A Better Cast-On

A friend's 5-year -old has been diagnosed with leukemia, and in the next couple of weeks, as a side effect of her treatment, she'll begin losing her hair.

What can a knitter do, but knit a slew of cute hats for this little princess?

As I was beginning a top-down hat, I became frustrated because the cast on left a hole larger than I though was necessary. So I turned to the Knitting Daily Glossary to find a better circular cast on.  

I remembered Emily Oker's Circular Cast-On, which I thought would fit the bill perfectly. Here's how you work it:

You have to try this new knitting cast-on technique that's amazing to use with circular knitting projects, such as knitted hats, shawls, washcloth and more.
Make a simple loop of yarn with the tail hanging down (Figure 1, above left). With a crochet hook, *draw a loop through main loop, then draw another loop through this loop (Figure 2, above center). Repeat from * for each stitch to be cast on (Figure 3, above right). After several inches have been worked, pull on the tail (shown by arrow) to tighten the loop and close the circle.This technique comes from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac (Dover, 1981).

This method is magic! The hole is tiny; it looks like the finished top of a brim-up hat. I'm much happier with how the hat looks now.

A few years ago an identical technique took the crocheters by storm. In the crochet world, it's called the magic ring. I've borrowed some photos from Crochet Me editor Toni Rexroat, because I wanted to show you another visual for this technique.

You have to try this new knitting cast-on technique that's amazing to use with circular knitting projects, such as knitted hats, shawls, washcloth and more.

Step 1. Leaving a long tail, create a loop by placing the tail behind the working yarn. (The working yarn is the end of the yarn that is coming from your working skein or ball.) When you begin working the magic loop, it is a good idea to leave a tail of 6" or longer. It may seem like wasted yarn, but it will really help you keep your loop from coming undone as you work the first few stitches. As you become more practiced, you can decrease the length of your long tail.

Step 2. Insert the crochet hook through the ring and yarn over with the working yarn. Continue to keep a firm hold on the long tail and loop.

Step 3. Pull up a loop through the magic ring.

Step 4. Chain 1 by yarning over and drawing through the loop on the hook.

Repeat Step 4 for as many stitches as you need to cast on.

I really like this method of casting on for a circular project. You can use this for anything that starts from a circle—a hat, a shawl, a washcloth, or whatever else you can think of.

Since I'm firmly in hat mode for the next week or so, I'd like to recommend a wonderful new video resource to you: Structure and Design of Knitted Hats with Tanis Gray. From casting on to creating a pompom, Tanis clearly walks you through every step of hat knitting and designing.

I used many of Tanis' ideas to design a hat for my little friend, and I know you'll find lots of helpful information in Structure and Design of Knitted Hats, too.

Cheers,
You have to try this new knitting cast-on technique that's amazing to use with circular knitting projects, such as knitted hats, shawls, washcloth and more.

P.S. I tried a quick bit of research to find out who Emily Oker is/was, but I came up dry. Does anyone out there know? If you do, leave a comment below. 

You have to try this new knitting cast-on technique that's amazing to use with circular knitting projects, such as knitted hats, shawls, washcloth and more.
    
Learn all the cast-ons! Let Ann Budd teach you 45 cast-ons and bind-offs in this wonderful video. You'll be ready for any project, top-down or toe-up. I highly recommend this product, and it's part of our fabulous Labor Day Sale! Download your video now.

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