Casting on- Master your basics
Amma had taken out all winter wears from the upper shelf of the wardrobe. This was her every years fixed routine, as soon as she feels winter is about to start, she will take out all winter wears, put them in gentle sunlight for couple of days and they are ready to use for everyone at home. No need to wash them again as she would have washed them gently, dried properly and then stored when winter is over.
Wondering why so much of concern and care for normal winter wears, that is because those all winter wears are hand made products of Amma and she knows exactly how to take care of them with years of her experience. She has knitted variety of winter wears for everyone in her family and knitting is still continue…
Suddenly Tillu appears in front of her. Amma is not surprised, as Tillu is like her family member and she is always welcomed in Amma’s house. Tillu knows Amma’s yearly routine to take out and store winter wears but she is always excited to see variety of knitting patterns, perfect combinations of the colors, perfect finishes. She was thrilled to see a bed full of beautiful hand made winter wears and suddenly asked, ” Amma, will I be ever able to make something like this?”
Amma looked at Tillu and paused for sometime, she remembered her childhood when she had asked same question to her grand-ma. She smiled and said, “Yes Tillu, why not? you can make everything what you are seeing here and many more, if you learn to knit.”
But Tillu was not convinced, she had her doubt, “Amma, I am scared, it is very beautiful but it looks very complicated.”
Amma came close to her, held her hand and said, “I can totally understand; a lot of people are afraid of knitting as it looks like a very complicated job and they never give a try, but you know what actually knitting is very easy and anyone can learn it if you are interested. You know what Tillu, even I was very scared of knitting and I used to feel only experts can knit sweaters or shawls, but I have a habit of giving a try to the thing which challenges me; if I could not do then at least I will have satisfaction that I tried. But with my experience I can assure you when we try, we succeed. Same is the case with knitting.”
Tillu’s eyes sparkled, “Amma, will you teach me?”
Amma replied, “Yes! Definitely Tillu!”
Tillu said, “But Amma, I don’t have any material.”
Amma said, “You don’t need many things to learn knitting, just a ball of yarn and good pair of needles that’s it. Come, lets start now itself, bring that pair of needles and yarn lying on my rocking chair”
Tillu ran and brought material, she was very excited, after all she was going to start learning knitting. By that time Amma had made place on the bed for them to sit, “Come here” she said, “Today, I will teach you the first step of knitting that is casting on means how to start first row for any project.
Casting on is the first step of knitting. It forms the first row of stitches and one selvage of the finished article, usually the bottom, or hem edge. So if you want to learn knitting you have to master this Tillu. :-)”
Tillu was carefully listening, she didn’t want to miss a single word. Amma continued explaining, “Let us learn how to form slip knot for the first stitch, first make a loop at around 6″ from yarn end then insert needle under the short length to draw through a loop and pull the yarn to tighten it.”
Tillu started practicing this, with couple of failed attempts finally she understood the technique and felt great for her achievement. Amma had gone out to show some sunlight to the winter wears she had taken out, when she came back Tillu showed her how to form slip knot with victorious expressions, she was excited to learn further.
Amma sat next to her and said, “Very good Tillu, let us move forward. See there are many methods of casting on; but I mainly use 5 of them which I will teach you.
REMEMBER: Each of this method is best suited to a particular type of knit or situation, depending on the elasticity or firmness required, and the simplicity or elaborateness of the appearance desired.
The character of a cast-on edge is determined not only by the way in which stitches are put on the needle, but also by the way they are worked off. Knitting into the stitch fronts produces a loosed edge whereas knitting into the backs gives a firmer edge.”
Tillu realized that, these were very useful and precious tips which Amma had got from her grand-ma and with her own years of experience so she quickly jotted down in her diary. She wanted to always remember these tips whenever she would start new knitting project.
Amma was telling, ” Tillu, stitches of the cast-on row should be uniform in size or the edge will be untidy. Spread the stitches on the needle and the gap you see between stitches should be the same through out. It is worth the time to re-do them if the first attempt is unsatisfactory, with little practice you can get hold over this. The cast-on stitches should also be moderately loose so they will be easy to work off. If yours tend to be snug, try working over one of the methods with two needles.”
Tillu was trying to grasp as much as possible but she was not sure whether she was understanding it fully. Amma understood her situation, she patted on Tillu’s back and said, “Tillu, its ok if you don’t get it fully, I will explain you as and when required.” She could feel Tillu was relieved immediately.
Suddenly Amma realized that she had missed something important so she said, “Tillu, another important thing to remember here is, when you are casting on a large number of stitches, slip a coil ring marker or different color yarn loop on the needle at every 10 or 25 stitches to keep the count easier.”
By this time Tillu had got over loaded with lots of new information about knitting and she definitely wanted to review and fix it permanently in her mind. Amma also had to cook lunch so both of them stopped for the day. Tomorrow, Tillu will start learning methods of casting on-
Two Needles Methods-
One Needle Methods-
I hope you enjoyed my writing along with learning, please let me know your comments!
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