Confused with provisional cast-on and cable stitch

I just started knitting a hat but havnt gotten very far before becoming very confused by a few instructions in the pattern. I was hoping someone would be able to help me out.

First place I got confused: The pattern explains a provisional cast on like this

“Provisional Cast-On: Using K crochet hook and contrasting color bulky yarn, ch 16. Fasten off. Cast on by picking up and knitting one st in bump on back of each chain.
The last st on every row is slipped with yarn in front (wyif).”

but goes on to say "Using provisional cast-on, cast on 12 sts."
This didnt make sense to me at all.

Also “4: K4, cable on next 4 sts, K3, sl 1.”… what does it mean to cable on the next 4 stiches?

If you can help at all it would be much appreciated!

When using that type of provisional cast-on, it’s better to chain more than what you’ll need. I did it once without adding extra, and believe me it was impossible to get 12 sts out of a chain of 12.

For the cable, you will just work your cable over the next 4 sts. I don’t have the cable st they want you to do, but as an example ONLY, you: k4, slip 2 sts to cable needle and hold to back of work, k2, slip 2 sts from cable needle back to left needle and knit, k3, sl 1,…etc. Depending on the cable st they want you to do, you might have to hold to front of work, you might have to purl some.

Check out the Video Page here - there’s a vidio of the provisional cast on that may help you understand it better, though in this video Amy is doing it w/out the crochet chain to start. You could google ‘crochet chain provisional cast on’ and find some Youtube vids of this method.

Somewhere in the directions, it should tell you what them mean when they say cable 4 stitches.

Is the pattern somewhere on-line where we can see it?

This is the pattern.

http://www.straw.com/cpy/patterns/iceland-hat-sidecable.html

The cable is C4L. Put the first 2 sts, of the 4, on cable ndl and hold to front. Work the next 2 sts, then the 2 from the cable ndl.

Agree with mirl as to finding Prov CO that you like. I oft times use the LTCO as it works up to even tension and is quick for me. It’s just a bit more cumbersome come time to remove it as it takes a bit of snipping.