I know 30 or so ways to cast on, but in reality, most of the time, I use 3 or 4 styles, or variation of those styles.
I have made for myself, A Cast On Sampler. This way I can always remind myself about how a cast on looks and how stretchy it is. It is also a useful teaching tool. (
It is also a good way to learn or practice cast on's you are don't know or are unsure about.
A sampler like this is easy to make.. All you need is about 100 yards or wool or a wooly blend, 3 needles, (a pair and spare) and collection of reference books, web page links or other information about cast on’s--(a list is being prepared!)
Then starting with a cast on you know, cast on 20 stitches. Work an inch or so of ribbing--1 X 1, or 2 X 2. Then work 1½ to 2 inches of stocking knit.
End with a wrong side row.
Break yarn, and leave the stitches on a spare needle. Start again, with a new cast on, and once again, cast on 20 stitches, and work an inch or so of ribbing.
Join the two swatches together by holding the new swatch in front of the old, each facing forward. Then knit through both the old and new swatch --similar to how 3 needle bind off is done--only don’t bind off!
Work another 1½ to 2 inches of stocking knit, and then break yarn and start over again, with a third cast on...
Repeat as often as you like--just keep track of which cast on is which!
Soon you’ll have a strip of cast on’s like this:
A sampler like this, lets you examine and compare cast on’s. You can judge for yourself, which is the stretchiest, which is the firmest.; which is the most attractive, which is the least.
Small tie on tags can be used to label the cast on’s, and can be further labeled to remind you where to find instructions for the cast on, and you own opinion of it.
At the same time, you can experiment with selvage stitch patterns between the cast on’s.
Many a new knitter has learned to Slip first (or last) stitch in each row, but there are other selvage edges you can use.
- Garter for first (or first and second) stitch, in each row.
- YO then K2tog (or YO, P2tog) --it’s a bit tricky to do a YO as the first stitch, but then that is what a sampler is about--learning new techniques!
- Or the opposite, K2tog YO (or P2tog, YO) this selvage creates a definite eyelet edging--and is not suitable for anything that needs to be seamed, but it makes a very interesting edging for many thing.
- A sampler is a good place to practice the simple technique of snug up first/second stitch in each row method--a technique that is very useful for neat edges.
You don’t have to limit yourself to cast on’s--A sampler like this would be useful for edging, hem stitches, or other decorative edges besides the standard one of ribbing. A sampler is really nothing more than a glorified swatch, but it is more interesting to knit!
More about cast on’s tomorrow.