There are LOTS of ways to work a provisional cast on, I find this method a little less fussy than the crochet chain method, although both work just fine. I find lefties are concerned this method won’t work for them, but I assure you it is a 2 handed process (just like knitting), you don’t need to work anything differently.
You will need: a crochet hook, your needle, waste yarn
Note: the size of the crochet hook doesn’t matter, the tension of your cast on is determined by your needle, not the hook.
Step 1: Using waste yarn wake a slip knot and place it over the hook
Step 2: place your needle to the left of your crochet hook with the yarn UNDER the needle
Step 3: move your hook OVER the needle, grab the yarn with your hook and pull it through the slip knot on the hook
Step 4: Once you are finished pulling through the loop, the yarn will be OVER the needle. To put it in position to work the next next stitch you need to bring it BETWEEN the needle and the hook so it is again UNDER the needle.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the desired number of sts are on your needle (do not include the st on the crochet hook). Once the last st has been cast on leave the yarn where it is (do not more it under the needle)
Step 5: with your hook, grab the yarn and pull a loop through the loop on the crochet hook
Work step 5 a few times – you are creating a small crochet chain that will help you when you are un-picking the provisional cast on.
Now that all of your sts have been cast on you can start working with the yarn for your project. If you are working in the round, your work will not be joined in the round until the second round.
NOTE: The first round after this type of provisional cast on should be knit or purled. If you work ribbing or a pattern stitch it will be difficult to un-pick the provisional cast on (it will work but it doesn’t ‘unzip’ easily like it does if the first row/round is entirely knit or entirely purled)
So you have worked your provisional cast on (either this one or this one) and you are ready for step 2: unpicking your provisional cast on and putting the live sts on the needles.
Unpicking the provisional cast on and putting sts back on the needles:
Step 1: Unpick the knot in your crochet chain and start to unravel.
Step 2: Start picking up sts. You can either insert your needle first, then pull the provisional cast on loop out, or you can pull the provisional cast on loop out first and pick up the hanging live st.
There you have it! Continue picking up sts and un-picking the provisional cast on until you have them all. Sometimes there is one fewer stitch than you cast on, even though you don’t have any dropped sts. This happens because the pick up is actually 1/2 stitch off and it’s easy to miss the first one. Not to worry, just increase by 1 st on the next row.
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Patterns that use the provisional cast on: