So on a very frosty morning here in middle England, I am thinking about the cast on method used in the Elijah pattern I posted about recently. Looks like it would be a perfect day to get out into the garden (my other big love) but decorating the Christmas tree and finishing off the table stockings are going to take priority today.
Elijah is knit in the round, starting at his head and his body is joined to his head by picking up stiches, and arms, legs, and ears are then joined in the same way in turn. The cast on for his head is a circular, disappearing middle cast on. Ysolda’s pattern directs the knitter to a techknitting blog page which explains how to cast on.
Trying this cast on for the first time is not for the faint hearted. I cannot repeat the language that I was using trying to cast on my first Elijah head; fortunately I was sat in hotel room in Manchester all alone on a work trip so no one else had to hear me. Following the diagrams is not easy, and once you’ve worked out what you’re actually meant to be doing, and you’ve tried five or six times and got the stitches cast on to one needle, you then have to distribute them over three needles and knit them. Well you’ll almost certainly have to cast on again because a needle is bound to slip out at least once. I know this from experience being on Elijah number nine.
What I have learned from repeating this cast on a number of times…
- Use bamboo needles if you’ve got them and not metal
- Use a crochet hook to do the initial cast on rather than a knitting needle
- Keep everything as tight as possible
- Keep the yarn taught by clamping in between your knees (or any thing else that will serve that purpose) and wrap the yarn around your had twice so you’ve got two parallel pieces of yarn across your hand. (Picture to follow)
- Be patient
- Then have a go at belly buttons or umbilical waste cord method
So I’m yet to try the belly buttons or umbilical cord methods simply because I’ve only just found out about them when I was linking the disappearing loop page to this post. I will reserve judgement on this method until I’ve tried it but will let you know which I prefer when I get round to it.