Lesson 4: Crochet Cast On

Image: crochet cast on.

Crochet cast on is a very simple way to create a neat and professional border of your work on a flat bed knitting machine. A crochet hook or a latch tool can be used for this cast on, thus the name, crochet cast on. I used a crochet hook for this tutorial. There are a couple ways to do this cast on.

On this sunny afternoon in Arizona, I decided to open the windows for the cheerful sunlight to stream into the room. Prepare for very contrasting photos in the sunlight.

The first step is to engage the working needles as usual. Push the working needles to E-position (all the way forward) using the pushing tool.

Image: Working needles are in E-position.

Blue Cat makes sure that the working needles are in E-position.

The carriage can be either on the left or right of the working needles. However, the cast on should start at the end away from the carriage and move towards the carriage. When the cast on is done, the working end of the yarn should be on the same side where the carriage is. If you the carriage is not in the correct location, you can switch the holding cam lever to “H” (hold) position and move the carriage on the other side. Alternatively, you can take the carriage all the way out of the machine and insert it at the correct side. You don’t have to remove your stitches from the needles.

Let’s begin the cast on. Make a slip knot and insert the crochet hook (or a latch tool) between the first and second working needles just like in the photo below.

Image: crochet hook is between two needles with the slip knot on it.

With the slip knot on the crochet hook, slide the hook between the first two needles.

I am holding the working yarn in my left hand. Reposition your left hand so that the working yarn is above the needles and in front of the crochet hook.

Image: working yarn is in front of the crochet hook.

Working yarn wraps the first needle running in front of the crochet hook. (My assistant is pulling on the knot tail to make this picture more clear).

Use the hook to slip the yarn through the slip knot below the needles.

Image: crochet hook is pulling the yarn down and through the slip knot.

Crochet hook is pulling the yarn down and through the slip knot.

Image: the first stitch is created.

The first stitch is created. Now the crochet hook is back between the next set of needles. The working yarn needs to be moved in front of the hook.

Pull the yarn down through the next loop.

Image: the yarn is pulled down through the loop.

The yarn is pulled down through the loop.

Next, move the crochet hoot upwards between the adjacent set of two needles.

Image: crochet cast on.

For the purpose of this picture, I removed the hook from the last loop on the bottom right. You can see here how the yarn runs down through the loop between the needles.

Keep going in the same fashion until you reach one needle before last. Slip the yarn down between the last two hooks and cast the last loop onto the last needle.

Image: crochet cast on.

Crochet cast on is on all working needles.

The next picture shows better the last stitch and the yarn behind it.

Image: crochet cast on. The last stitch has the yarn behind it.

The last stitch is looped around the last needle with the yarn under and behind it. The carriage is on the right.

Run the working yarn under the carriage and through the yarn feeder. Close the yarn feeder.

Image: the yarn feeder is threaded and closed.

The yarn feeder is threaded and closed.

Below is the first row created by moving the carriage to the left.

Image: the first row is knitted.

The first row is knitted.

Attach the cast on comb to the work.

Image: the cast on comb is attached.

The cast on comb is attached to the work. This photo came out with high contrast. The comb is on the bottom. It’s white on the left and metallic on the right.

Knit as usual.

Image: machine knitted fabric.

The sample is ready to be removed from the machine.

I put my sample onto a hand knitting needle for this demo and blocked the sample with a steam iron to demonstrate the border created by a cast on with a crochet hook. As you can see, this border looks a lot like a manual cast on or bind off.

Image: crochet cast on border.

Crochet cast on border is ready.

I am sure, there are many ways to do a cast on with a crochet hook. Let me show you one other way to do it. You will need a crochet hook and a transfer tool.

This fabulous set of crochet hooks was sent to me directly from Russia. These hooks are made of sorbus or mountain ash. Aren’t they beautiful!?

Image: crochet hooks.

Crochet hooks.

I am going to use a larger hook to make a bigger chain for the purpose of a photo. Normally, I wouldn’t make it so loose. The crochet chain looks like a braid on one side.

Image: crochet chain.

Crochet chain looks like a braid.

And it looks like a chain on the other side.

Image: crochet chain.

Crochet chain.

I will be using a transfer tool to move the chain links onto the needles. But first, I need to loop the last stitch onto the last needle with the working yarn behind the stitch.

Image: crochet chain on the needle.

Crochet stitch on the last needle.

As you already know, the carriage is on the right. I will be placing the stitches from right to left using a transfer tool pictured below.

Image: transfer tool.

Transfer tool has an eyelet at its end, which will be hooked onto each needle to transfer the stitches (individual loops of the crochet chain).

Below is a close-up of the transfer tool threading through the stitch and hooking onto a needle tip.

Image: Transferring the stitches.

Transferring the stitches.

The stitches are transferred one at a time.

Image: transferring the stitches.

When all stitches are transferred, you can thread the carriage and start knitting as usual.

Image: the crochet chain is transferred onto the needles of the flat bed knitting machine.

The crochet chain is transferred onto the needles of the flat bed knitting machine.

This method has its pluses and minuses.

The plus is that if you have a tendency to over-tighten your cast on, this will help you avoid the problem by using a large enough crochet hook to make a chain that is relatively loose.

The negatives are, first, it takes a little longer because you have to prepare the chain separately; and second, it’s easier to make a mistake and skip a needle just like I did. Do you see a skipped needle in the photo above?

I hope, you found this tutorial helpful.

Blue Cat is really tired after all this work. Whew!

Image: Blue Cat resting.

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