Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

Provisional Crochet Cast On July 10, 2009

Filed under: Knitting tips and hints — happystitches @ 21:40

The most incredibly useful technique for the blossoming knitter is the Provisional Crochet Cast On.

This method gives a temporary cast-on edge which may be easily removed later to leave live loops (which may be used as stitches).

The method most often given in knitting books and magazines is to make a very loose single crochet chain in your temporary yarn and then to knit with your working yarn through the back of each crochet chain in turn.  This the shortest route cut to the funny farm IMHO!

I reckon you have about a 1/3 chance of finding the back of the crochet chain, it is tricky to identify, especially 73 times in succession.  One mis-identified  ‘back of chain’ will result in a jam.  So try this method instead, it works beautifully…….


With a Temporary yarn (brightly contrasting to the Main colour), make a slip knot near the end.  Place the crochet hook through the slipknot.  Position the knitting needle, to the left of the hook and on top of the provisional yarn leading to the ball.

*Reach across the needle with the crochet hook  and catch the yarn with the hook, bring  a loop of yarn through the slip knot to create both a new crochet chain loop and form a ‘stitch’ on the needle.   Flip the yarn leading to the ball back behind the needle and repeat from *.  When you have the required number of stitches on the needle, make a couple of extra chain loops (not around the needle) before cutting off the yarn and pulling the tail through the loop to secure it.  This is the end from which the cast-on edge will be unravelled.


The other piece of missing advice is ALWAYS to work one plain row or round in your main yarn (NO working ‘through back loops’, knit/purl or two-colour patterns just yet).  Remember when you remove the edge your new stitches will be half a stitch out of alignment with the originals and when dealing with FLAT knitting there will be one stitch less that you originally had.  Round knitting will maintain the same number of stitches.

This is all filmed on DVD Essentials 2 and Socks 2, and the Origami Bag is a great design on which to practise this technique !


2 Responses to “Provisional Crochet Cast On”

  1. Sandee Says:

    Thank you Lucy. What great directions. I recently did a project that required a provisional cast on and you are correct about now always hitting the right loop to pull your yarn through when using a traditional crochet chain start. (Ask me how I know!)

    I met you briefly when you gave a talk in Seattle, WA USA last winter. It was an inspirational evening. I’ve enjoyed the patterns I bought that night.

    Have a wonderful rest of the summer!

  2. Betsy Says:

    Thank you for teaching this old dog a new trick! I’ve been knitting for 40 years or so and never been happy with my provisional cast ons…I’ve done your version twice since I discovered the YouTube video and I am pleased as punch…thanks again!

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