Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fair Isle Knitting -- Casting On

You guessed it.  The slip knot only makes one stitch.  If you want to make a whole -- something -- you need more stitches.

There are at least 3 ways of adding stitches to a knitting project and they are all called casting on.
1.  Thumb method.
2.   Knit on.
3.  Cable on.

I usually cable on because it's a stable, sturdy edge to the garment but my book on Fair Isle knitting says the Shetland knitters always use the thumb method.  Here's a diagram.

Casting on diagram

The key is that the needle tip in your right hand goes under the yarn from right to left, then goes inside the loop, then lifts it off the thumb.  The long end of the yarn that goes to the ball or skein of yarn winds up between the new stitch and the old stitch.  The free end where you made the slip knot moves on down the needle.

Do some thumb casting on with whatever needles you are using to practice, but to do real Fair Isle knitting you need what's called a "circular needle."  You should practice with what you're going to use, so get a nickel-plated set of double pointed needles (dpn) that are size 3 (American) with at least a 16 inch tether.  If you're not using American measurements, get needles that are 3.25 millimeters on a tether that is 40 centimeters long.  Cast on 344 stitches. 

Next lesson I'm going to talk about a very fussy aspect of knitting in the round.  It's hard, but only because you have to be careful about it or you will never knit a Fair Isle sweater or anything else in the round. 

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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