Lots of patterns use a provisional cast on. Going back, picking up stitches and working in the opposite direction is a skill all knitters need to have in their arsenal.
Here’s my favorite way to do this cast on – using a crochet hook.
Step 1: Get a smooth yarn in a contrasting color (this one is red) from your main yarn. You want it to be smooth so it’s easy to pull out later, and you want it contrasting so you can tell which is the yarn to remove.
Step 2: Point you needle to the right. You only need one knitting needle for this.
Step 3: Make a slip knot with your scrap yarn and slip it on the needle. Make it a bit looser than normal. First stitch cast on.
Step 4: Place your hook under the needle, to the right of the st(s) on the needle.
Step 5: Wind the yarn under the hook and counter-clockwise around the needle.
Step 6: Pull the yarn through with your crochet hook. Again, pull it slightly looser than normal. One stitch cast on.
Repeat Steps 4 through 6 until all stitches are on your needle. In this pic we have 10 sts cast on. The remaining loop on the hook DOES NOT COUNT.
Once you’ve cast on all the stitches, you’ll have one loop still on your hook. Make a few chains in the yarn (not on the needle) and then cut the yarn and pull through the loop.
You’re done! Start knitting with your working yarn. Here it is after a few rows were worked.
I have used this method for years. It also works well as a permanent cast-on, and pairs perfectly with a “regular” bind-off., both of which I used while working on a Dreambird shawl. It’s also easier to maintain consistent tension without being too tight, as always happens for me with a knitted cast-on, which is worked in a similar manner, but with two knitting needles. Good instructions here.
Thank you so much!
You’re totally right about the tension! I didn’t even think about that.
Thanks a bunch for sharing this.
Is it possible for you to demonstrate how to remove the provisional cast on/pick up stitches later on, and work in the opposite direction? Thanks so much!
That’s a really good suggestion! I’ll put it on my list! Thanks 🙂
Why does it say cast on in MC and then in the tutorial it says cast on in a different colour?
I definitely might be missing it. But here’s what I believe it says (and this is correct).
You start with a smooth yarn, NOT your main yarn. You use this yarn with your crochet hook and cast on all the stitches needed. In our example, the smooth waste yarn is in red.
Once that’s done, start knitting using the white main yarn.
Once you’re ready to pull out the provisional cast on, you’ll be pulling out all the red stitches so you’ll expose the live, white stitches. These are the ones you’ll be knitting, this time in the opposite direction.
Again, if something is wrong or isn’t clear, please let us know and we’ll fix it ASAP.
Thanks – and either way, I’m sorry this is causing you to ask questions.
VERY clear instructions. Thank you kindly!
Wow – thank you 🙂 I’m glad you like it!
Thank you SO much for this – I HAAAAAATE crochet chain provisional cast ons because knitting through the bump makes me crazy, so I avoid them at all costs. NEVER did it dawn on me to look for a way to crochet the stitches right onto the needle – truly, no matter how obvious a solution may seem to some people, it comes as a wonderful revelation to others. I am so enjoying this site!!! Thanks so much for all you do, it IS greatly appreciated!! 🙂
Oh thank you (which doesn’t seem like enough).
I hope this is helpful and let me know if you have any questions.