Provisional Cast On

It seems there are several ways to accomplish the provisional cast on. I’m wondering if one method is better than another for specific projects. One for lace, one for socks, etc. Or is it just personal preference?
Thanks everyone!

I’m not an expert at this, but I would say that if the pattern doesn’t specify a particular cast on, it would be personal preference.


I use an e-loop cast on with the waste yarn for short cast ons - and a crochet cast on if it’s longer. Unless of course, there’s another type recommended.


It is personal preference unless the pattern calls for something specific. It also depends on how you will be picking up those live stitches later.

For socks, I now use the Turkish cast on for my toe up socks. But that is my preference.


Ooooooo, Turkish cast on. Something else New to learn! Thank you.

holy cow, that was a new one to me. Thank you!

Ya’ll need Wendy D. Johnson’s (aka wendyknits) book Socks from the Toe Up…great explanations of toe cast-ons! Including Turkish.


I have hat book somewhere. Have to find it.

Or just YouTube it!

Agree re personal preference. I no longer ever use the one where you make a chitchat chain, instead I use the crochet hook to put the stitches directly on the needle.

For an easy “looser” cast-on I like German Twisted. I also like Judy’s magic cast-on. I’ve never done the 2-color Italian CO, but glanced at it in a book the other day & I think it may be similar to Judy’s. Please chime in if I’m way off base with that.

I am also a big fan of the tubular CO, esp for hats. There are a zillion COs to choose from.


Oh that tubular cast on! I bet I ripped and restarted 6 times the first and only time I did that! That one is going to take way more practice.

Definitely personal preference. I usually use the “pick up in the back loop of a crochet chain,” but that’s because it’s the easiest one for me to remember.

You can also knit a few rows with waste yarn and pick that out later, but I love the unzipping of the crochet chain.

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This is exactly what I was wondering. I saw a reference in a Lorilee Beltman video where it looked like someone had just knit a few rows with scrap yarn and then started knitting with working yarn, and she said “pick up the live stitches” and I assume cut off the scrap yarn. That seems so much easier to me. I can do the crochet chain but I don’t like that thick chain hanging in the way as I knit.

Also looking at the afterthought heel videos made me think this is a good way to go. Pick up your live stitches and clip out the waste yarn.

Did I get this concept right?

Yes. You’re picking up live loops headed in the opposite direction from your original knitting. Then you clip out the waste yarn. Me? I clip the waste yarn somewhere close, and then unthread my waste yarn from the live stitches. I don’t want to accidentally clip my live stitches.

Thank you so much! I just had to provisionally cast on 90-some stitches and I used the crochet chain but then it was so bulky and annoying that I scrapped it and used a regular cast on. This will work for me in the future.

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You can also do a Long-Tail Cast On using 2 yarns - the waste yarn over the thumb and the working yarn over the index/pointer finger. I join the 2 with a slip knot that is dropped.
Then you can clip the loop of the waste yarn every few stitches to remove it.

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I think this is what the TECHknitter calls the COWYAK method (Cast On with Waste Yarn And Knit) . It really is the simplest method, I think.


I tried it! And what do you know- I liked the waste yarn with the brown yarn so much that I’m now planning to use it as an accent! But I do think it will work and for me it’s much easier.

Actually, it could serve the purpose of knocking out a gauge sample at the same time.