One of the Many Ways to Use a Provisional Cast-On: Crochet Hook & Scrap Yarn Method
There are many uses for the provisional cast-on; one example is the Scala top-down pullover, featured in the March issue of Creative Knitting magazine. This design uses the crochet hook and scrap yarn” provisional cast-on to ceate a softer neckline edge as shown in the photo below.
Unlike the crochet-over-the-needle method, the crochet-hook method instructs you to use a crochet hook to create a chain in scrap yarn, instead of using a knitting needle to create the cast-on.

To work the crochet hook and scrap yarn method, start with a crochet hook about the same size as the knitting needle you’ll be using for your project. Begin by making a crochet chain one or two stitches more than the number of stitches to be cast on for the pattern you are working. If the edge is to be decorative or removed to work in the opposite direction then the chain should be made with a contrasting color.

Pick up and knit in the back bump of each chain until the required number of stitches is on the needle.

Continue to work the pattern as given in the instructions. Some instructions indicate that the provisional cast-on be removed so the piece can be worked in the opposite direction. In this case, hold the work with the cast-on edge at the top. Undo one loop of the crochet chain, inserting the knitting needle into the stitch below the chain. (This stitch is on the original first row of your knitting.)

Undo the crochet chain until all the stitches are on the needle. This creates a row of stitches ready to work in the opposite direction.

For more information about the crochet-over-the-needle method, visit and click on the Newsletter link to our informative tutorial. You can also learn more about many other useful cast-on techniques in The Perfect Finish, a no-nonsense guide to finishing techniques for knitters of every level. You can purchase this book on

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