Subcribe Save Image

February issue of Let's Knit
Magazine on sale now.

Click Here

Want access to over 1,000
knitting patterns?


Provisional cast on

This method enables you to keep your first stitches ‘live’ (ready to knit) while you knit another section. The provisional cast on is later unravelled, which allows the first row of stitches to be returned to the needle and worked in the opposite direction. This produces a seamless join and is often used for making items that are closed at both ends. For example, you could use a provisional cast on when knitting a soft toy, then graft the two sets of stitches together to save sewing up. Alternatively, you could use this method to work two halves of a scarf in the same direction to avoid having to reverse a colourwork motif, or in order to cast off the stitches so the two ends are identical.

  • Provisional cast on - Step 1

    Step 1

    Use a spare needle and one of your main needles. Holding two needles parallel make a slip knot over both ends, pull tight. Hold a length of waste yarn underneath the working yarn. * Move the working yarn in front of the waste yarn, wrap it underneath then bring it over the needles from front to back. *

  • Provisional cast on - Step 2

    Step 2

    Rep from * to * until you have cast on the desired number of stitches. You should have the same number of stitches on the needle as the wraps around the waste yarn.

  • Provisional cast on - Step 3

    Step 3

    Keeping the two cast on needles in place, knit the first row. Now remove one or both of the cast on needles and begin to knit. After a few rows, remove the last needle. The cast on stitches will remain larger than the other stitches. Keep knitting until you have finished the necessary section.

  • Provisional cast on - Step 4

    Step 4

    To pick up the cast on stitches, insert your needle through the loops and remove the waste yarn. Give the needle a few gentle tugs to even out the stitches then begin knitting in the opposite direction.

Why not give one of these patterns a go?

Why not give one of these patterns a go?

Join our fantastic Instagram followers!

Follow @LetsKnitMag on Instagram and never miss out of the fun

Meet our crafts family