Provisional Cast On: Chained Cast-On

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A provisional cast-on is a way to make a temporary cast-on.  Reasons to make a provisional cast-on:

  • You would like to start the body of your work but are unsure of how you would like to edge/ finish it.
  • You intend on seaming the work to another piece later and would like to use a completely invisible grafting technique, such as Kitchener Stitch.
  • You think you might want to pick up your stitches along the cast-on edge later and would like to accomplish this as seamlessly as possible.

Casting On

Provisional Cast On, Step 1

The chained cast on uses a knitting needle and a crochet hook of equal size.  For a provisional cast-on, do the cast on row using a contrasting "waste yarn" so that you will easily be able to see the cast on stitches.  Make a slip knot, and place it on the crochet hook.  Holding the crochet hook in your right hand, place it over the knitting needle that you hold in your left hand (as pictured).  Hold the working yarn under the knitting needle and yarn over the crochet hook.

Provisional Cast On, Step 2

[Crochet a chain stitch by pulling the yarn held within the crochet hook through the loop on the hook.  Move the working yarn back under the knitting needle and yarn over the crochet hook.]  Repeat this until the desired number of stitches have been cast-on.

Provisional Cast On, Step 3

Cut the yarn and pass the tail through the loop on the crochet hook to tie off.  You can tie a knot in the end of this tail to identify it later as the side of the cast on from which to remove the chain.

Removing the Chain

Provisional Cast On, Step 4

Starting at the side of the chain with the knot tied in the tail, pass the end of the tail back out through the loop that secures the end of the chain.

Provisional Cast On, Step 5

Pulling on this loose tail carefully, try to unravel the chain one stitch at a time.  As each stitch comes loose from the chain, place it on a knitting needle or other holder, being careful not to twist your stitches.

Provisional Cast On, Step 6

Once the chain has been removed , your live stitches are ready for the next operation!