Monday, September 20, 2010

casting on: the first adventure. Picture heavy

I like to use the turkish cast on for garter stitch shawls.  The artist behind badcat designs came up with a way to do a provisional cast on for the turkish cast on, which means every garter row creates that little line between them.  If you just cast on for a tab, and then pick up stitches without using a provisional cast on, you are missing one of the garter ridges.

So, step 1 choose your materials.  In order to make these instructions work for the yarn I foisted yesterday, I have dug out the exact yarn in the exact amount.  This is Lyndon Hill (Bristol Yarn Gallery), an 85% pima cotton, 15% silk blend.  There are approx 218 yards per 50g hank.  I chose a melon color that I have 2 hanks of, the lovely lady I nudged into buying the same has a gorgeous purple color to work with.

Here's what I'm working with.

size 4 circular needle & 2 size 4 dpns for the cast on
Step 2, ball your yarn.
This may seem like an obvious step, but if you buy your yarn in hanks as above, you will want to make a ball out of your yarn.  Working from a hank is a good way to get tangles.  I have a swift and ball-winder, so I made this to work from.

any method of balling will reduce tangles and increase knitting enjoyment

From here, you will be using a 2 needle cast on.  Sounds hard, but I promise it's simple.  It just isn't simple to photograph by myself, so please bear with my pictures.

Casting on:

Step 1, put dpn and one side of circular knitting needle together.  Create slip knot (noose loop?), and put over both needles at once.

step 1, slip knot over 2 needles
Step 2:  Make a backwards loop using the working yarn (let the loose end dangle) over both needles.

A second loop is added, this will be your first working loop.
Step 3.  Repeat until you have a garter tab size you like.  I'm using 2 stitches for this shawlette, however if you're just beginning you may want to use 3 or even 4 stitches so you have more to hold onto until you get more practice.

One slip knot, 2 working stitches (slip knot on left)
Now we begin the garter stitch border:
Step 1, remove slip knot from left end of both dpn and needle, move work to center of both the dpn and circular cord.  You will have 2 large loops on the needles, with your beginning yarn on the left and your working yarn on the right.

Caution:  Do not put your work down, it is easy to twist your garter tab.  So you want to make sure that you get to the end of these steps before you set it down.

beginning yarn on left of work, working yarn on right
Step 2, with 2nd double point needle, knit across 2 (or however many you cast on) stitches.  This creates a garter ridge, which will keep the top of the shawl consistent. 

first garter.
Now the working yarn is on the same side as the starting yarn.

Step 3:  Turn your work, and knit back 7 more times, being careful not to twist.  This will look like this:.

8 knit rows.   Your beginning thread will be on right side of garter tab, working yarn on left.
Step 4, move your circular needle so that the needle portion is parallel with the dpn, and turn your work so that the garter stitch creates the bar of an H between them.
Circular needle on left, dpn on right, working yarn on right top, starting yarn on left bottom

Step 5, pick up 3 stitches across garter tab between garter ridges

knit 2 (garter tab) pick up 3, knit 2 to finish row
This will put all of the stitches on your dpn.  Give a gentle tug to the center of the garter row:  it will help even the stitches up.

Since you'll be moving to a circular needle for growing, knit back across the row as follows using your circular needle.  Knit 2, perl 3, knit 2.

Next post, starting the pattern.

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