WiP and provisional cast ons

I’ve started a second sweater for me from my New Lanark birthday yarn and from the Handmade in the UK book by TinCanKnits. This is the Windswept pattern, again worked in DK though with a slightly denser gauge. The colourway I’m using is Blueberry and it’s a purple-blue colour with little flecks of red and yellow (very subtle ones). Lush 036 (2)

Like the Lush Cardigan, it begins with a provisional cast on at the back which is worked in both directions. In this sweater only a small section of the yoke is worked this way (just the back of the neck really) and then stitches are picked up along one side and worked together with the live stitches of the lace pattern. The lace pattern flows around from the back of the neck and down the fronts. I’m very close to placing the arm stitches on hold and things will speed up a bit from there especially once I reach the bottom of the v-neck and can start working in the round (I’m much faster knitting than purling).

The provisional cast on I used for Lush and again now in  Windswept is a variant of the  crochet provisional cast on where the chain is worked onto the needle instead of stitches being picked up later. I use this almost every time I need a provisional cast on and find it easy though I’ve been told it sounds like magic. Once you get the hang of where to hold the needle in relation to the yarn it becomes pretty easy.

Using waste yarn I generally make a few chain stitches to start and then line the needle up along those stitches holding it in the opposite hand to the hook. When making the chain stitch I make sure the yarn goes around the needle before reaching the hook and then make the stitch as usual. I work some extra chains at the end (normally a bunch more than at the beginning so I can tell which is which) and rather than pulling the end through to fasten off I just pull a loop through and then cinch the previous loop tight. The stitches are then on the needle and can be knitted immediately.

Picking up the stitches is as simple as unzipping the crochet chain from the end (not the beginning) slowly and catching each stitch as it comes free. If you’re working with slippery yarn you have to be a bit more careful than with sticky stuff like the New Lanark I’ve been working with.

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