Technique talk: The marvels of a magic cast on
One of the great things about knitting is a technique that you learn for one thing socks or lace for example can be used for another like making a sweater.
Some of these might be more obvious such as types of decreases or picking up stitches on a sock heel or for the neck band of a jumper. But some might surprise you.
One such is a cast on designed for socks that comes in very handy for some lace designs.
Judy’s magic cast on, developed by Judy Becker, is a very clever way of casting on for a toe up sock. But it is one of those techniques you don’t know you need until someone tells you that it exists.
It allows you to cast stitches on to two needles simultaneously, alternating between the two needles. At the end of the cast on you will have parallel stitches on two needles that are joined together all the way along.
If you have cast on using a circular needle or two DPNs, you can now start working the toe of your sock in the round with out having to graft or sew a toe seam later.
In fact, once you’ve worked a few rounds you will have a smooth section of knitting without any hint of a join.
But how is that a help for making a shawl?
Amazingly you can use the same cast on as an alternative provisional cast on instead of using a crochet chain to start your knitting and unravelling it later.
In wrap and lace scarf patterns where the designer want the two haves to be symmetrical round the middle line, you start with a provisional cast on, knit out to one end of the shawl and then return your provisional cast on to the needles and work the second side.
For a wide wrap, that could mean a lot of crochet chain to knit into and then carefully unravel later.
Instead, you can cast on using Judy’s Magic cast on and two circular needles held in parallel. At the end of the cast on you can start working one half of your wrap in rows along one set of the parallel stitches, leaving the other set on the second circular needle which acts as a stitch holder.
When you are ready to work the second half your stitches are already on the needle for you to start.
It really is magic and so much easier than the traditional crochet provisional cast on.
In Knit School we have already introduced members to this cast on for in our toe up sock Masterclass and it is also included in our second lace knitting masterclass that was delivered in June. It is a technique that’s really worth having a look at!
Are there any unusual knitting techniques that you have discovered are ones that are handy for two different tasks?
Knit School will be opening at the end of July! If you want to be the first to know when we open, sign-up to our mailing list here!
Also, while you wait, you may fancy our free cast-ons webinar, which includes the magic cast-on! Sign-up and pick a time that suits you here.