Don’t Make this Mistake When Using a Provisional Cast-On!

Upon realizing 2019 is almost over and that I wrote this post all the way back in January, I had to have a little talk to myself about finishing projects in a timely manner! I started the Unified Field Cowl, a brioche knitting project from Interweave Knits Winter 2019 back in January, and I’m still knitting the thing.

I’ve set it down many times to make room for other projects—it definitely should not take this long to finish. I thought I’d be ready to graft it this week, but I need to knit about another 15 inches of length before it will be long enough to wrap twice. Fortunately for me, the designer (Interweave knitting project editor Joni Coniglio) clued me in on a big mistake I may have made in the beginning that I’ll need to pay attention to once I get to the grafting portion. So, dear reader, please take the following words of advice into consideration!

unified field cowl

Provisional Cast-On Yarn Selection

The cast-on required for the Unified Field Cowl is a crochet-chain provisional cast-on. For this method, a piece of waste yarn and a crochet hook is needed to create and place the stitches onto the knitting needle.

Now, this is a very specific—but very important—detail: Use a length of cotton yarn for your provisional cast-on waste yarn. Thanks to the smooth nature of cotton yarn, this is easier to take out of the stitches when you get to the grafting portion. Eager to start my project, I did not think about this for one second and used a fuzzy wool waste yarn.

unified field cowl

Joni warned me this could be a problem when we get to grafting portion for a couple reasons. First, because you have to pick the yarn out, it might just be harder to get out and make sure I keep the live stitches isolated to put them onto a needle.

Secondly, a fuzzy wool yarn can felt. You really don’t want your waste yarn felting to your project!

Fortunately, I think my project is going to survive my bad waste-yarn decision, but it could have gone so much worse without my expecting it. So kids, remember: When you use waste yarn that you’ll have to pick out later: use a smooth cotton!

I still have some knitting to do on this thing before I can graft it and wear it. I’m going to go to town on that, and the next time you hear back from me about it I’ll show you how to work the grafting, with Joni’s help. Stay tuned!

Happy knitting and grafting,

unified field cowl

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