Posted on Thursday, September 30 2010 at 9am
© Belinda Boaden
Turkish cast-on is a great technique for using in sock knitting. Sock knitting has been growing in popularity in recent years, and the beauty of it is that it has introduced new techniques to those of us who admit to being more than a little crazy about making socks. One such skill is the Turkish cast-on (also known as Eastern cast-on), which Belinda Boaden has used to great effect in the design of her cable bags in The Knitter issue 1, page 34. Using the Turkish cast-on technique enables you to create a piece of knitting with no apparent seam, making it perfect for socks (knitted from the toe up) and bags, or anywhere you wish to create a seamless ‘tube’ of knitting. The key is to use two circular needles of the same size. Here we’ve used one metal set (A) and one bamboo set (B) to make things clearer. Until you become an expert at this method of cast-on, it’s probably a good idea to do the same.
Place a slip knot on needle B (the bamboo set). Hold both needles in your left hand with the tips pointing to the right. Have the needle which holds the slip knot (B) below the empty needle and have your yarn to the back. Bring the yarn forward and over both needles in order to wrap the yarn around both needles the required number of times, making sure that each wrap of the yarn does not lie over a previous one and is relatively tight and even. You only wrap half the required number of stitches around the needles. For example, if you require a total of 88 stitches, then you wrap the yarn around 44 times.
Holding the yarn to the back, slide the lower needle (B) through the wraps so that they sit on the connecting ‘wire’.
Using the empty needle end of A, knit across all the wraps.
Turn the piece so that needle set B sits above set A. Now pull needle A through so that all the wraps sit on the connecting ‘wire’. Pull needle B through so that the remaining side of the wraps are sitting on the needle tip. Your yarn should be at the needle tip end ready to work your next row. Knit across this remaining side of wraps using the empty end of needle B. Your stitches are now ready to be worked in the round. You can switch to a set of double-pointed needles if you prefer, or you can continue to work with the two sets of circulars.
With circular needles, you can prevent the connecting cable or wire (that joins one needle tip to the other) from curling by resting them in hot water for a few minutes. Dry off, then pull slightly to straighten. Once cool, they should stay straight and make knitting with them much easier. Take care not to get the needle tips wet, though, especially if they are bamboo.
About our expert
Jane Crowfoot is one of the UK's leading knitting experts and author of the book Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters (Search Press, £9.99) Find out more about Jane at janeknits.blogspot.com and www.janiecrow.co.uk Have you tried this technique? Let us know by posting a comment below or emailing us at TheKnitter@futurenet.com .