French Cast-on 

A woman visiting our SnB group last week mentioned trying to do a French Cast-on.  I must admit that she had me perplexed until we talked a bit, and it was just a fancy way of saying tubular cast-on, although I do prefer the name French Cast-on, and may have to use it from now on.  This got me to googling it when I got home.  Nothing new, except that I found this video by Eunny Jang:

Ignore the fact that her producers did not have her use 2 highly contrasting yarns so that it would be evident as to what she was doing.   Normally I make a tubular cast on starting with a crochet chain where I pick up the requisite number of stitches needed in each of the bumps on the chain.  I have shown that in the past in this post.

  • What intrigued me about Eunny’s technique was that I could actually cast on 1/2 + 1 the final number of stitches needed in a contrasting color and just knit, (use a needle 1-2 sizes larger than you will end up knitting with.  Here I used a size 3 don). I wanted to end up with 48 sts for my mittens, so I cast on up 25 + 1 = 25sts.  I am only using 4 needles here, the stitches on 3, as there are so few to work with. Join in a circle (with the forever mentioned note:  be careful not to twist your stitches), and knit 3-4 rows.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • knit for couple of rows, then start with your garment color and knit 3-4 rows still using the larger needles.

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  • Using the needle size that you will be knitting the socks with:  *Knit the first stitch.  For the second stitch, reach over the top of the knitting into the cast-on edge, and pick up the first “purl bump” of your sock yarn (not the contrasting color yarn that you cast on with), this is where using a clearly contrasting color such as I did really helps.  Put it onto the left hand needle and purl that stitch.**
  • Repeat from * to **, ending with a K1.  You will now have your desired number of stitches plus one extra on your finished needle size, the first and last stitches will be knit stitches.
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  • Do 2-3 rows of 1×1 ribbing. On the first row knit the first and last stitch together. The stitch count will now match your pattern requirements.  I am doing a twisted 1×1 rib here, using 5 size #1 dpn’s.
  • After you have knit at least 3-4 rows, or anytime in the pattern progress that you feel like, it will be time to pull out the contrasting cast on yarn.

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  • You can clearly see here how the coast on yarn (purple) is now pulled underneath the fabric.

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  • It always helps to have a pair of Eiffel Tower scissors to trim with.

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  • Just cut a row or 2 into the cast on contrast yarn.  Cut off the bottom cast on row(s).

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  • Pull out all of the cast on yarn

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  • And Voila! you have a beautiful finished edge that looks like the knitting just rolls over on itself.
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  • It is very stretchy, almost feels like the edge has elastic in it.
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The key to making this work is to do the set up rows where you have 1/2 the number of stitches, in a larger size needle.  Otherwise it will be very hard to pick up and not have the stretch that you are looking for.

Merci Beaucoup!