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Something New

A trip to a Retreat requires new knitting, a simple, easy, enjoyable project, as talking with friends is of the utmost importance even (or especially) at a knitting retreat.


Elizabeth Zimmermann's large square Stonington Shawl has been on my radar for many years, but the yardage requirements were daunting and the overall size of the project was too large for my taste.  Jared Flood's Quill, a beautiful, and smaller, square shawl inspired by EZ, made the project feel more manageable. The inside square of Quill, knit in garter stitch, fit my needs perfectly.  I even felt inclined to learn a new provisional cast on.


Since the provisional crocheted chain has never been a comfortable method for me to use, I turned to a book I knew could teach me something new, Cast on, Bind Off.   The first provisional cast on the book showed was exactly what I wanted. When the author suggested using the cord of a circular needle instead of waste yarn, I knew I'd found the answer. (I also found an on-line tutorial of the method here.)

After working on the rhythm of twisting the working yarn around the needle just so, and getting the feel of using a cord instead of waste yarn, I was able to cast a bunch of stitches. When I decided to knit back through the loops on the cord, to make sure I liked the way the provisional edge looked, I was thrilled to see it worked perfectly! Quill was an excellent project for Retreat and learning the cast on feels like a feather in my knitting cap! Yay for me!


I'm so glad you introduced me to that cool cast-on! It makes so much sense . . . to just have those live stitches ready on a cable! Can't wait to try it myself sometime.

I think this technique is terrific - I've never gotten the hang of "unzipping" those provisional cast on stitches!

Oh nice! I'm going to be knitting a Hap shawl too so this tidbit about the provisional CO will come in handy. Just got the book too.

The needle cable is brilliant. The provisional cast can be daunting. So cool and such a pretty colorway!

Yay! indeed. :) It's always really good to have new techniques in your knitting arsenal and now you'll also have a fantastic shawl to wear!

Judy's Magic cast on has been my go-to provisional cast on for a while now. It's simple to execute, you work it over a second needle so the stitches are all exactly the same size, and there are the same number of stitches on both needles (not 1 less).

Good for you for learning that new cast on! I've had Stonington in my to-do list for quite a while. One of these days I'm going to tackle it.

Yay on the new cast on! I didn't remember it, but I've got Stonington in my Ravelry queue also. It is a big one though...

I'll be giving that cast-on a look. Thanks for the link!

How cool!

I never would have thought of that in a zillion years, but it does sound like a great idea. Good for you for finding a better technique!

Yay you indeed! :D

Genius. I am never using the right waste yarn -- it's always leaving traces behind, etc. That looks like a fun project.

Someone mentioned using a cable a few years ago, but I was too new to knitting to appreciate the idea. Thanks for pointing that out. I believe you've resolved my 'what to take on my trip' knitting dilemma. Can't wait to see yours finished.

Oh, that is a lovely pattern! I'll have to check out the provisional cast on. xoxo

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