Provisional Crochet Cast-On – Tutorial

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
  • Scissors
Gather your tools

Gather your tools

 

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.

Slip knot on crochet hook

Slip knot on crochet hook

Completed chain, right side facing up (with the 'V's), slip knot in the bottom left corner, 'tail' in the top right corner.

Completed chain, right side facing up (with the ‘V’s), slip knot in the bottom left corner, ‘tail’ in the top right corner.

 

Turn your chain so the wrong side (with the ‘bumps’) is facing:

Crochet Cast on tutorial (4)

Wrong side facing

It is in those bumps that stitches will be picked up and knitted:

See the bumps?

See the bumps?

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.

Insert needle tip in bump

Insert needle tip in bump…

And pass working yarn round the needle and though the bump: 1 stitch created

And pass working yarn round the needle and though the bump: 1 stitch created

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)

Insert needle tip in next bump...

Insert needle tip in next bump…

And make a second stitch...

And make a second stitch…

And continue in this manner until desired number of sts

And continue in this manner until desired number of stitches have been created.

This completes the provisional cast on.

Now, if working flat, turn work:

WS of provisional cast on

WS of provisional cast on

And continue following directions (or knit until you’re happy):

This is my little swatch, with the provisional crochet cast-on at the top, ready to be 'unzipped'.

This is my little swatch, with the provisional crochet cast-on at the top, ready to be ‘unzipped’.

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…

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… 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).

Provisional Crochet Caston Unzip (38)

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.

Provisional Crochet Caston Unzip (46)

Now ready to knit in the other direction. Rejoin yarn, and knit away…

 

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