Close up of a burnt yellow cowl, elliptical sections of dropped stitches on a stocking stich background.

How to: Provisional cast on

Have you ever wondered how to do a provisional cast on? Once you get in to the swing of things it is actually very soothing. I used this cast on for my Spring Dawn cowl and the end result is simply amazing. This knitted method doesn’t require the use of a crochet hook, all you need is some waste yarn and your knitting needle. If you are familiar with the German Twisted/ Old Norwegian cast on then the method for holding the yarn will be familiar to you. If this cast on is new to you or you haven’t used it for a while, then I hope you will find this tutorial useful.

Provisional cast on. Holding yarn across thumb and waste yarn over fore finger.

1. Using a piece of waste yarn, knot together with your working yarn and hold in a similar way to the German Twisted Cast On. Hold the waste yarn over your forefinger and working yarn over your thumb.  I have used a piece of cotton as my waste yarn to prevent any felting.

Provisional cast on. Working yarn wrapped over and under needle.

2. Holding the needle tip in between to the two pieces of yarn, pass the needle under then over the working yarn.

Provisional cast on. Creating second stitch by passing right needle around waste yarn.

3. Bring the needle over then under the waste yarn.

Provisional cast on. Creating second stitch by wrapping working yarn around right needle.

4. Pass the needle under then over the working yarn.

Provisional cast on. First two stitches on the needle.

5. Then bring the needle under the waste yarn to finish.  Repeat instructions 2-5 until you have the required number of stitches.

N.B You will be casting on 2 stitches every time.  If you need an odd number of stitches, drop the last stitch you cast on off the needle.

Provisional cast on. Insert right needle as normal. Make sure to wrap working yarn around waste yarn.

6. To knit the first stitch, insert the right hand needle from front to back as normal and bring the working yarn under the waste yarn to knit.

N.B. If you have an odd number of stitches you will need to wrap the yarn over then under the waste yarn.

Provisional cast on. Picking up stitches.

7.  Once you are ready to pick up the stitches from the cast on edge, simply slip your spare needle through the stitches on the waste yarn.  Once all the stitches are on the needle you can pull out the waste yarn and you are ready to re-join your yarn and knit.

I found chanting ‘under, over, over, under, under, over, under’ helped to get in to a rhythm with the cast on. Though you may get some funny looks saying it out loud in a public place!

You can find all my video tutorials on my YouTube Channel


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