I envisioned the pattern on my Komi vests to start right away at the bottom, without ribbing. Ribbing is a necessary evil of every knit garment: it keeps edges from curling up. The goal was to kiss good-bye to ribbing.
I wanted the pattern start from the very edge of the garment without ribbing, that keeps edge from curling up.
Judy’s Magic Cast On which I found in my trusty little book Cast On, Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor was just the technique that accommodated my design.
Judy’s Magic Cast On is used mostly in knitting sock toes. It looks very neat and truly invisible. There are many YouTube videos, but here Judy explains herself.
I will go directly to the design idea.
Basic recipe for bottom-up sweater/vest on circular needles
Overview: The idea works for garments knit bottom up.
You create a counter-tension of two fabrics knit in opposite directions from the cast-on rows without adding too much bulk.
First you knit up and down, fold the fabric, gather the stitches onto another pair of needles and knit together. Continue knitting the garment in a round, as usual.
Press the fold when the garment is done.
Needed: 3 circular needles of your project size, 2 longer and 1 can be shorter. Some quantity of thinner (sports or baby weight) yarn in addition to your project yarn.
- Cast on necessary number of stitches using 1 shorter and 1 longer set of needles.
If your item requires 220 stitches then each needle should end up with 220 stitches. The direction of knitting on one needle will go up and on another – down.
- Before knitting, look attentively which side the yarn twists are on. The twists should end up on purl side.
- Knit “up” several rows in stranded color work. (I knitted 5).
- Knit “down” with a thin and dense yarn fewer rows. (I knitted 4.)
- Fold fabric and transfer stitches to the third needle: one stitch from one needle, one stitch from another needle.
- Continue the pattern on color work side, carefully knitting each stitch together. Inside fabric should remain as invisible as possible.
The finished edge looks a bit puffy. Carefully press the fold when the project is finished. Avoid stretching the edge.
Here is what I ended up with:
If Judy’s Magic Cast On worked for socks and a vest edge and socks, it should work for mittens. My next idea was to knit two-sided mittens: one side – of fine angora, another side – of sock yarn. The success did not come cheap. It took 3 tries to get it somewhat right. Two sided mittens is a fancy idea that you do not have to follow, but the idea of using Judy’s Magic Cast On to knit mitten tips produces beautiful round shape.
Meanwhile… Let’s return to my Komi vest: the edge obediently stays down!