Joining yarn at divided neck and casting on for facing

Hello dear people,

I’m super new to knitting and am working on my first project at the moment - this 1940s sweater from Subversive Femme. It has been a (fun) learning curve! Currently working on the front. I’m about to start the 2nd part of the divided neck, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to continue. The following part is giving me trouble:

“Work right side. Join wool at centre-front edge of remaining sts., cast on 18 for facing.”

First off, I’ve never joined yarn without using an existing tail before, and this current piece has no tail (that’s all the way up on the already finished side of the neck). How do I join yarn at the centre-front edge and instantly cast on 18 stitches? And is there any particular technique I should use to cast on here?

On a smaller note, the sentence directly after: “1st row. – Work 27 in st. 2, work to end.” St. 2 is stockinette, which is fine, but does “work to end” mean I should just follow what I have on my needle right now, and rib the ribbing and stockinette the stockinette parts?

Thanks in advance!

Hi Alyssa and welcome. You’ve found a great forum. So your first question… you’re going to join the yarn (same as if you were joining a new ball). There are a couple of methods for casting on in a situation like thus but the most common way is the backwards loop. See this video:

Second question… Yes. After casting on the 18 stitches, you’ll work the first 27 in stockinette and then work the remainder in st 1 (the k1, p2 ribbing) pattern already established.
Very brave of you to take on a garment as your first project! :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you for the help!

Ok, so everything makes sense except for the joining the yarn bit. I don’t have a tail / bit of yarn on the part of the work where the pattern tells me to join the new yarn, so I have nothing to connect the new yarn to, if that makes sense. Can I join yarn simply onto an existing knit or purl stitch somehow?

(Maybe I messed up a bit earlier in this pattern by not leaving a tail on the holder when the pattern told me to divide for the neck & start working on half of the neck, which I have now finished. I’m not sure). I saw some videos that have you join new yarn by simply knitting with it, but the problem here is that the pattern tells me to instantly cast on 18 new stitches, and I don’t know how to join yarn & cast on at the same time.

You haven’t done anything wrong. This is very normal to work one side and leave the other then come back to work the second side and you will need to re join the yarn.

Sounds like you are used to tying a knot. Knots are not often used by knitters as they can poke through the sweater after finishing and look messy (they start at the back but the yarn can wriggle and move).
Instead a common way is to literally put your needle into the first stitch you need to work and, using your new yarn ball, wrap around the needle exactly like you always do for the first stitch. If the pattern states knit or purl do that. Whilst doing this the new yarn tail will be very loose, you need to leave it about 6 inches long so that to begin with you can hold it behind the fabric securely to enable you to make the first stitch or two. Later you come back to this tail and weave it in and it will not come undone.
For the beginning part these first few stitches will be a bit loose but you can pull on the tail a bit to snug them up.
On your return row you will find those first couple of stitches are loose again, snug them up and knit or purl as usual. After 2 rows the tail isn’t going to go anywhere it will just wait for you to weave it in later.

Here’s quite big video about joining yarn as there are so many ways. The first method shown may be what you normally do. The second method is what I have described (but he is joining where the previous ball ran out, you are rejoining where you have no previous ball) and there are other methods too.

There is also a technique called weaving in the ends as you knit which secures that tail right away and avoids having to weave in later. It might be too much to think about for now or you might want to try that too.

Hope this helps.
Do say if you need help. There’s always help here it’s great.

Hello! Thank you for the reassurance and for taking the time to write such a detailed response!

I’m actually used to joining yarn by using the Russian join method, combined with a little bit of spit-rub (whatever that’s called, I found it on Youtube haha) to solidify that even further. I found tutorials for simply knitting in new yarn, too, except my problem is that my pattern doesn’t seem to leave room to knit the new yarn in.

If I read this correctly: Join wool at centre-front edge of remaining sts., cast on 18 for facing.”
It seems that I wouldn’t be able to knit in the new yarn, because it wants me to go straight to casting on the 18 stitches for the facing. Or am I reading this wrong and should I just knit the first two rows to join the new yarn, and only then cast on the 18 stitches?

Sorry for all the questions! Thanks in advance!

I’m just coming back to add.
If you are joining the yarn and casting in right away before knitting anything it might be easier to use a knit cast on.
You would have the stitches on the needles in the left hand, hold new yarn tail firmly behind left hand where the fabric is, place right the needle into the first stitch as if to knit, wrap yarn around right needle as normal and bring through the stitch. Then instead of letting the old stitch drop off the left needle, you bring the new stitch from the right needle onto the left needle, producing one new stitch.
There is a half twist as you move the stitch from right to left which you will see in a video.
That’s one stitch. Go into the new stitch to create the second stitch, again li,e a knit but instead of dropping off you keep the old stitch and add on the new one.
I’ll find a video.
It’s not that the other method is wrong, it’s only that I would personally find this way easier and perhaps you will top. There are always various options in knitting.

Here’s a video for the knit cast on. Many of them don’t show the little twist that happens which I mentioned and instead show the stitch transfere purl wise which I don’t do. This video shows the stitch getting the half twist as it is mounted knit wise onto the left needle.

No you’re not reading it wrong. I think you are reading correctly. You need these new stitches. That’s why I had a think about how I’d do it and I would add the new yarn into the first stitch to create the new cast on stitch.
This will join the yarn ball (albeit loose) and created the stitches. When you turn and knock across give the tail a tug to snug it up. It doesn’t need to be really tight, just make it the same size as your other stitches.

You could actually pick up the yarn tail on your reverse row as you get to it and weave it in as you knit. Sometimes thjsmis great as it save having to do later, but some yarns can distort the tension a bit this way. I sometimes use it and sometimes don’t.
I joined as the neck for my second side today and wove the tail in whilst working a lace pattern because I know I would struggle to find a place to weave it in later with it being behind lace.

Sorry about the typos my messages are always so hard to decipher as I do check but my tablet changes everything!

On the video there is a slip knot to start. Just imagine this is your row of stitches that you have ready for your second side.

Here’s a tutorial for 3 ways to cast on. Ordinarily I wouldn’t recommend the backward or thumb loop but since this is part of the facing it may be that a less structured cast on is fine. Alternatively a knit cast on is always good.

Since your yarn isn’t attached, you can start by holding the yarn tail in your hand alongside the needle and just beginning the cast on. After a few sts are cast on, drop the tail and use it later to snug up the sts and weave in. Subsequent rows will secure the join.

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Yessss that did it! I got it now. Thank you so much Creations & salmonmac. I ended up going with the knitted cast on from the video you linked, Creations, and joining it by using the left-most existing stitch as the ‘slip-knot’. That makes so much sense. I was probably overthinking it, haha. I’ve left the tail for now because I haven’t tried weaving in anything yet so I figured I’ll learn that new skill a little later.

What a lovely introduction into this community. Thanks again for the help!


Glad you have got past the tricky bit.
Hope the rest goes well for you (but if not, just ask, I do!)

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This isn’t an easy pattern to work out by it’s very nature and the fact that it’s a vintage pattern. I only see one project posted on Ravelry.
Good for you for forging ahead. I hope we get to see a photo when you finish!

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Ha yeah, I figured it wouldn’t be an easy pattern to take on as my very first project, but as my ultimate goal in learning knitting is to knit 1940s style sweaters I figured I might as well jump in the deep end. :grin:

I actually came across this sweater via an Instagram post. The person who runs the website I linked in my first post, which contains the pattern, shared a picture of someone who had completed the sweater. I instantly fell in love and wanted to learn how to knit myself so I could make it, too, haha. (here is the IG post if you guys are curious – I will definitely also share a picture of my finished garment once it is done!)

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That’s a very nice modern take on the pattern fit. Thanks for the IG link.

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Ooh, very nice. I can see why you were inspired to make one for yourself. What colour are you using?

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Totally understand the reason behind choosing to go directly for this style. I believe we all learn better when we have motivation. Although there will be lots of new things to learn it will be so valuable learning them.
I always want to make something I can’t buy and even the patterns I use I tend to change a bit in an attempt to make them more personal.

It will be great to see your finished version.
Don’t forget to add some of your own notes to the pattern in case you make another at a later stage. It’s handy to have a reminder about how you did each bit.

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I’m using a colour very similar to the one in the Instagram post I linked! I think the blue/grey vibe will go great with most of my clothes and be really versatile (and it is simply gorgeous, anyway).

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Great tip about adding notes to the pattern! I hadn’t thought about doing that beyond keeping track of which step I’m at / drawing some simple, scuffed diagrams in Paint whenever I needed help visualising or keeping track or something more complex, haha.

And yes, I took my very first knitting steps by making a few inches of a scarf, but soon got bored and came to that exact conclusion – learning is much more fun and goes much quicker when you’re actually motivated! – and went to buy the supplies for this project instead.


may I ask how many balls of wall you are using as id like to do this but am restricted to ordering yarn online so want to get it right. I will be making it for a 36 bust and using 4 ply I guess. as I think that’s what fingering weight means in UK

I wonder if this helps, a project from ravelry where it says what yarn and how much was used

Take into account balls come in different lengths so 4 balls of one yarn type isn’t the same as 4 balls of another. If you work out how many meters or yards are needed you can then work out how many balls of your chosen yarn you need, based on how many meters are in each ball of that yarn.

You might already know this site, it has helped me to find out how many meters are in a ball.