Do you ever feel like your hopes and dreams begin with a cast-on?
I know, that's a little bit over the top, but I do get really excited when I'm about to cast on a new project. I can't wait to feel how the yarn will knit up, try different types of needles—will the yarn work better with bamboo needles, hardwood needs, or metal needles?—and I love thinking about the pattern itself and any changes I might want to make so my project will fit me perfectly.
So for me, casting on brings up that wonderful feeling of new beginnings, and yes, hopes and dreams.
But what about the mechanics of the cast-on itself? So many of us use the long-tail cast-on as our default (unless the pattern we're working on calls for a specific cast-on). But, as with most things in knitting, there are many different ways to work the cast-on.
|Eunny Jang doing one of the things she does best: knitting!|
I have my favorites: the Old Norwegian for cuff-down socks, the Turkish for toe-up socks, the crochet method when I need a provisional cast-on, and the long-tail for almost everything else.
I thought I had a good supply of cast-on techniques in my knitting arsenal, but when I viewed Eunny Jang's new knitting workshop Getting Started Knitting, Basics and Beyond with Eunny Jang, I realized I was wrong (which happens a lot when I'm looking at resources from Eunny!).
You know how the long-tail cast-on has a wrong side and a right side? There are purl bumps on one side and smoother looking stitches on the other side. The problem is that most patterns are written so that row 1, the row you do immediately after you cast on, is the right side of your fabric, leaving the purl bumps on the right side, and row 2 is the wrong side, leaving the nicer looking stitches from your cast-on on the back of the work. Lots of knitters simply make row 1 the wrong side of the work, which is a fine solution with 9 out of 10 patterns. Other knitters really don't care and just leave the purl bumps as is on the front of the work.
I admit I fall into the latter category, and the only time this problem has really seemed like a problem is when I'm working ribbing. What I learned from Eunny is that there's a version of the long-tail cast-on that results in a ribbed cast-on. And it's easy once you get the hang of it.
So, say your sweater starts with a K2/P2 rib. With Eunny's method you cast on two stitches using the regular long-tail technique, and then cast on two stitches using the long-tail technique done backward, starting with the yarn that's wrapped around the back of your pointer finger instead of the yarn that's wrapped about your thumb.
I know—clear as mud. That's why we have a video tutorial for you!
This is just one of many, many techniques that you'll learn from Getting Started Knitting. In just over 2 1/2 hours, Eunny demos techniques from casting on to binding off, and shares information from all corners of the knitting world. This DVD isn't just for beginners, either. There are all kinds of advanced tips and tricks (like the cast-on demonstrated above!) to take your knitting from good to great.
I can't recommend Getting Started Knitting, Basics and Beyond highly enough. I know you'll love it.