Sunday, June 3, 2007

QUICKtip: the best first stitch or: "how to avoid the slip knot"

(This little tip has already been on this blog, but it is buried at the end of a long post on long-tail casting-on, and it's so neat that it deserves its own little entry.)

The point of this blog is to infest your mind with all the little improving viruses which currently infest mine. So here's the best way, in my mind, to make the first stitch in your casting on. (FYI: this also works for the first stitch in crocheting.)

If you make a simple loop, there's no knot, and a knot (even the slipknot recommended by most instructors as the first stitch of your cast-on) leaves a nasty little nub in your work--best avoided.

To start your cast on with a simple loop, just insert your needles and twist, and there's the first stitch, waiting on your needles. If the loop unwinds when you make the second stitch, that only means that you made the loop with the wrong end up. Twist it the other way and try again.

BTW: The illustration shows two needles because for many kinds of casting-on (long tail, in particular), it IS best to cast on over two needles.

(You have been reading TECHknitting on: "how to avoid the slipknot")


LaurieM said...

I don't agree that it is best to cast on over two needles. If you are doing a long tail cast on, and you want to do it loosely because the item needs a stretch edge (say for socks), then using two needles just makes the first row sloppy.

The part that determines if the cast on edge is stretchy is not the loop on the needle, but rather the loop that is off the needle, the one that is created by the "tail". Working this part of the cast on loosely is much more important.

--TECHknitter said...

LaurieM--thanks for writing. Perhaps you and I are talking about different techniques, because with the long-tail method about which I am talking, the tail part makes the loop OVER the two needles. Rather than trying to free-hand "loosely," casting on over two needles assures the correct tension. There is a great deal more about this in the long-tail post (link in the current post). Thanks, as always, for your input.


LaurieM said...

I'm sorry I didn't read your original post the first time I came by. You're right, we are talking about different techniques for doing the same cast on. However, I note that your original post also makes mention that the stitches on the needle will look loose.

I think experience will make any technique work well. Of course I prefer my technique because I've been doing it for quite some time. I can rationalize my preference by saying that because it gives me more control I can use the correct needle size for that first row. :-)

Clair St. Michel said...

You're right - this deserves its own entry. Thanks for calling it to my attention.

somebunnysloveDOTcom said...

OMG! I always wondered about using a loop instead of the slipknot. Thanks for the assertion that using a loop was okay.
Bunny hugs,

BW said...

Hiya TECHknitter,

I first saw this in the original post that you are referring to and yes, it sure does deserve its own place. Ever since I saw this first stitch method, I have been using it and love it.

I also want to say, that this blog and the work that you put into it is awesome! Have come back to knitting this past year and this is the first place that I come look now if I want to clarify something or learn how to do something that I either didn't know, or have forgotten.

I came here a couple of weeks ago to see how to do a left and right double decrease. If it is here, I was not able to find it. Found posts elsewhere on the right slanting double decrease, but didn't find too much good stuff on the left double decrease. If not too much trouble, would like very much to see how you approach them.

Thanks again for your hard is appreciated :D

Jen said...

This is especially good if you are doing a cast-on like Queen Kahuna's for toe-up socks.

I learned to do a long-tail by starting with my right needle on top of the yarn but not wrapped in it and making the regular casting-on motion. You get two loops on the needle that way. I have never made a slipknot for a cast-on. :)

stickasticka said...

Oh! Thank you!!!