Pattern reading for fair isle scarf


I’m just beginning to tread into fair isle knitting and have found two patterns I would like to try: the Empire State cowl and the Pine Bough Cowl

Both patterns ask to do provisional cast on and join with the round. However, I am very confused about joining the round … Why would I join in the round if I’m using a provisional cast on? I understand fair isle is usually done in a round.

As you can tell, I’m thoroughly confused and can’t even really explain my situation. This makes reading the chart confusing as well (I am also a newbie when it comes to charts - I’ve done only 2 projects with charts and that was only cable work).

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

Here are the links to the patterns:

Beautiful patterns. When I want a provisional cast on for something worked in the round I use the crochet cast on and just cast on however many stitches I need. I work a row with the real yarn and join when I get to the end of the row; instead of turning I just start knitting in the round. I see no reason to join the provisional cast on and working one row before joining makes it easier to avoid that nasty twist.

that’s a neat trick :slight_smile:

Hi noelfisher and welcome!
Both patterns are knit in the round as tubes. This is so you won’t have a right side and a wrong side. The advantage is that all the wrong side color changes will be hidden on the inside of the tube. When you finish the tube, the working sts are grafted to the live sts from the provisional cast on to complete a circle. Think of it as a doughnut.
Both are very striking patterns with strong graphics. Here’s a good starting video for reading charts. Debbie starts with reading charts for flat knitting but at the end talks about how to read charts for knitting in the round. See if it helps.

Thank you! That makes so much sense now!

I practiced a few provisional cast ons (without crochet hook) and they come out longer than the normal long tail cast on methods. Is that normal?

Thanks! I’ll try out that method :slight_smile:

Any cast on can look too long or too short until you’ve worked a few rows or rounds. It’s the edge with real yarn that really matters. What cast ons did you try? Someone here is probably familiar with them. Sometimes I use Judy’s magic cast on and move the held stitches to a holder. If I use this one I might use a smaller needle for the second needle, for some reason it works out better for me.