Provisional Cast Ons and Knitted Hems

Theoretical question, for the sake of understanding the mechanics…

For what reason is a provisional cast on necessary when one is planning to knit a hem and knit the hem to the body of a garment using K2tog?

Is there any reason you can’t just cast on normally and pick up stiches at the cast on edge to be worked with the stitches that they’ll be knitted together with at the spot that forms the hem? What would the difference be?

I’ll try it, but I wanted some views anyway.

I find the whole idea of a provisional cast on annoying and unnecessarily complicated and I’d rather find a way around it.

[color=indigo]Hi Holly,

I LOVE your question. I am always grasping to understand the mechanics of knitting technques, instead of just learning how to execute them. :wall:

Surely, I don’t have the answer to your question. But it comes to mind that doing it as you propose might result in a thickish lump at the hem. :??:

I’m eager to see a correct answer posted here.


Landolphe [/color][/b]

I believe it’s done that way because a cast on edge is tighter than live stitches and could pull the body of the garment in. Live stitches will have more give and lay flatter against the inside.

I supposed if you cast on very loosely and then picked up stitches, it could be done that way.

Thanks Landolphe. :slight_smile: I also prefer to understand the mechanics. And I’ve learned to attempt to, as much as possible, work out the kinks in any techniques necessary for a project before I start so I don’t frustrate myself unnecessarily. I find it creates a very tenuous relationship between myself and the lovely yarn I’ve chosen for the project. :smiley:

I agree about the increased bulk too.

And now that I’ve learned, at least, to do a chain provisional cast on (with a crochet hook) I wonder too how one goes about beginning with “non waste” yarn on that sort of cast on?

All my efforts involve simply working the first stitch of the real working yarn as I would a color change - just looping it over my needle and taking off. But that leaves the end open, and it seems to want to unravel with the waste yarn as I unravel it.

I’m sure I’m missing something. What is it?

I would much rather spend the time doing a provisional CO than picking up stitches. It’s always a little hard to pick them up evenly and with a provisional CO you can have it nice and neat.

you can cast on and hem.

i do it all the time.

but you have to have a loose cast one. a really loose, stretchy cast on.
otherwise, the hem will bind and be visible.

many knitters can’t get the cast on loose enough, stretchy enough. so they use a provisional cast on (and sew down live stitches) and live stitches are always as stretchy as knitting.

I sometimes use live stitches (if i am knitting neck down, and hemming

but if i am working hem up, i don’t use a provisional cast on.

mind you, i am a cast on fanatic, and know more than 30 ways to cast on.

There are 30 ways to cast on??? :zombie:

no, there are more than 30 ways to cast on!

some are very similar.
long tail,
norwegian (or twisted, or german) long tail
Knit and purl long tail
2 color long tail (simple 2 color)
2 color long tail, braided (and 3 color braided, and 4, and 5 (are each of these a different cast on?

Knit cast on
Cable cast on
Knit cast on in knit and purl
knit cast on in purl
cable cast on in knit and purl
cable cast on in purl

eyelet cast on simple
emily ockers eyelet cast on

tubular cast on (i know 3 ways to do this, all very different)

latvian twist cast on (actually a cast on with several rows of knitting, then twisted)

channel island cast on

crochet cast on

Picot cast on. (again, several varitions)

simple cast on (even this cast on has some variations!)

lace cast on (a sort of knit hair pin lace, then you then pick up stitches from the lace)

Figure 8,
Turkish (really these are variation of each other)

and others …

there are lots and lots of ways to cast on! i don’t know them all yet (but i know all the ones i listed, and some more (i always forget some when i make a list)

now, mind you, i use long tail (simple or some variation) about 50% of the time, (if you don’t know this cast on, learn it!)

about 30% of the time, i use a tubular cast on… (the kitchener/or italian method, (see Big Book of Knitting)

the other methods are “3 needle tubular” and “waste yarn tubular”.

10% of the time, emily ocker cast on.

the rest of the time, i use an other cast ons…

(go to my blog, (link below) and find a link to photogallery. my socks have lots of different cast ons.)
i don’t have a tutorial for cast ons, but i do teach a class about them (none currently scheduled)

The fun part of knittign is you can do it for 45+years, and still have things to learn!

there are several ways to do decreases too… and increases. there is always more to learn!

Wow! I see how it works though…some of those are combinations, but it’s amazing!

Uh…where on your blog would this be? :??

there is a link (on left column) to photo gallery, one album is socks (about 8 pages!) many of the socks have different cast ons.

i don’t have any cast on tutorials on my blog, just photo’s in my albums–

all of these cast ons can be found in books, several have on line tutorials, too. seek and ye shall find!

Thanks, I’ll check them out!


Of troy that is AMAZING! Thank you!

I actually did 3 swatches, and discovered exactly what you said - it only matters a little, and so it mostly depends on how much it matters to you. :smiley: I actually really like to sew :shock: so I think I’m going to stick with a normal hem which seems to actually come out good, if not better than anything I did involving a provisional cast on knitted to the garment, even when I got it right. When you do a real, careful, well done backstitch it makes all the difference. I did notice it was better when I did my cast on a larger needle, so I’ll be sure to do that when I do on the bottom of a bona fide garment.

The only issue I foresee is with bulkeir yarns – but the yarn for the project I was practicing for is fingering gauge and I LOVED the look on a DK weight merino, so I won’t worry.

And what a wealth of information of troy! Many, many thanks for your time and experience. :slight_smile: