Knitting Nuances
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Provisional Crochet Cast On Tutorial
by Sara Fama
Originally published in the Bella Knitting blog
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Here's a tutorial on the crochet provisional cast-on method. This is a really useful technique, applicable to any number of project types: making a bottom-up sweater, but you don't know what type of edging you want? Use a provisional cast-on and you can easily pick up your stitches and work the bottom edge when you've finished the rest of the knitting. Want to knit toe-up socks? Use this method and work a short-row toe. Interested in knitting a shawl? Many ask you to start with this cast-on to create a tidy top edge. I could go on, anyway, I hope you find this useful!
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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Steps 1 & 2: Make a crochet chain using waste yarn -- preferably, something smooth and in color which is readily visible against your working yarn, in approximately the same weight. To make your chain, just grab the strand of yarn with your hook...
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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...and bring it through the loop. Always make the chain several chains longer than the number of stitches you need to pick up, so you have some room for error.
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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Step 3: When you're done making the chain as long as you need it to be (plus a few extra) cut the yarn, bring it through the last loop, tug gently to close (gently! You're going to have to undo that later) and tie a knot in that end, to remind yourself that this is the end you'll be "unzipping" from later on. Now flip your chain over and take a gander at the bumps -- they kinda look like purl bumps, right? -- on the back side (assuming the front side is the "v's" you see as you are working the chain.) You are going to pick up stitches through these bumps
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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Step 4: Start picking up stitches through the bumps. I "pick" at stitches to pick them up, wrapping each one around the needle...
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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Step 5: ...and bringing it through. (Leave a long tail so you can weave that end in later.)
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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Step 6: Hooray! You have picked up your stitches. Now you can do whatever the heck you want to do -- work a short row toe, knit your sweater front, whatever.
knitting tutorial provisional cast on

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Step 7: I was bored and just knit a few rows of stockinette and bound off.
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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Step 8: Remember how I mentioned in Step 3 that you should make a little knot so you will know from which end to unzip your cast on? Don't you feel smart for doing that? Pat yourself on the back, and maybe go pour yourself a glass of wine to prepare yourself for the next steps, which involve stitches being all naked and loosey-goosey.
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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Step 9: Take the end with the knot in it and bring it back out through the loop you drew it through to close your chain -- thus re-opening your chain. Now give that end a tug (a gentle tug, just in case there was some snaggage when you picked up your stitches.)
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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Step 10: I told you there would be naked stitches.
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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Step 11: You might want to put them on a needle, for decency's sake
knitting tutorial provisional cast on
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Step 12:  Yay! All done. You now have a whole whack of live stitches, ready to do your bidding!