Provisionally cast on…

“Unpicked” provisional cast on for anastomosis, ready to work the tab. Working needle is red cable; provisional cast on side is clear blue cable.

There’s something wonderful about a smooth piece-to-piece knitting connection. At the end of knitting, that smooth seam can be achieved with grafting (but that’s another post); at the beginning of knitting, it is the provisional cast on.

I use two methods for provisional cast on: crochet chain (for stockinette and garter) and knitted tab (for cables and lace). Today we’ll look a the knitted tab provisional cast on — I use this in patterns like anastomosis and coast or any time I want to have an easy way to keep stitches in order.

Step 1: Start with a knitted tab. Using any favorite method, cast on number of stitches required for the provisional cast on. Work in stockinette stitch (knit on right side, purl on wrong side) for 4 or 5 rows.

Step 1: knitted tab (top). Also shown: crochet chain (bottom)

When to stop? Finish the last row of the tab with a row that will set up knitting correctly for the first row of the pattern. In other words: If the first row/round of the pattern is on the right side row, then finish the tab on a wrong side row (finish with Row 4). If the first row of the pattern is on the wrong side row, then finish the tab on a right side row (finish with Row 5).

Using anastomosis as an example, the tab in the photo finishes on a right side row because the first row in the anastomosis pattern is a wrong side row.

Step 2: Work as indicated in the pattern (not pictured).

prov_co_2 Step 3: Unpick the provisional cast on. I use an extra needle for this, a little bit smaller than the main needle size. In the photos, the white thread is the waste yarn and the orange yarn is the main yarn.

(A) find the next stitch, sometimes a little tug on the end of the waste yarn will help show the stitch. In this photo, the wrong side of the work is facing.

(B) insert the tip of the needle into the next stitch to be unpicked.

(C) using fingers or an extra needle tip, pull the waste yarn out of the stitch on the needle, then pull the waste yarn end out of the provisional tab (not pictured) until the work looks like Step A.

Repeat steps A-C until all stitches are unpicked (see photo at top of this post for result). This is kind of like tinking — I do the unpicking one stitch at a time — it seems easier this way to keep all the stitches in the correct order.

You know you want it!!
Yarn pictured is Scientific Sock in gamma ray by NanoStitch Lab.
Pattern used in pictures is anastomosis.
We’re having a knitalong! Join us in the ravelry group here: anastomosis + NanoStitch Lab KAL.

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all photos and text (c) 2017 grist creative llc