Have a Yarn

Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia


August 2005


The Channel Island cast-on is very versatile because it is strong and elastic. It is the perfect cast-on method for socks because of its stretch. Its picot-like edge also makes it a very attractive option.

Figure A: Detail of a sock with the Channel Island cast-on.
Figure B: This method is perfect for socks because it is stretchy.

Here's how you do it:

1. You will need to start by measuring a length of yarn approximately twice as long as you will need for casting on. This length of yarn needs to be doubled, so fold the length of yarn over. The tail ends in the loop created by the fold, and the cut end of the yarn is at the beginning of the tail.

2. Now make a slip knot with both strands of yarn, approximately 6" from the cut end (Figure C). The tail, made up of the doubled yarn, is held by the left hand and the single yarn, from the ball, is in the right hand.

Figure C : Slip knot created by the double strand of yarn.
Figure D: Your first stitch will be a yarn over.


3. With the right hand, work a yarn over with the single yarn ( Figure D). Note: The yarn over will not be secure until you complete the next stitch.

4. While maintaing the yarn over with the right hand, take the tail (double yarn) in your left hand and wrap it counter-clockwise around your thumb, twice. Your hand should like Figure E.

Figure E: Wrap the tail counter-clockwise around thumb.
Figure F: Insert needle underneath both doubled strands of yarn.

5. With your right hand, insert your needle underneath both of the doubled strands of yarn that are around your thumb, as in Figure F. Notice the single strand of yarn of the previous yarn over is still held in front of the needle.

6. Now take the single strand of yarn in your right hand, and wrap it around the needle as if you were knitting the stitch (Figure G). Don't lose that yarn over! Pull tightly (Figure H). Now there are 2 stitches on the needle after the slip knot. The first is the yarn over, and the second is the knitted stitch you just made from the two double strands of yarn around the thumb.

Figure G: Wrap the single yarn around the needle and knit the stitch.
Figure H: You should now have 2 stitches, plus the slip knot.

7. Repeat steps 3-6, creating yarn overs and knit stitches, until the desired number of stitches are on your needle (Figure I). The combination of the yarn overs and knitted double strands creates a lovely picot-like edge.

Figure I: Repeat steps 3-6, continuing yarn overs and knitted stitches.
Figure J: Perfect for socks!

Note: If you happen to end on a yarn over, just tie this stitch into a temporary knot, and weave the ends securely into the fabric later.