17 January 2016

Italian Cast-On

One difference between beginning knitters and intermediate or advanced knitters is that novice knitters tend to only know only one or two cast-ons. A good cast-on can make an edge look professional, well-crafted. A poor match between cast-on and fabric can make a project look amateurish, even if the knitter has correctly executed the directions. For 1×1 ribbing — and, therefore, reversible lace — I like the look of one-color Italian cast-on. When worked in two colors, the cast-on can be used for double-knitting. It also works well for brioche knitting.

Notice that the maneuvers are essentially the same as knits and purls. Stitches are cast-on in knit-purl (or purl-knit) pairs, which is why this cast-on does not work well for plain stockinette.

To cast-on a knit stitch:
duck the right needle front to back underneath the front yarn,
wrap the back yarn as you would when making a knit stitch Continental style,
bring the yarn forward as if pulling up a knit stitch.

To cast-on a purl stitch:
duck the right needle back to front underneath the back yarn,
wrap the front yarn as you would when making a purl stitch,
take the yarn backward as if pulling up a purl stitch.

If you can remember these two maneuvers, you should be able to remember how to work Italian cast-on whenever you need it, without having to look it up every time.


Tap2323 said...

Fabulous explanation!
I know how to do the Italian Cast On (rote muscle memory), but I had never equated it with knitting and purling; makes so much sense after hearing/seeing your demonstration.

Laura said...

I love the demonstration! I have been contemplating the master knitter's certification again, and this would be a cast on for that. It would also work great for socks...maybe the next pair I cast on I'll use this one.