How To...

Published on March 26th, 2015 | by Amy Kaspar


Casting on, picot-style!

Piqued by picot edging?  You won’t be, after Amy’s easy-to-follow tutorial! Cast on, picot-style!

How to do a picot cast on tutorial on LoveKnitting blog

The LoveKnitting blog has a post relating to casting off with a picot edge. As it turns out, that beautiful, delicate embellishment is not just for casting off. You can do it on your cast-on, too!

Grab your yarn, a needle size that would give you an average gauge, and…that’s it. No fancy tools needed. This cast-on will give you an odd number of stitches, but you can add one last cast-on at the end if you need an even number. Ready?

Start by casting on five stitches, using either the cable cast-on or the knitted cast-on. Using the backward loop or long-tail cast-on will give you a more inconsistent edge, so the two suggested cast-ons are just generally prettier. I chose the cable cast-on; to do this, slip your slip-knot on your needle, go through the motions of knitting the stitch until the point where you would slide the stitch off the needle, and just bring the loop onto the left needle in front of the slip-knot.

Casting on, picot-style! - LoveKnitting blog

For your second stitch, place your right needle tip between the two loops on the left needle, so you are not actually catching a stitch. Loop your yarn around, pull the loop through as if you were knitting, and throw the loop onto that left needle in front of your other two stitches.

Casting on, picot-style! - LoveKnitting blog

When you have five stitches, knit and bind off the first two stitches. So knit the first stitch, knit the second stitch, cast off the first stitch, knit the third stitch, and bind off the second stitch. You should have two stitches on the left needle and one on the right needle, with a bump hanging from that last stitch.

Casting on, picot-style! - LoveKnitting blog

By the way, this is the standard cast-off. Take the first stitch on the right needle, and pass it over that second stitch on the right needle, like this.

Casting on, picot-style! - LoveKnitting blog

Transfer the stitch on the right needle to the left needle by slipping it purlwise (meaning no twisting). Now all three stitches are on the left needle, and you can cast on four stitches, using the cable- or knitted cast-on again. You should always have an odd number of stitches on your left needle when you cast on again.

Casting on, picot-style! - LoveKnitting blog

Then just bind off those first two stitches, transfer, cast on four, and so on. Here are the written steps, if you prefer them this way:

  1. Cast on five stitches.
  2. Bind off two stitches.
  3. Transfer stitch purlwise from RH needle to LH needle.
  4. Cast on four stitches.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4, ending with step 3, when desired stitches are on the needle. If you need an even number, cast on one more stitch.

Who knew a fancy cast-on edge would be so darn easy to do?

Casting on, picot-style! - LoveKnitting blog

Just a couple of things to consider:  When you cast on after a picot, pay attention to your working yarn to make sure it does not get caught on that picot. If it does, you will end up with either a loose stitch or a loose loop, depending on where it gets pulled.

Also, give that first cast-on a little tug, so you can close the gap from when the stitches were on two different needles. The good news is that you can cast off as loosely or tightly as you want, since the edge will be bunched up at the bottom (or top, if you are working top-down) piece.

This edge will prevent most of the rolling which occurs from stocking stitch, and would be a great addition to mittens and gloves, the bottoms of both baby and grown-up jumpers, and the edge of a hat brim. It would also fancy up a washcloth, cushion, or even a baby blanket if you wanted a bit of flair.

If you find you need to rip out, the stitch with the picot hanging from it will have that passed-over loop under the needle, so you will know where you are. Pull back to a picot stitch, and when you place it back on the left needle, you will be ready for step 4.

Casting on, picot-style! - LoveKnitting blog

The picot cast-on is a bit cumbersome if you are used to whipping through your cast-on like a magician, but it sure is pretty when it is finished. Let me know how it goes for you!

Try it out!

Put your picot cast on to the test with Kirsten Kapur’s gorgeous Turtle Pond cardi!  This gorgeous cardi is worked from the bottom up, with a sweet picot edge and alternating stripes with a sweet injection of colourwork too!  Knitted in gorgeous Spud & Chloe Sweater, this cardi is perfect for boys and girls (omit the picot edging for older boys!) and particularly good for spring and summer with the Spud & Chloe blend of 55% superwash wool and 45% organic cotton!

Kirsten Kapur's Turtle Pond in Spud & Chloe Sweater, on the Loveknitting blog!

Above, Spud & Chloe Sweater in Turtle (7514) and Grass (7502) but Spud & Chloe Sweater comes in a gorgeous 31 shades!  We also love the combinations of Bloomsberry (7531) with Lilac (7523) and Popsicle (75010 with Tiny Dancer (7526), below too!

Spud & Chloe Sweater - gorgeous organic cotton and superwash wool! On the LoveKnitting blog!

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About the Author

Amy lives in Chicago and can either be found knitting, writing about knitting, designing knitted things, or watching professional hockey while knitting. There is also a necessary cup of coffee nearby at all times, Follow her on Twitter @thefiberfriend for more yarny bits.

Last updated: July 14th, 2016.

4 Responses to Casting on, picot-style!

  1. Gail Armstrong says:

    Thank you, such a pretty way of casting on and I do like fancy edgings

  2. Fernliesta says:

    You can use this method on the side edge of items as well to give a lovely textured finish to straight edges. I used it on scarves and shawls.

  3. Margot Allen says:

    Just took up knitting recently and am really looking forward to trying this out. Will let you know of how I get on.

  4. Irene says:

    Will try this on a child’s cardigan first as less stitches. Good for knits without a rib.

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