Cast-On, Bind-Off: Finer Finishes for Hand Knitting

Ang posted a comment asking about sources for Cast-Ons when I commented on the Channel Island Cast-On.

I commented on how I like that Cast-On (it is admittedly a favorite). It forms a row of nice fat little purls (not as in knitting, but as in Oysters) along the edge of the knitting. Now, they are not fat compared to the stitches, as they are only as fat as the yarn allows them to be (so the finer the gauge the smaller they are).

When working this cast-on, there are similarities to the long tail cast-on. I had my friend Katherine Misegades take photos of my hands when working this Cast-On, and even though I stay away from re-inventing the wheel, I think I can add something to some of the directions I have seen for it. I just need to get the photos and comments together…a good project for after Thanksgiving.

I have a number of books that have copious information on different cast-ons and what they are used for. The Principles of Knitting, by June Hemmons Hiatt (out of print and outrageously expensive), Knitter’s Handbook by Montse Stanley is exceptional, and Big Book of Knitting by Katharina Buss. The Big Book of Knitting has really good information on how to make your knitting look exceptional from the techniques that you use.

The plainer your knitting is (for example a Worsted or DK smooth plied yarn in a solid color, in stockinette) the more important these details become. Why? Because there isn’t much else for the eye to see. Those details become the main design elements. Since there isn’t contrast with anything else, that is what the eye is drawn to. The difference between a generic looking sock and one that looks downright couture.

If you type Channel Island Cast-On in Google, you will see some online references for it. Mine isn’t done yet.

I think I may have to do a little tutorial with some “regular” cast-ons as well, against stockinette, garter, purl (reverse stockinette), and ribbing, just so you can see the difference. Some of the regular cast-ons that we do have different appearances on the “right side” or “wrong side” (the first or second row after the cast-on). You may find for certain applications that you like the first row after the cast-on to be your right side or vice versa.

It is a liberating experience as you have control over exactly how your knitting looks.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace


One Response to “Cast-On, Bind-Off: Finer Finishes for Hand Knitting”

  1. Loretta Says:

    Tutorials of various cast-ons and their finished appearance will be fabulous! I too often overlook trying different cast-ons, relying mostly on Twisted German and long-tail. I recently learned a cast-on for ribbing for Joan Schrouder and am ecstatic. While I love the Montse Stanley options, they don’t feature photos of the finished cast-on worked into a piece. And I guess I’m too lazy to do the experimentation required. Thanks for taking on this often ignored but sorely needed topic!

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