Learning the Basics

Over Christmas one of my aunts, who is extremely crafty, asked how I was going in my knitting adventures. I told her that my biggest problem is that my cast-ons are always loose. She very kindly gifted me a class on Craftsy called 40 Ways to Cast On & Bind Off. And I have to say that this class is fantastic! Not only are the instructions very clear and easy to follow but Craftsy, which I had never used before, has wonderful features for their video classes.

My favourite feature is the ’30 second repeat’. This was great because once you activated it, it would loop whichever segment of the video you need to focus on and you aren’t actually strictly limited to a 30 second loop. You could very easily select the exact timeframe you need – no fuss, no extraneous content.

The other feature that I used was adjusting the playback speed. You could choose to play the video at quarter, half, normal, time and a half, or double speed. While I never used the slower speeds I did make use of the faster speeds. It’s an excellent way to just rush through the content so you can see what it’s all about before deciding whether or not you want to take part in the lesson. Since I’ve started using this, I find myself looking for it in YouTube videos as well. Alas…

For this lesson, the content was first split into cast ons and bind offs. These two were then further split into basic, ribbed and stretchy. There’s also a segment for provisional cast ons, which I only started to skim before realising it’s not a skill I’ll be needing in the foreseeable future.

I decided that instead of waiting and using a new method for each new project (as my aunt is doing), I would create small swatches of each so that I have an idea of both what I enjoy doing and what each looks like. This way, when I do start a new project I can simply go to my swatches first and easily decide which method would be the most suitable.

Below are the images for my basic cast ons and bind offs. It’s very difficult to see the difference in the photographs but it will definitely help me when it comes to choosing cast ons and bind offs in the future. Also, please ignore the loops and tails in my swatches. Nothing has been woven in yet, obviously, and the loops are there to help me keep track of what is what until I can attach them to index cards or the like. The images depict the following BASIC methods:

  • Long tail cast on; traditional bind off
  • Knitted cast on; Russian bind off
  • Purled cast on; decrease bind off
  • Cable cast on; traditional bind off
  • Italian cast on (stretchy); three needle bind off (basic)
  • Long tail cast on; kitchener bind off

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