Queenie's Open Ended Cast On by Jodie Gordon Lucas

Queenie's Open Ended Cast On

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December 2011
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Before the first stitch was cast on for Cedar Falls I realized I had a major problem. Cedar Falls begins with a very long cast onto which the remainder of the wrap is gradually knit. The entire project hinged upon casting on the correct number of stitches. I wouldn’t know until I was nearly finished if I’d guessed the cast on number correctly. At that point in the design process, I didn’t know how big I wanted to make the wrap. I didn’t know how my yarn would hold out. Mostly, I didn’t want to commit myself to the final length before I’d worked a single stitch.

Being fairly certain any “guesstimate” was doomed I started considering the consequences of getting it wrong. Too many stitches meant I’d have live stitches left hanging—too low meant I’d have too much yarn left over. Since giving up wasn’t an option I was left with three choices: get over my obsession with minimizing leftovers (not going to happen); incorporate the dangly, unworked stitches as a design element (also not going to happen); or create a way to cast on that would keep my options open (ding, ding, ding—we have a winner!).

While this cast on is a bit of yarn hog and takes some preparation it will allow you to keep the final stitches on your needle open. If you find you have too many stitches you can easily remove what you don’t need—perfect for projects like Cedar Falls.

As an unexpected perk, Queenie’s cast on looks fabulous. It creates a sturdy decorative edge that stretches easily. QOECO also allows for easy translation of “knitted on” edge patterns into superbly finished scarves. I’ve found QOECO to be very useful when a large number of stitches are required—such as for triangular shawls knit from the outside in (like Litla Dimun by Cheryl Oberle and Videvik Shawl by Nancy Bush). No longer will I get the first row worked only to discover I have the wrong number of stitches!!!