We all have our own bête noir that feels as if we should be able to defeat it, but somehow each time they raise their heads, they get the better of us. Three little words that strike terror into my heart are:
provisional cast on
For some reason, I really have to screw my brain up to get my fingers and needles to play nice enough to do a provisional long tail cast on. Okay, it not something that’s called for every project – and I’m sure that’s part of the problem – but still I feel it ought to come naturally by now.
This horrible feeling sunk over me again when I read the pattern I’d chosen for the yellow sweater and discovered I needed to provisionally cast on 288 stitches.
Much as I know the only way to become proficient to keep practising, I also knew me attempting to provisionally cast on 288 stitches using the provisional long tail method, was going be like me trying to swim the channel when the only time I swim is on holiday.
I wasn’t even going to go there. But I wasn’t going to give up on my pattern. I googled. If I knew knitting, there had to be another way to do it. And there it was. More than one. But the crochet chain provisional cast on sounded good to me – this involves crocheting a chain of stitches in waste yarn, slightly longer than the number of stitches you need to cast on, then knitting into the correct number of bumps for the cast on.
I crochet a chain of about 300 stitches with some waste yarn of the same weight as the yellow.
However, it was late on and the light wasn’t good, so when I started to knit into the bumps locating them wasn’t easy. It was also very fiddly and my doubts were growing about how easily my skinny crochet chain would unravel. With heavier weight yarns it would have been easy, but not ones this thin. I went to bed and left it for the daylight.
In the middle of the night, I woke with a thought; why not cast on and knit two or three rows with waste yarn then start knitting with the working yarn? When the provisional is ready for undoing, I can just cut off the cast on edge and frog the waste yarn until I reach the working stitches. I guess you could call it cast on steeking.
So that’s what I did.
I’ll certainly also use the crochet chain method for thicker yarn. I’d also still love to become proficient in provisional long tail cast on. I guess I’ll end up fumbling my yarn along with YouTube again, but what I’d really like is to take a workshop. As a kinaesthetic learner, this would be my preferred method as well as more fun and more sociable.
Anyway, moan over. The yellow sweater is at least finally cast on. My bête noir has returned to its swamp and I can get on with the knitting.
What about you? Do you have a crafting bête noir that you haven’t conquered yet?