Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dee's No-Twist Circular Cast-On

I knit in the round a lot—and I've twisted my cast-on a lot, too. That is, when I've cast on all the required stitches and go to join the two ends, I have accidentally let the stitches twist around the needle, even though I tried to check for that. It's really frustrating when I don't realize it until I knit a round or two. And of course, the more stitches in the cast-on, the more likely this is to happen.

A few months ago, a knitter named Dee posted her solution on the "Techniques" forum in Ravelry. I didn't see it until a few weeks ago, and I wish I had sooner! "Dee's No-Twist Circular Cast-On" is simply the best way I've heard of to prevent twisting your cast-on when you join to knit in the round. You can use it with any type of cast-on, as far as I know.

Here is a link to the original forum thread on Ravelry, where this technique is discussed at length. (If you're not a member of Ravelry, I think you'd have to join to see forums. But if you're interested in this topic, and you read blogs, and you're not a member of Ravelry... the mind boggles.)

Dee has also made a YouTube video:

Dee knitted up a strip of fabric to use, but somewhere in the thread someone suggested using a ribbon that has loops along the edge, and I latched onto that idea. There are limits to my DIY-ing. I only have so much knitting time. I'm lazy. Pick an excuse, any excuse.

I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and found a wide, stretchy ribbon with loops AND gaps along the edges. The loops will accommodate needle sizes of perhaps U.S. 8 on down, but the gaps are stretchy and could go much bigger. It's a bright lime green that will contrast with just about any yarn I might knit.

I "hang" the ribbon either before or after the first stitch, and then every ten stitches (using it also to help me count!).
As Dee says, the fabric or ribbon must remain BEHIND the cast-on. Here you can see my cast-on stitches in front of the ribbon, with a loop of green every ten stitches.

I have way too much ribbon for this project, but that's OK—it just hangs down, no big deal. I figured too much would be better than not enough. I cast on over 600 stitches for a project once, and you never know when I might do it again!

I found out the hard way that even doing this, it's still possible to twist the stitches when I join them in the round. However, it's obvious right away. I didn't have to knit a whole round before I realized it. The whole width of the ribbon twisted up and forced me to face reality.

Here's another view of the same cast-on, in case it's helpful. Another thing about my ribbon is that one side is satiny and the other side is matte, so I can tell at a glance which side I'm looking at (and therefore, whether it SHOULD be in front or in back).

I won't be surprised if this technique starts showing up in knitting reference books—it's that handy.

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