Friday, October 02, 2009

Picking up and knitting from a cast-on edge

I invented a new (to me) method for working from the bottom, cast-on, edge of a knitted piece. It has one advantage over the previous method I'd been using, which was to unravel a provisional cast-on and put the freed loops on a needle and start knitting from that.

The advantage of the new method is that there is no half-stitch jog between the columns of stitches on the two pieces of knitting, even though the pieces are knitted in opposite directions.

In a way, this method is similar to a three-needle bind-off, in reverse.

What you will need: the needles you are using for your project, plus a double-pointed needle a few sizes smaller than the other needles. Some waste yarn in the same weight as the main yarn, and slippery yarn is better, since you have to pick out a row of stitches at the end.

Here are the steps:

  1. Cast on, with waste yarn, the number of stitches you are using for the piece.
  2. Knit a few rows in waste yarn. End on a wrong-side row. Break off waste yarn, leaving about a 6-inch/30-cm tail.
  3. With the main yarn, knit a row. Tie the ends of the waste yarn and main yarn together with a bow knot or just an overhand knot, loosely.
  4. With the main yarn, knit a row through the back loops. This is important! The stitches from the previous row must be twisted. (Not with each other, but each stitch itself must be crossed.) The piece should look something like the picture below:
    1. IMG_3714
  5. Continue on with the piece. See below:
    1. waste yarn and main yarn knitted fabric
  6. Work up to the point where you want to start knitting from the cast-on edge.
  7. Using a separate, smaller, double-pointed needle, pick up the upper purl bumps of the garter ridge. In progress:
    1. half the stitches picked up
  8. Complete. You should have the same number of stitches on the needle as you cast on:
    1. all the stitches picked up
  9. Twirl the piece 180 degrees and start knitting from the other direction. Here it is after a few rows:
    1. IMG_3720
  10. This is how it looks from the wrong side:
    1. IMG_3721
  11. After you've knitted a few rows in the other direction, you can remove the waste yarn. Untie the knot that joins the waste yarn and main yarn, and pull the end through the stitches of the first row of main yarn. Here's how it looks from the back with the waste-yarn piece removed:
    1. IMG_3722
  12. And from the front:
    1. IMG_3723

Please give these directions a try, and let me know how I could improve them.

I want to try this for the fingers of color-work gloves knitted from the tips of the fingers, because this is a way you could get the stitches to form continuous stripes over the finger-tips. Also, you could use this for a toe-up sock in color stripes, since this lets the stripes line up over the toe. I haven't figured out how to use this as a start for circular knitting, but I don't see any reason why I couldn't make it work.

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