Friday, October 31, 2008

A Turkish Style Cast-on...

I think the fussy part of a neck-down triangular shawl is the cast-on. Over the years, I have come up with a slightly different take on a provisional start for this type of design. I imagine many of you are familiar with a Turkish cast-on. It was first used for toe-up Turkish style socks. If you have never seen it done, cruise over to YouTube and see what Turkish Cast-on in the search field gets you. Take your pick of video clips to watch... My version is a variation that works particularly well when you want Garter Stitch. If you do this the standard way, your shawl edge will be missing a ridge of Garter when you pick-up the original stitches. Try my way to avoid missing that ridge. First collect your materials. You need yarn, one circular needle and two double point needles in the same size, and a patient cat. Are you joining me for my November Shawl project? Grab your project yarn and needles and give this cast-on a try. You will be one step ahead!

Take your circular needle end and the double pointed needle and hold them together. Make a slip knot loop and place it on both needles, snugging it down.

We want four stitches for our project, so make four loops on the two needles. Don't just wrap the yarn around (this is the special element.) You need to make four half-hitches. If you know how to sail, you know what this is. If you don't look at my picture, above.

Here you can see the four "stitches" made with half-hitches, plus the original loop made with a slip knot.

Slide the circular needle so the cable is through your new stitches. Remove the original loop/slip knot and leave the end hanging.

Begin knitting, using the double pointed needles. Knit a total of 8 rows (4 ridges of garter) with two double pointed needles. Leave the cable alone.

Pick-up and purl three stitches along the presenting long edge of your little piece.

Slide the circular needle tip down and knit those original four stitches off the cirular needle and onto your double pointed needle, right in line with the other stitches. Give the original end a gentle tug to line everything up and you are done with your cast-on. STOP until tomorrow!

You are now ready for row one of Chart A...say what!? Yup. Later this weekend. Until then, I leave you with...
Stuff on my cat....after I knit a few more rows.


  1. Very cool. Puppy is practicing.....and I finished something else today so I could start as well.

    Thanks, Andrea :-)

  2. Since it has gotten cold here I now have two patient cats vying for my lap, ready to cast on.

  3. I've been trying to learn this CO, but I am ending wrong each time. How did you get to the "here's the slip knot"? Did you knit those stitches first?

  4. Dear Anonymous,
    I knit the stitches first, up to but not including the slip knit, and I removed the slip knot and popped it out, leaving only the end. If you leave me an email address I will reply directly to you, but if I don't know who you are I can only reply here. Hope you see this!

  5. This is a handy tutorial! It is, I think, easier to just wrap the yarn around the needles without all the twisting and fiddling. At least, for me :)

  6. Fleegle,
    For garter stitch, you can't just do the wrap because you will be missing the ridge when you pick-up the stitches and knit. It just is not the same!