Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Casting On the Right Way

I was so excited to begin the Nightbird shawl that I ended up spending approximately two hours (majority of my round-trip commute) casting on. I wanted a nice, loose edge, so I started with the backward loop. Without any stitch markers, I painstakingly counted to 293, then counted one more time. Unfortunately, when I started trying to knit into those backward loops, in fingering yarn, on a size four interchangeable needle, things got ugly. About 100 stitches in, I decided to scrap the whole thing and go with a crocheted cast on (some people only use this for provisional cast-ons, but I like how it looks. Out of the many tutorials, I like the pictures, colors, and instructions in this one.
Again, though, with no markers, I had to intensely concentrate on counting by 1s all the way to 293.I lost count around 180 and winged it till I thought I was about 10 over, then counted by 3s and decided I had the right number. With my newer, secure stitches, I knit one row, still counting every stitch, and discovered I was just one off. I easily knit two together at the first end of the lace pattern, and I was off and running . . . (YO, K4, K3tog, K4, YO, K1 and on and on and on)

Of course, one project isn't nearly enough, so I decided to cast on an adorable sock yarn baby hat, using a circular needle instead of double points, and casting on 96 (with no markers--so self-defeating). The 4 border rows seemed fine, but once I started the eyelets, I was shocked to find out I had only cast on 86--off by 10!

The proper/smart/non-stubborn way to cast on:
If you like counting by 2s and have lots of markers
K20, PM (knit around 20, count to make sure, and when place the marker at exactly 20)
if you really enjoy counting by 3s (I sing to myself) and can find slightly fewer markers
K30, PM (knit around 30, count to make sure, and when place the marker at exactly 30)

If you operate this way, losing count is super-low stakes, and you get the satisfaction of knowing you won't get any nasty surprises later.
I'm about to start knitting on this again, but in the interim I whipped out this intensely satisfying wool baby hat on size 7 DPNs in good old Wool of the Andes Worsted.
Here's the blocking--should be ready to go by tomorrow.

*Both the baby hats (blue and orange) are from One-Skein Wonders for Babies which I was able to download straight to my tablet or view in a browser through the Brooklyn Public Library's boss knitting eBook collection.

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