Sunday, July 1, 2007


The best thing about finishing a project is getting to start another one.

This is Prosperous (pdf link). The designer named it Prosperous Plum, which made sense for her, since she used purple. I'm going with the more succinct "Prosperous". And I love it. Of course, I always love a project when I cast it on. It's only later, when the road starts getting rocky, that the passion fades and I have second thoughts and wonder if I might have been better off with Grecian Plaits. Or Swallowtail. Or that cute cardigan I saw that one time at that yarn store the next town over. I really should have gotten its name. But I digress.

Look at that adorable (yes, I'm really going to refer to it as "adorable") picot hem! Ignoring for the moment that it was an enormous pain in the butt--provisional cast on, worsted weight on size 5 needles, fold over and knit one stitch off each needle together until you reach the end or your hand falls off--it is a beautiful detail. The hemming gives the edge a nice weight and body that should really help the finished sweater to drape well. And look at that great little eyelet detail!

I'm doing this one in Cotton Fleece, which Green Apples has recommended very highly. I can see why. This is a lovely yarn, 80% cotton, 20% wool. It is very soft, and has the nice dry hand of cotton with the springiness of wool. Unlike many cottons I've worked with (see the baby dress and blanket), it is not heavy or stiff, and the stitches are smooth and even. At about $8 for a 100 gram skein with 215 yards, it's more expensive than the yarns I usually buy, but not outrageous. (I am the queen of internet yarn sales, so I generally get my yarns at about half the retail price. I actually had to go to the not-so-local yarn store for this and pay full price.) This tank should take three skeins, which is well within bounds of what I consider a reasonable price.

And now a question. If you use or have used a provisional cast on, which one do you/did you use? There seem to be at least three variations, and I dislike all of them. I know of two versions that use a crocheted chain, meaning you first crochet a chain, then pick up and knit stitches in the crochet loops. When you are ready to take out the cast on edge, the crochet chain just unzips, and you can pick up the live stitches. The disadvantage to this one is the extra step of crocheting a chain, and then the tedium of picking up stitches in a narrow crocheted chain.

The other version I know uses a long tail cast on with one of the tails being a piece of scrap yarn. This is quicker to cast on--it works exactly like a regular long tail cast on. The disadvantage is that the scrap yarn does not unzip. You have to carefully cut and pick it out one stitch at a time when you are ready to expose the live stitches. I used this method for Prosperous, and I was not a happy camper.

Does anyone have another provisional cast on, maybe one that combines the ease of a long-tail with the simplicity of unzipping the crocheted chain? Or am I way too optimistic that such a thing is possible?


sophanne said...

You are so out of my league I can't even begin- Much for the future for me.

One thought (knowing something of crochet-but never having done a provisional cast on) is-

Is it possible to single crochet a few rows before you try to cast on for the provisional part? You would have something to hang on to. Would that be of any help- Of course it means crocheting into an annoying chain so it may not make a bit of difference.

Quail Hill Knits said...

I think that hem is just gorgeous. As for a picot hem, I use an old machine knitting trick. Do a long tail cast on with both ravel cord as the scrap yarn and the main yarn. Ravel cord is strong and slick. When you are ready to remve it, give it a fairly strong tug and the cord will slide out of the stitches when you want to remove it without breaking, leaving the main yarn unscathed.
PS: We made it to Washington about 45 minutes ago.

The_Add_Knitter said...

That Cotton Fleece knits up so beautifully, I love the stitch definition!

Mel said...

I don't know about provisionals, but when I do a picot edge, I cast onto two needles at once. When I get around to the point where you make the hem, I pick up those cast-on stitches and knit into both the co's and the ones on the needles. Better instructions might be had at Magknits, which is where I learned the trick.

MelissaKnits said...

You can crochet the sts directly onto the knitting needle, which is my preferred method and means no picking up. It will still rip right out when you're ready.
Pattern - I have no clue - I will have it finalized in Ugust, but it won't be publically available till the catalog release and I am not sure when that is. They're calling it "Fall".
Dressform - it's an antique I found it at a junk shop in Keene, NH for $20. It was labeled a "shabby chic" item. It's ancient, metal bits all over, but it WORKS.

Sarah said...

I am behind in the cast on trick department, so I hope you will post which idea was most useful to you so I can know if I ever have the same cast-on in future.

I love the green shade, good choice. It was definitely worth all your hard work—it is a very nice finish to the edge.

Stitchy Witch said...

Yay for cotton fleece! I'm glad to have a convert! As for provisional castons, I prefer the one where you cast directly onto a needle using a crochet hook. It gives you an immediate place to start knitting, but unzips really quickly. You can see it illustrated here:

Haley said...

i've never done a provisional cast on, but i will definitely be checking back with these people when i decide to try one. i had a quick question since you seem to be good at finding yarn deals. i really want to make the Salina sweater from Vintage Knits. for once i would like to use the suggested yarn (Rowan Felted Tweed). do you have any suggestions on how to find it at a good price?

Yarnhog said...

The best deal I've found for Felted Tweed is at WEBS ( It is $9.25 a ball, but there is a 20% discount for purchases of $60 or more. I did see some on the DeStash site recently, but the site is now closed. I understand there is a new DeStash site at Wordpress, but I can't find it. (If anyone knows the URL, please leave a comment.) Good luck!

uberstrickenfrau said... is the one I have booked mark and it takes me there!Love the start you have goin, I'm no help at all in the cast on dept.

Romi said...

I like crocheting a chain onto the needle with a crochet hook and some waste cotton yarn. Then you just knit across the stitches with your regular yarn.

Love the color of your sweater to be!