A reader recently sent me this question by e-mail:
I’m in the middle of making baby slippers…a pattern I got off of Lionbrand’s website. It requires you to cast on 10 stitches at the end of a knit row. For some reason I’m drawing a blank. Any advice would help!
Several of my pet knitting projects – Fingerless Mitts, Barefoot Diva Socks – have design features that are basically modified buttonholes. These require binding off a certain number of stitches on one round, and then at a later point (next round on the mitts, several rows later on the socks), casting stitches back on.
Because these projects are worked in the round, they’re not quite the same as casting on extra stitches at the end of a row. But the approach I use may be helpful for either situation.
Most often the advice I see for casting on additional stitches in the middle of a project, or at the end of a row, will recommend using the Backwards E Cast On (video demo found here). I find this is okay if you’re just adding a stitch or two. If you’re casting on a longer section, however, it’s my experience (your mileage may vary) that the Backwards E tends to be tight to knit into, and has an issue of additional slack building up between the stitches – leaving excess loops at your new edge.
What I prefer to use instead is the Cabled Cast On. This gives an elastic edge, with stable stitches to work into on the next round, and can be worked from your current working yarn on your knitting project (without adding in any additional yarn).
There are lots of pictures with this tutorial, so I’m going to put them after the jump. If you want to learn how I cast on in the middle of a row/round, then read on!
My instructions are for working a cast-on in the middle of a piece that’s being worked in the round. If you are casting on at the end of a row of flat knitting, you can follow these instructions up to the point where you’ve cast on your last stitch, and ignore the rest. Simply turn your work and continue to knit flat as per your pattern instructions.
General note – as you’ll see, I knit continental style, carrying the yarn in my left hand. I don’t do English style well enough to photograph for you, but with a little imagination, I’m sure you can picture where the yarn would be coming from for that method. I am also right handed – I am afraid that I must leave you lefties to your usual devices for translating these instructions.
All these images can be viewed larger for better detail by clicking on them.
Having bound off some stitches on the previous round, I’m now looking at a needle with stitches at either end, but a gap in the middle (Fig. 1). The plan is to cast on stitches to bridge that gap as I work across the needle on this round.
I work the stitches at the beginning of the needle. (Fig. 2)
The working yarn is coming from its normal stitching position, the back of the last stitch on the right hand needle.
Then I turn the work around. (Fig. 3)
I also moved the working yarn so that it will come from what is now the back of the first stitch on the left needle.
To begin the casting on, insert the right hand needle tip between the first two stitches on the left hand needle. (Fig. 4)
Now, pick up the working yarn with the tip of the right hand needle in exactly the same manner as if you’re working a stitch. (Fig. 5)
And pull the yarn through to the front. (Fig. 6)
Now, the new stitch you created must be transferred from the right hand needle to the left. Insert the tip of the left needle into the front leg of the stitch on the right hand needle, passing from right to left. (Fig. 7) To visualize this, imagine that you are knitting the stitch left handed.
Remove the right hand needle, leaving the new stitch on the tip of the left. (Fig. 8 )
Voila! You’ve now cast on one stitch using the Cable Cast On technique. To continue, simply repeat these steps, beginning with inserting the right needle between the new first two stitches on the left. (Fig. 9)
Continue until you’ve cast on the required number of stitches, as specified in the pattern. (Fig. 10)
If you are knitting in the flat, you would be ready now to just work back across the stitches on your left hand needle, following the instructions in your pattern. If you’re knitting in the round, as I am, you must now join the cast on stitches to the existing work.
To continue in the round, then, turn your knitting so the working yarn is coming from the last cast on stitch on the right hand needle. (Fig. 11)
Following your pattern instructions, work the first stitch on the left hand needle in the normal fashion, but keeping a tight tension to prevent any slack from forming at the join. (Fig. 12)
Stitch around the entire round of knitting, working the cast on stitches per your pattern instructions as if they were normal stitches. When you have worked the last of the cast on stitches, look closely at the point where they join again. You may notice, in spite of working the stitch tightly on the previous round, that there’s a little extra slack. (Fig. 13)
If so, knit the next stitch through the back loop to take up a little of that slack. (Fig. 14) This helps to prevent a small hole from forming at that point.
And that is it – simple, but with a little extra attention to details that could otherwise make your end results look sloppy.
Whew – my first true knitting tutorial! I hope it’s of some help to you. If anyone has any questions, or their own tips about this process, by all means feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me via the link at the top of the page.