The Dreaded Provisional Cast On

Until very recently, I had been avoiding learning to provisionally cast on stitches.


That’s a very good question. I’ve been avoiding it because the last time I researched it, the tutorial that came up looked complicated and involved a crochet hook. And I’m a giant, class A chicken when it comes to anything using a crochet hook.

But then I wanted to make the Downtown Clutch, and that pattern calls for a provisional cast on. So I was faced with a choice, I could suck it up and learn a new technique, or I could find something else to knit.

So I went for it.

Now, as I’m sure many of you know, a provisional cast on is simply a method of casting on stitches that keeps the stitches on the cast on edge live. It allows you to go back, undo the cast on, and knit in the opposite direction. That can be useful for a variety of design elements. In the case of the Downtown Clutch, it was for the hem at the top of the bag.

A quick google search will show you that there are many, many different ways of accomplishing this type of cast on, including ones that don’t involve use of a crochet hook. That was the one I selected.

For the first side of the bag, I went with this tutorial from Since I am a leftie, I held my needles in the opposite hand as in the video and managed to get the stitches onto the needles, after a false start or two.

Once I got the hang of it, the cast on went pretty quickly. When the time can to undo the cast on, the scrap yarn came out smoothly. Half of the stitches were twisted, which the tutorial warned me about.


I fixed the twisted stitches as I knit, and once I was a couple of rows in, everything looked good.

When the time came to start the second side, I was looking for the original tutorial, but came across one from instead. It looked a little bit easier, so I decided to give it a try.

The stitches went onto the needle easily enough, and when the time came to undo the cast on, that all went smoothly too.

However, for some reason (which could very well be knitter’s error), these stitches were much looser than the ones from the first cast on. To me, they looked a bit sloppy.

So, while the second tutorial was easier as far as casting on goes, I was less happy with the entire process, so I think if I do a provisional cast on again, I’ll probably stick with the tutorial from

But the good news is, I’m no longer scared of doing a provisional cast on.

Now I just need to address my fear of crochet.

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