The Winding Cast-on

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This is a highly effective and quick cast-on. It’s most often used as a provisional cast-on, yet if worked with the main yarn as a permanent cast-on it hides right into the fabric. It is in fact the true opposite of a graft, which makes it very useful indeed.

This cast-on is worked over two same sized circular or interchangeable needles, held parallel. The cast-on can sometimes be a little loose, especially if one half of the stitches are held for a long time, so choose needles that are one or two sizes below those required for the main pattern. It’s also a good idea to have long circulars or cable length – this will stop the stitches bunching and let them sit comfortably without the risk of losing stitches.

This cast-on is similar to the Turkish Cast-on; a slightly different set up resulting in two sets of live stitches across two needles. It’s worth bearing in mind that this tutorial was written for the Lateralis collection where the patterns are worked flat, although the method could be adapted for working in the round.

1) Place a slip knot on the top needle and hold the yarn tail to the left, tucked out of the way.
2) Bring the yarn down across the front of both needles then underneath the bottom needle to come back up again behind.
3) Continue this process, winding in the same way. You can wrap the yarn the other way round to create the stitches but that means that the stitches will need re-orientating, or working into the back of, on the very first row.
4) Continue until you have the desired number of stitches. Remember that each full wrap creates two stitches – one on the top needle, one on the bottom. You are now ready to start working the stitches.
5) Gently pull the lower circular needle through, allowing it to hang out of the way. Ensure that the yarn goes underneath the cable as shown, as you’ll need it at the back to start the next stitch. If the yarn isn’t taken underneath the cable before you start knitting then it will reduce the number of wraps by one.
6) It’s important to remember to work directly with the same yarn and treat this first row of stitches worked as the first row in the pattern – do not work a plain row first! If you worked the cast-on with a smaller needle, now switch to the main needle and insert it into the first stitch as normal.
7) Wrap the yarn around the needle and pull the stitch through – the first stitch of the first row of the pattern is now worked.
8) Continue working the stitches in this first row as directed by the pattern. As you reach the end of the first set of stitches you will find the slip knot that you started with – where possible, slip this slip knot onto the lower needle cable and hold it there until the 2nd set of live stitches are ready to be worked. The slip knot isn’t to be treated as a stitch but as an anchor, and it will help make sure that the first stitch of the 2nd set of stitches doesn’t get lost.
Continue working the stitches as directed by your pattern – in some patterns you may be asked to work on one set of stitches only, to return to the 2nd set at a later point. In other patterns you will work both sets of stitches in one row, which will take careful management of the needles (either DPNs or magic loop).

If the 2nd set of stitches are held for a long time, then the stitches may get a little saggy – this is easily fixed by tightening up the stitches one by one with a tapestry needle, working towards the slip knot/yarn tail.


As always, if you have a question about this technique or need some help with it, leave a comment below! I’m afraid I’m unable to offer help via email or private message, but you’re welcome to post in our forum.


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