Provisional Crochet Cast-on is a technique that enables to cast-on provisionally using a piece of waste yarn. Later on, the waste yarn is removed (‘unzipped’), releasing ‘live’ which are available to be worked.
You will need:
- Some waste yarn (a slick yarn, such as a smooth cotton yarn, works best)
- A crochet hook a size (or 2) larger than the needles used to knit
- Working yarn and knitting needles
First, grab your hook. Make a slip knot on the waste yarn, and crochet a chain a few stitches longer than the number of stitches you want to cast on. Here, we will pretend we want to cast on 8 sts. I always make my chains at least 10 sts longer ‘to be safe’. Don’t crochet your chain too tightly.
Turn your chain so the wrong side (with the ‘bumps’) is facing:
It is in those bumps that stitches will be picked up and knitted:
Not Knot… who’s there?
Do NOT start at the slip KNOT.
Starting a couple stitches away from the tail of the chain (see above), insert tip of needle in a ‘bump’, and pull working yarn through. That’s one stitch created on the needle.
Continue in this manner, picking up and knitting in the bumps until the desired number of stitches has been created on the needle (in our example: 8 sts)
This completes the provisional cast on.
Now, if working flat, turn work:
And continue following directions (or knit until you’re happy):
Starting at the tail of the crochet chain, undo the chain carefully (‘unzip’), until reaching the first loop that is ‘caught’ in the knitting.
Insert needle tip in first stitch by lifting the right leg of the stitch. Insert needle tip in the same way into the second stitch. Unzip the crochet chain. Two sts on the needle. Continue in this manner, inserting needle tip under right leg of stitches, and unzipping the crochet chain carefully…
… until all stitches have been unzipped.
At this point, you should have one stitch less on the needle (compared to the number of sts cast on). Remember, 8 sts were picked up from the crochet chain. 7 sts on the needle at this point (because by turning the knitting upside down to start from the ‘other hand’, the knitting is actually shifted by half-a-stitch).
The waste yarn is caught in a twisted loop of the working yarn. Place this twisted loop back on the needle. This is your 8th stitch. Remove waste yarn (slide it through).
This completes the removal of the provisional crochet cast-on.