I-cord cast on

I know it's been quite a while since I made an addition to my study of different cast-on methods, but I have been trying different styles. Unfortunately, there's really nothing specific to recommend any of the methods I've tried, other than some ways of holding the yarn may feel more comfortable depending on your hands.  Of course that's nothing small, especially for knitters who knit a lot, or who knit small projects and consequently cast on a lot, or particularly for knitters whose hands have particular pain or flexibility issues. However, that doesn't make them look any different in a picture here. I advise you, if you find the current method you use to be painful or awkward for your hands, to consult one of the many great knitting reference books for options (such as Hiatt's Principles of Knitting, or Vogue Knitting (the book) or Montse Stanley's Reader's Guide book- I could go on and on, and probably will in another post)! In the meantime, I'm going to confine my posts to cast-ons that produce a different look to the finished piece, rather than different methods for producing the same look.

Lately, I've been loving the i-cord cast on. As the name implies, you end up with an i-cord edge to your work, which I find a nice, tailored alternative to ribbing or other 'regular' edges especially for summer pieces (I don't want a cozy tight ribbed sleeve cuff on a summer knit). I also find a small I-cord is a nice crisp edge for an openwork design, like the one I'm working on now (another post for another day).

I've found two different ways of creating that i-cord cast on edge. One, which I had learned years ago, involves working an I-cord (by knitting, or by using one of those devices like a spool knitter), ending it, then picking up stitches along one vertical row of stitches. It's an easy method, especially if you have an i-cord machine, but I have had trouble keeping my stitches neatly along the same row. Of course as I write this it occurs to me that that could be a design feature, if the i-cord were deliberately 'swirled' at a steady rate, but that would require further experimentation.

I've recently learned the method of casting on while creating the i-cord itself- there are tons of videos online and I advise you simply to google one of those; my verbal description here would be inadequate and a one minute video will have you off and running. Anyway, as I said, I'm loving this method, although you should be forewarned- it takes a lot longer and a lot more yarn than a conventional cast on- if you are making a 3 stitch i-cord, you will actually be making 4 stitches for every stitch you cast on- 3 for the cord and one for the cast on stitch- so if a shawl starts with 100 stitches, that's 400 stitches before you even start the shawl proper. Still, I think it's worth it (in appropriate designs) because you're left with such a pretty finished edge, and you can mirror it easily with an i-cord bind off (and even, in the case of a blanket, for example, applied i-cord on both sides).

Anyway, that's my 'flavor of the month' cast on- if you're not familiar with it, or with it worked in this way, give it a try and see how you like it!

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