KW Tips + Tricks: Channel Island Cast On


The Channel Island cast-on is traditionally used on the hem of Gansey fisherman sweaters of the British Isles. The cast-on creates a subtle picot edge and is most often followed by a band of garter stitch. It is a nice alternative to a ribbed hem, and I think has a more feminine look to it.

Practically, the bands were knit separately and were then joined for working the body in the round, maximizing movement and breathability for the wearer. The cast-on is elastic, yet firm, and along with the picots, it is both decorative and hard wearing. 

KW tips and tricks: Channel Island Cast On

SET UP 1 / For this sample, I am casting on 15 stitches, so the end I measured is 30" long. 
A: tail folded in half
B: slip knot on right hand needle
C: open end of folded tail
D: working yarn attached to ball

SET UP 2 / 
A: The doubled tail wrapped counter clockwise twice around my left thumb
B: The strand attached to the ball placed over the index finger
C: the short tail hanging free

KW Tips + Tricks: Channel Island Cast On

STEP 1 / Bring your needle over the single strand on your index finger to make a yarn over. Make sure you wrap the yarn front to back to create the yarn over. 
A / Single strand wrapped over the needle.

STEP 2 / Bring the needle up through the doubled strands on your thumb, grab a loop of the single strand as if to knit, then bring the needle back down through the loops on your thumb. Make sure to put the needle through both wraps and both strands when picking up the stitch of the single strand. 

KW Tips + Tricks: Channel Island Cast On
KW Tips + Tricks: Channel Island Cast On

STEP 3 / Release the wraps from your thumb, and pull gently to snug up the stitch. At the same time, wrap the doubled tail counterclockwise twice around your thumb in preparation to begin again. 2 stitches have been cast on. 
A: The yarn over from Step 1
B: The single strand picked up from Step 2

Repeat Steps 1-3 for the desired number of stitches. When counting stitches, treat the loops as 2 stitches for an even number of stitches, and treat them as 1 stitch for an odd number of stitches.

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