Toe-Up Socks: The Middle Eastern Cast-On

I haven't had much experience writing patterns, but I had a ball of Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Crazy Sock Yarn that I was itching to knit into a pair of socks, and I couldn't settle on a pattern. So I decided to write one myself!

The yarn lent itself better to a plain or cable pattern than to a lace pattern, so I decided on cables. I looked through the amazing Harmony Guide, 101 Stitches to Knit, a card deck edited by Erika Knight, and I found an easy and attractive cable: the Simple Cable.

With the stitch pattern decided upon, I plotted out my stitch count and started swatching. My gauge worked, so I cast on.

I also wanted a toe-up experience, so I tried the Middle Eastern Cast-On for the first time, and I really like it. I've seen this method referred to as the Turkish Cast-On, too, but whatever the name, I found it quick and easy.

At left you can see my progress—I like it a lot. (When it's finished, maybe I'll debut the design on!)

How to Work the Middle Eastern Cast-On

You can use this method with two circular needles or with the Magic Loop method. I don't recommend using it on double pointed needles (DPNs), but you can cast on with two circulars or the Magic Loop, work a couple of rounds, and then transfer your stitches to DPNs.

Step 1. Snugly wrap the working yarn around two needles, starting with the tail and ending with the working yarn hanging off the tips of the needles (Figure 1). Wrap the yarn half as many times as the total amount of stitches the pattern requires you to cast on. (Need sixteen stitches? Wrap the yarn eight times around the needles). Bring the yarn forward between needles, back to front .

Step 2. Knit across stitches on upper needle (Figure 2). (Or, if you're holding your needles parallel to each other, knit across the stitches on the front needle.)

Step 3. Rotate the work and knit across the same number of stitches on the other needle (Figure 3).

After you've knit one round all of your stitches will be secure. Knit one or two more rounds, and then begin your increases as directed in the pattern.

It's as simple as that.

If you'd like to get started with this cast-on technique right away, check out Ann Budd's toe-up pattern, On-Your-Toes-Socks. I'm sure you'll enjoy this easy, classic look.




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