Switching horses mid-stream


While I'm really excited about my current project for Stitch Diva, this particular stretch of the piece has dogged me. I originally calculated and cast on for this section on Saturday, while watching The Queen and enjoying a glass of wine. After more than 25 years of knitting, you'd think I'd know that I needed a little more focus than that, to calculate a pattern. I'm obviously a slow learner. I cast on 250 stitches, using the long tail cast-on, (my personal favorite for it's speed,) only, BAH, not enough tail.

So I ripped, and cast on again and made it. I knit my 250 (give or take) stitches for 20 rows, during the movie, and a bit the following day, before realizing that my calculations were off. Oh, yes, there was ripping.


I focused myself on my calculations. I checked my work, and cast on again. After three tries, to get the cast on tail the right length, I nearly chucked my work out a window. Less stubborn knitters than I might have tried a couple of alternatives, such as:

  • A knitted on or cabled cast on, which requires no tail.
    Vetoed because I find it so dreadfully slow to do, I'd rather rip the long tail out forever and redo, like Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the mountain.

  • Long tail cast on worked from both ends of a center pull ball.
    Vetoed because it means another end to weave in. Also vetoed because of the aforementioned stubbornness.

  • Actually note the length of the tail for the failed cast on and extrapolate the needed additional length from there.
    Vetoed because I'm stupid.

But, all stubbornness and stupidity aside, I nearly did admit defeat and put the item in temporary time-out, until I realized that the cast on will be completely concealed with crochet. There is no way anyone is going to be able to see it. This gave me an option, when I realized I was about 50 stitches short of my goal. When I was left with a sufficient tail to weave in the end, but not enough to complete the cast on, I switched to a knitted on cast on.


This puts a little tail in the middle of the cast on. To the right of the tail, in the image, is the long tail cast on, to the left is the knitted on cast on.

Here she is, really close up


Personally, I would never do this if the cast on would be visible. There's a pretty noticeable difference and it would irk me even if no one else ever noticed. But since this baby will be obscured by crochet, there's no harm, no foul and my sanity is preserved.


looks like tilli tomas yarn to me, I sooo love that yarn!

Well I can sympathize as I was having a similar knitting weekend....trying to figure out this short rowing thing while trying to maintain a cable pattern...like you, lots of ripping and starting over...sleepless nights obsessed with working it out...it came eventually! It does comfort me that more seasoned knitters still go through similar struggles...often I imagine that other designers get their idea and then flawlessly execute it!
Did you enjoy the Queen? I found it rather splendid!

Pixie, I was thinking the same thing; I have some TT in Ruby Wine in stash, and this looks like it! (Or American Beauty...?) In any event, it's a beautiful yarn and I can't wait to see what you're patterning!

so my totally crappy solution when that happens is to tie more yarn onto the long tail, or if it's wool, spit-splice it and keep on casting on. I know, so tacky. But I'm lazy like that.

I think it looks fantastic! and that yarn is delicious...

This made me smile, and you know that's a feat lately. I would have done the EXACT same thing, but I like the splicing idea from Carrie.

Whatever it's going to be, that yarn is beautiful!

Ok, whichever way you cast on, that looks luscious! What is the yarn?

Ok, whichever way you cast on, that looks luscious! What is the yarn?

nice fix. lily chin suggested that on a recent knitty gritty and i didn't like it (because like you said, there's a huge difference in the way to 2 cast ons look). but for yours, with the crochet to cover it up, it's perfect :)

I always say "never every give up" that is my knitting mantra--I am so looking forward to the new design process...

I always say "never every give up" that is my knitting mantra--I am so looking forward to the new design process...

Lately if I have to cast on an extraordinarily high number of stitches and I know I won't be able to leave myself the right amount of tail, I just do a crochet cast on. Its almost as fast as double tail and it looks nearly identical to the bind off. I wish I could post a link to the exact cast on I am talking about but I am not really seeing it. I learned it from Sally Melville's first knitting experience book.

Hi Marnie! De-lurking to share something you might not have seen. I just moved to Portland and hadn't yet discovered Macleay Park, so when I saw your post, I looked it up! It's got quite the history: http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=ViewPark&PropertyID=246

Thought you might enjoy it!

You're making me dizzy. I'll be glad when I know exactly what this is going to turn out to be, because the process is...well...

Pass the merlot. Also, that colour of yarn is so me, I'm kind of dying. It's IT.

(Drama 'R' Us these days. Sorry :-))

How interesting -- I much prefer cable cast-on to long tail... because I find it so much faster! (and because you don't have that tail issue to sort out. and because the stitches are easier to knit in the first row.)

Definitely more than one way to skin the proverbial cat.

I hate casting on...so I sympathize completely. I almost exclusively use the cable cast on so I don't have to worry about the tail running out. What a great fix for your cast on woes and...that yarn is to die for! :)

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This page contains a single entry by Marnie published on July 10, 2007 5:54 AM.

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