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Casting on Techniques

20 Jun 2022

A ball of yarn with a sleeve partially knitted
Why use a German Twisted Cast-on instead of Long-tail?
What’s a Provisional Cast-on and when would you use it?
What is a Garter Tab Cast-on?
How do you create a beautiful I-Cord Cast-on and why?

Let’s start with the German Twisted or Old Norwegian Cast-on.  It adds a subtle touch of elegance to the basic long tail.  A little flick of the fingers creates a very pretty edge. It looks good on both sides and has more stretch than simple long tail.  I especially like it for hats and socks where a bit of stretch is desired.  It’s pretty if the piece your knitting will be seen from both sides or if you tend to cast on tightly.
Close up of a knitting needle and crochet hook casting on

What if you want the neck and hem of your sweater to look the same? Or you want both ends of your scarf to match? Provisional is the only way to go. There are different ways of making a Provisional Cast-on, but I tend to stick with two of the crocheted versions. They each require a crochet hook and throw away slippery yarn. One is easier to remember, the other is quicker, but both are useful to know.

You’ve been wanting to cast on a crescent-shaped shawl but it calls for a Garter Tab Cast-on and reading the directions sounds very confusing. Visual it first. These first couple of mini-rows are recreating the matching garter stitch border that the rest of the piece has. The actual pattern won’t start until AFTER the garter tab. Think about it sideways – you’re knitting the horizontal edge piece for the center of your shawl with live stitches on three sides.
Close up of a knitting needle with blue yarn casting on
Close up of a knitting needle with pink yarn casting on

An I-cord Cast-on creates a very professional and finished looking edge to any project. If you desire something unusual with a firm beginning for your project, then this is perfect. It’s not quick nor is it stretchy. Imagine it as the top edge of a purse, the brim of a hat, or the matching cast on to a blanket with a built-in I-cord edging. If you’re planning to knit a long sweater you might want to use this cast on to give it stability.
Our Cast-On Camp is a two-day clinic for those who know how to knit but aren’t sure why or how to cast-on other than by using a basic knitted-on or long tail version. Come learn how to use 5 different techniques and why. Contact us for more info!

Brenda Hedstrom


  • Tue - Thur 11am -5pm
  • Friday 11am - 4pm
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  • Closed Sunday and Monday

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