Emily Ocker's Cast-on

This is the best way I know to start a circular piece at the center. It's named for Emily Ocker because that's who Elizabeth Zimmerman reports that she learned it from. However, EZ says in one of her books that Emily says she just thought that's how everyone did it.

Form a small circle with the thread. Books and knitting magazines usually show one wrap. I actually wind it TWICE around my finger -- although this makes it harder to tighten up at the end, I feel it's more secure.

Assume you're going to start with 8 sts.

With a crochet hook pull a loop of your main thread up through the center of this circle, then reach over the circle and pull a loop of your thread through this loop. (I'm not at all a crocheter, but I think this is a single crochet stitch). Leave this loop on your crochet hook and do 3 more just like it. Slide these 4 sts onto a double-pointed knitting needle. The loops should be tight enough to hold onto the needle. If they're not, pull them out and start over.

Now, pull on the tail of your cast-on thread to make the circle as much smaller as you can and still work with. If only one loop gets smaller, pull on it to tighten the other one. At this point things are not too tight to pull the thread around.

Make 4 more stitches like the first 4. Distribute the 8 stitches more evenly onto your dps if you like (3-3-2 is knittable, barely; 2-2-2-2 is harder to manage).

Now, pull and tug on the tail until the center hole is as small as you can make it. You can trim the end off as close as you like. Nothing on earth is going to work it loose from being wrapped twice around the inside of 8 stitches!

Knit your first round through the backs of the cast-on stitches if they seem loose, and then continue in your pattern.

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Judy Gibson
Descanso, California
Email to jgibson (at) cts (dot) com