A provisional cast on is a method of casting on that keeps the cast on stitches live, meaning that you can put them back on the needle and knit in the other direction. You'll see it used in our Web Letter pattern of the week, the Posh Neck Scarf. You can also see it used in a few pieces in our Spring 2011 collection: Verona, Nigh Duck, Chicory and Clover. Scroll to the end for a video showing the provisional cast on in action.
1. First you need a length of waste yarn, preferable contrasting. Nothing too wooly or sticky (so don't follow my lead and use Ariosa.) You also need a crochet hook in a comparable size to your needle. Don't overthink the size of the crochet hook, I'm sure you have one that will work somewhere in your notions bag.
2. Make a slipknot and place it on your crochet hook. Hold the hook in front of the knitting needle and the working waste yarn behind the needle.
3. Use your crochet hook to hook the yarn and pull it through the loop on the crochet hook.
4. Move the yarn (which is now in front of the knitting needle) back to the original position behind the needle.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have the desired number of stitches on the knitting needle. When you have one less than you need on the needle, remove the crochet hook and put that last remaining loop on your needle. Tie a knot in the end so you know where to start picking out the waste yarn. Then, using your project yarn, start working in your pattern.
To see it in action, watch our video below!