First I did some research into several of my knitting books just to check if I was reinventing a wheel or needle or something.  I could find no instructions even close to my vision so felt more excited.  OK!   Since I was working on January's Sock Hop sock I cast on using the #3's needles sitting right there and some of the Cranberry angora/merino yarn.  My first attempt was moderately successful but the stitches were too tight so I sipped tea, thought, watched the birds in the feeder and finally got another idea that might do the trick.  It did!  No longer will I need to search out the method for Provisional cast on. No longer will I need to find those stitches later and tug and tease them out of the waste yarn. YES!  A real Knitting Epiphany! "Outta sight," I said while doing a little happy dance. "Now here is a method that makes logical sense, is easy to do, remember and use."  See if you agree.

Cable Provisional Cast On

  1. Using two circular needles of the same size (or if you don't have 2, then one of the correct size and one close to it in size).  Holding the 2 needles together, cast on the needed stitches. 
  2. Slide the second needle so the stitches are now resting on its cable and the needle you will be knitting with.    (The needle with the ribbon is the second one. The one that stores the stitches until later.) At this point, if you have interchangeable needles you can take off the points and add the end caps.  If you are using regular circs then just let the second needle dangle.  
  3. Now continue knitting as the pattern instructs.
READY? This is the part that tickles me so much.
    4.    When the pattern calls for picking up the provisional stitches they will be right there, ready and waiting for you, nicely lined up on their cable. 

Notice the little ridge on the left (black arrows show these) which will actually transfer itself to be under the newly formed stitches. For socks this may be just fine as commercial socks all have a ridge line by the toes. However for a vest or something else this ridge line is definitely not acceptable. So do the following:
Take the next stitch off (orange arrow) and pick up the stitch where the white arrow is. See, it is really under and to the left of the last stitch you knit. Once that is done, the old stitch seems to just disappear, really, and there is the wanted, seamless addition happening. Look at this picture as it may be clearer to you. The black curved line I drew shows where the picked up stitch goes after the original one has been let go.

Is this cool or what?



loribird said...

YES!!! So cool! I have been failing at provisional cast ons (and therefore avoiding them) for a long while now. This makes sense. This is good. (This will work wonderfully with my new Knitpicks interchangeables!)

Know what else is cool? That you started a blog :) So glad to read you as well as spin you.

loribird said...

YES!!! So cool! I've been failing at provisional cast ons for some time now - this will work. This makes sense. (This will give me another reason to love my new Knitpicks interchangeables!)

You know what else is cool? That you started a blog :) Now I can read you *and* spin you!

Jasmin said...


I am SO using this on my next lace piece.