Sheared Bliss

Method Monday

New knitting method that is! Yeah, if you’re not a knitter, prepare to be bored.  You may in fact want to stop reading right now. This post is all knitting, all the time, and fairly technical knitting with no pretty pictures. You’ve been warned.

So I’m normally a long tail cast on kind of girl. It’s what I was taught when I was first learning to knit and it’s what I still tend to do out of habit unless a pattern specifically calls for a different cast on. Now that doesn’t mean I think it’s the best or the nicest cast on. In fact I don’t really like how tight it can be (I’m a fairly tight knitter and have very tight cast ons and cast offs), but I haven’t really thought about it much or done anything about it.

Ok, rewind a month or so. I was getting ready to knit a pattern from a book. The book was a library book so I had copied the specific pattern I wanted then returned the book (yes, I know I’m going to copyright infringement hell, don’t judge). Unfortunately when I went to start the pattern, the very first instruction was “Using double loop cast on, cast on 169 stitches.” Umm . . . double who what? Much internet searching turned up nothing. Apparently no one else had ever heard of this cast on either. So I put myself back on the wait list for the book at the library, wait wait wait, and finally get the book again. I looked up the mysterious cast on in the index of techniques and had a bit of an epiphany.

The double loop cast on is like doing a backward loop cast on with a double strand of yarn. Instead of using a slipknot to secure the yarn to the needle you give yourself a long tail then use a larks head knot to secure the yarn to the needle. Then, holding long tail and the working yarn together, you proceed as if doing the backward loop cast on.  When you’re done casting on, you drop what’s left of the long tail and begin knitting with the working yarn only, knitting each double cast on loop as a single stitch.  It results in a very bulky, somewhat stretchy cast on edge that feels sturdier than a regular backward loop cast on.

So I figure out the mysterious cast on, fiddle around with the pattern a little more, and finally decide I’m not going to knit the darn thing anyway.

Fast forward to this weekend. I’ve been trying to get started on a project (yes, another gift so no pictures) and having the worst time with it. I did a quasi swatch (i.e. cast on some stitches on the needles I planned to use, knit a few rows, measured, and figured it was close enough). I cast on and started knitting, but it just wasn’t looking right. When I was several rows in I measured and it definitely was not the size it was supposed to be. Not surprising considering my stellar swatching skills. So I stopped and knit a proper swatch. My row gauge was a tad off, but my stitch gauge was dead on. What was wrong with the measurements on the actual project? I kept looking at it and tugging at it (when in doubt, yank on it, you might stretch it out enough to get gauge). Finally it dawned on me – the cast on edge was so tight that it was pulling everything in and throwing the gauge off even several rows up. Hmm . . . What I needed was a cast on that was wide, loose, and stretchy. Ah-ha! I started over with the double loop cast on and, voila, perfect gauge!

So yeah, pretty excited about my newfound cast on. I needed to tell someone and CodeMonkey kind of glazes over when I talk about knitting and the cat pretty much ignores me unless I’m holding a kitty treat. Am I the only one who didn’t know about this technique or is it really as underutilized as the lack of internet references seems to indicate? Pardon me while I go gloat over my perfect gauge some more.


4 Comments so far
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Um… graphics! HTML! PHP! Flash animations!

Comment by CodeMonkey

Knit! Purl! Fair Isle! Double pointed needles!

Comment by shearedbliss


Comment by Leslie

Yeah, I was trying to explain it as best I could in words because I didn’t have anyone handy to run the camera. I’ll do it soon!

Comment by shearedbliss

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