December 02, 2021
Have you ever needed to work a provisional cast-on and weren’t sure what to do? This crochet provisional cast-on tutorial is for you! A provisional cast-on doesn’t refer to any particular cast-on method, but rather to the idea of a temporary cast-on that can be undone later, leaving live stitches that you can knit in the opposite direction. You can cast on provisionally with any method using waste yarn, but we love this crochet method because it’s easy to work and unzips easily to release the live stitches. You don’t need to know how to crochet to use this method.
For a crochet provisional cast-on, you’ll need:
- some smooth waste yarn (nothing mohair or fuzzy!) in a similar size to your working yarn or a bit thinner
- a crochet hook that’s a similar size to your working needles
Step 1. Begin by making a slipknot and placing it onto the crochet hook.
Step 2. Hold your crochet hook in your right hand, and an empty knitting needle in your left hand. Cross the crochet hook in front of the knitting needle at a 90 degree angle, with the long tail of the scrap yarn behind the left needle. Wrap the yarn from behind the knitting needle, over the crochet hook.
Step 3. Draw the yarn through through the slip knot on your hook. One stitch has now been cast on.
Step 4. Prepare for the next stitch by bringing the scrap yarn over the hook, but not drawing it through yet. Position the knitting needle between the loop on the hook and the wrap for the new stitch.
Step 5. With the knitting needle now between the loop and the wrap, draw the wrap through the loop to cast on another stitch.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you’ve cast on the required number of stitches.
Alternative method for steps 4 and 5: After completing a stitch, bring the yarn to the back between the hook and the needle, and then wrap the scrap yarn around the hook and draw through to create the next stitch.
To finish off the waste yarn, work a few extra chain stitches: [wrap the yarn around the hook and draw it through the loop on the needle] about 5 times. Then cut the waste yarn and pass the end through the final loop.
Now you can join your working yarn and work into your provisional cast on!
Ready to remove the provisional cast-on.
Begin at the end of the provisional cast-on where you worked the extra chain stitches. Unpick the end of the yarn until a loop is exposed. Pulling on the end will now unzip the chain.
As you unzip the provisional cast-on, place the live stitches onto a working needle.
Since the stitches have been turned upside-down, there will be a half-stitch at the end of the row. Once you’ve picked up all your live stitches, compare your stitch count with the required number and adjust by picking up or dropping a half stitch at the edge - nothing will unravel.
You can use the provisional crochet cast-on anywhere a provisional cast on is needed. You can also use this crochet method to cast on with your working yarn rather than waste yarn as it makes a pretty edge that matches a standard bind-off.
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