FREE Knitting Patterns, Tutorials, Magazine

The trick to knitting a waste yarn provisional cast on


We all get into our own groove when it comes to knitting habits. I learned the knitted cast on, then learned the cable cast on one day when watching my mother begin a project. I used that cast on for years, and when I learned the long tail cast on, it became my habit for years.

Today’s cast on, the waste yarn provisional cast on, however, changed my knitting life. I no longer shy away from casting on hundreds of stitches for a full-width afghan. It’s also useful for casting on any project where you’re going to knit in the opposite direction such as a hat with a lining or a stole worked in two panels from the center to the ends.

I recently showed the ladies at my local knitting guild this technique, and I expect that some of them will use it.

With 40 years of knitting behind me, I tend to choose a cast on for a project that’s going to complement it in some way. I still use long tail and other cast ons, but when I have a project that needs a lot of stitches, I use the waste yarn provisional cast on.

To best convey this information to you, I prepared a video. It’s my first attempt at video making; I hope you enjoy it.



Waste yarn provisional cast on Vimeo

An 8 minute video showing the steps to make a provisional cast on for knitting using waste yarn


This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: Knit a stronger splice join when starting a new ball of yarn


About Cynthia MacDougall

Cynthia MacDougall is a multi-discipline craft artist who teaches knitting. She has taught at venues from Kingston, Ontario to Olds, Alberta. A designer and technical writer since the mid-1990s, Cynthia is currently a contributor and knitting editor for A Needle Pulling Thread and KNITmuch magazines. She is also the owner of Canadian Guild of Knitters which she operates for the love of Knit!


  1. Barbara Banks

    Cynthia, I think I love you. I’ve spent several days fumbling around with dozens of videos and yards of yarn, and at age 58 I think your video is the first one that makes sense to me! And I haven’t even watched it with the sound on yet!

    • Thank you, Barbara! It’s really gratifying to hear that my video helped you with your knitting dilemma!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

It may take up to 24 hours for your comment to appear above.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.