Provisional Cast On Tutorial


Learn how to do a provisional cast on with this lovely tutorial from Paola Albergamo. You can use this tutorial to help you complete the Boccioli Infinity Scarf from the April 2017 issue of I Like Knitting. Enjoy!

Take a length of waste yarn longer than the length of the finished CO, to comfortably hold all necessary stitches.

1) Make a slip knot with the working yarn and place it on the needle.

2) Hold the needle, the working yarn and the waste yarn tails with your right hand, keeping the waste yarn in front of the working yarn.

provisonal cast on 1
Put the left hand around the long strands of both working yarn and waste yarn, with working yarn over the thumb and waste yarn over your index finger.

3) Bring your needle under the working yarn, thus picking up a loop of yarn.
This is your second stitch.

provisonal cast on 2.jpg

4) Turn over your left hand so to reverse the positions of working yarn and waste yarn. In this way, the working yarn wrap itself under the waste yarn.

provisonal cast on 3.jpg
5) Bring your needle under the working yarn, thus picking up your third stitch.

Repeat Steps 4-5 until you reach the total number of stitches to cast-on.

provisonal cast on 4.jpg

  • Jeannie C.

    Well then. I really wanted to do this, but after reading through the comments, I’ll pass :'( It would have been nice had you taken the time to respond to ANY of them. I’ll skip the magazine, also.

  • I use the provisional cast on by crocheting a chain a few numbers beyond what you are casting on using waste yarn and then you knit into the bump side of the chain however many you need to start your project. If your pattern called for casting on 50 stitches you would chain 55-60 and start a few chains up from the bottom to start your cast on. When you need to pick up the live stitches from the provisional cast on the waste yarn should slip off as you are picking up the live stitches. If you use two different yarns I find that helpful and if you are sure to catch the bump side of the chain and don’t let the chain twist and turn you can literally zip the waste yarn away from the picked up stitches. The provisional allows you to go back and pick up live stitches so to speak. I’ve used this method on the harvest cardigan and on a brioche poncho where the pattern had you go back and pick up the provisional cast on for the turtle neck part of the pattern. I hope this is helpful.

  • Margaret M.

    This is not a cast on to replace a long tail or short tail cast on. This is a metnod of casting on so you have two sets of live stitches. You start toe up socks with this or you can knit a scarf with no visible seam using this cast on. It is useful but there are better ways and better instructions out there.

  • minerva

    Forget it! I am 92 and knitting since I was 10. I will cast on the old fashioned way. But I will give a hint to my knitting enthusiasts:
    You will no longer have to guess how long the end should start out with, (either end up with it too long, or did not leave enough yarn and had to do it over? If you don’t already know how to avoid that from happening, ..
    a.) if the pattern calls for 50 cast on,
    b.) wrap the beginning of the yarn around the needle loosely 50 times.
    c.) slide the yarn off the needle, and d.) make a slip knot where the 50 wraps ended.
    e.) begin your pattern.
    If you do that you will never have your starting end too long or too short. Hope that helps..

  • Diane C.

    I know how to do this, and I found the instructions confusing. The videos on YouTube are better.

  • Tessa P.

    If the instructions in the magazine are as confusing as this tutorial, I don’t think I’m ready to subscribe. As someone trying to learn this cast on, there seem to be a lot of steps missing, like how do you hold the ends of the yarn in your left hand so you can position them properly over your fingers?

  • Ulrika R.

    That seems too cumbersome to do. I suggest that you do a crochet cast on with scrap yarn, then just start knitting with the yarn you want to use.

  • Christy

    I found this perfectly clear – the pictures were good and my wrist seemed to copy each picture naturally. Many thanks – I know I’ll find this a useful technique and I wish I’d learned it earlier in my knitting life.

  • Heather F.

    This is the hardest way to do a provisional cast-on. Check out using a crochet hook and knitting needle to do it easiest way!

  • Maureen A.

    I have looked at the photos and read every word . I still don’t get it. It’s very confusing, not enough details.

  • Kathy H.

    Thank you! This is the simplest and fastest provisional cast on I have seen! A photo of how to pick up the working yarn after you have turned your left hand over would make things a bit clearer. I thought after the first row, I had done it wrong, but after 1 or 2 more rows, it shows that it worked out beautiful! Thanks again!

  • Shirley E.

    This doesn’t make sense. Trying to follow written directions is impossible. You need more specifics and directional words if they matter. Do you turn hand left to right, right to left, or top to bottom? At what point do you go under thread? right by last stitch? under thumb? around waste thread? Have a novice proofread for you to make sure it makes sense to people who don’t already know how YOU do it.

    • Denice

      A video showing how to do it would help. Difficult to understand what to do with the scrap yarn???

  • Judith T.

    How is this method better than long tail cast on? Is there some situation where this method is preferred?


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