CO and picking up stitches

Hi everyone,

I’m working on a pattern for which the designer says: " CO X sts using a stretchy cast-on method like the German Twisted Cast On. Note : You will have to pick up stitches from this cast-on.".

I used a different stretchy cast-on than the one recommended because from the phrasing it seemed like I could do that (as long as the CO is a stretchy one). Now I wonder: am I asking for trouble later on when I’ll need to pick up stitches? Are there different methods to pick up stitches depending on which CO you used?

Whatever cast on you use, you’ll be picking up sts on the row just under the cast on. You want to avoid a bulky cast on but otherwise any stretchy cast on should work. You can always work this out on a small swatch.
It sounds like your pattern wants the stability of a seam formed at the cast on edge otherwise it might have suggested a provisional cast on.

What is the name of your pattern?


That’s great advice about the swatch @salmonmac !

What would you consider a bulky cast on?

The pattern is still my Ninon cardigan, the lace all-over thing. The designer actually provides 2 options: either pick up stitches OR make a provisional cast on. I went with the picking up stitches option because at least I have some experience with that (on socks) while I have 0 experience with provisional cast ons.

FYI - I already knew that I’d have a couple of false starts with this project, which has a lot of “firsts” for me.

Here’s a fuller extract of the pattern instructions:

To me, the Chinese waitress cast on is lovely but bulky. Liat Gat shows the finished cast on at about 3:00 min in the video.

A provisional is a good one to be able to do. I have to look at a video every time but it’s worth it.
Again, a swatch helps here.

You’re doing really well with this pattern. Maybe you’d prefer to learn one new thing with each pattern but that doesn’t always happen. You are going to be so experienced by the time you’ve finished this one!

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That is SO helpful, thank you!! I watched the video and it does look like the CO I’ve been using is a tad bulky. It requires twisting the yarn under each newly formed stitch, so it adds extra thickness. Glad I learned that now rather than at the very end!

I knew this would be a challenge, but I’m determined to give it a good try! I’ll make a swatch with a provisional cast on, it won’t hurt. And if it turns out to be too difficult, well, no harm done, I’ll move on to a simpler pattern :slight_smile:

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Even though I don’t know much about knitting I’ve, learned a provisional cast on and love it. I really recommend it and see you’ve decide to have a go on a swatch.

When I take my provisional out I first use a seaming needle with a different coloured yarn. For one thing it’s easier to pick the little tiny stitches up off the provisional with the much smaller needle, and second I get a life line in at the same time, just I case I want to undo some rows. When the livenstutches are in the life line they are much less trapped and looser and much easier to get onto a knitting needle.

Just thought I’d share in case you fancied trying this too.

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Also very helpful @Creations! Yes, I’ll definitely have a try as soon as I get a chance (lots of work this week). I’ve started to watch a few tutorials about provisional cast-ons and it looks like there are different methods. I’ve seen a “simple” one that looks quite straightforward (which doesn’t guarantee I’ll get it right :wink:) and one where I’d have to use a crochet hook. Not sure whether they have different purposes. My gut is to go with the simple one. Correct?

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They all have basically the same result so go with what looks like an easy one for you to follow.

I did one with a 2 needle knit cast on and another time I had then learned the long tail or thumb cast on and when watching some tutorials I saw one for thumb cast and and to me that looked the easiest and quickest for me, but purely because I understood and didn’t need to remember something different.

The thumb or longntail provisional results in the same number of stitches where as other there is one stitch less but all you do then is increase 1 somewhere on the first row (if your pattern is suggesting a provisional it perhaps accounts for this anyway with the instruction later on). The thumb method provisional takes a little more work to remove the provisional yarn, not much didn’t bother me but it might be a reason for choosing a different one.

So, yes, go with simple or what is simple for you based on current knowledge or comfort.

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Hi again!

So, I tried a provisional CO with a crochet. There too, I find that there are different techniques (still using a crochet hook) and I’m a little confused. With one technique, one simply put the last stitch of the CO on the needle when the right number of stitches is reached and start working the first row with the “project yarn”. With another technique, one creates a few extra stitches with the crochet off the needle (in the air) after reaching the right number for the CO and these extra stitches form a little chain that’s just hanging, I’m not sure why.

Which technique do you think I should use?

On the picture below, the stitches on the left side are the right number of stitches for the CO for my size. The 1 extra stitch on the right side of the marker is just for stability, until I figure out my next step!

Last question. My CO works (I think) but doesn’t look perfect. Is it important at this stage that the CO looks good? I figured, since it’s provisional, no need for perfection?


The provisional cast on is temporary. It does look lovely but remember, you’re going to pull it out and throw it away. The extra sts on the crochet chain are insurance in case you don’t pick up in every loop and they also remind you of which is the end of the chain rather than the beginning.

I like the few extra crochet chain sts just in case I need them or need the reminder.


Got it, thanks ! It does feel like I should be buying that insurance :wink:

So, do I use the same movements to create the chain, just doing it off the needles?

Yes, just keep extending the chain. You can even start a new chain and continue picking up sts from that. All that will matter in the end is the line of picked up sts, not the crochet chain.

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