So... I was posting away on the Ravelry group for Seasons of Lace, discussing the Emily Dickinson shawl that we're doing over there as a KAL, and I remarked that I'd opted for the two-end cast on to address the 545 stitch cast on that the shawl requires. Someone responded by asking what that was.
Uh oh -- clearly, it's time for me to do another wee little tutorial. I'll refrain from using the yarn I'm using for the Emily Dickinson (which, by the way, I'm calling Inebriate of Air after a line in one of her poems), because it's so fine you wouldn't see a thing. See:
Instead, I've grabbed some random yarn to show you with (That's a lie. This yarn will soon become Kitty's very own Emily Dickinson shawl, because she's playing too. (Anyone want to wager on whether I can pull a trifecta and persuade Bookworm to join us? She does knit, sort of)).
These instructions assume that you have either a ball of yarn that has been wound in such a way that you can lay your hands on both ends at once, or that you've got two balls of yarn.
Take the two ends of your ball of yarn,
A slip knot is fine, but not required.
Loop that join over your needle, so that you've got one strand falling to the front, and one falling to the back. If you've used two ends of the same ball, be sure that the one coming over the back is the one that comes from the center of the ball. Hold the tails under your finger so no confusion can develop.
Begin working the long tail cast on (or whichever two-strand cast-on you prefer) with the two strands of yarn.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this work horse, it goes like this:
Start with that loop above, or with a slip knot snugly but not tightly placed on a needle with the end draped over the back of the needle attached to the ball of yarn (center pull where you can), and the end draped over the front being long enough to make the number of stitches you'll need. This requires guess work (hence the two-end version for large numbers of stitches), but about one inch per stitch works as a guesstimator if you're working in worsted weight yarn.
Make a pinching gesture with your left fore-finger and thumb, holding them so that they point to the right, with your pinky finger down, and the thumb/finger combo up:
Holding a needle with the yarn draped over it in your right hand, slip your finger and thumb together between the strands:
and open them, grasping the dangling ends of the yarn under your middle, ring, and pinky fingers gently: firmly enough that they don't fall out, but not so tightly that they can't slide through.
Bring your right hand down so that the arrangement looks rather like a sling shot:
Now, you're set to start making stitches!
Slide the point of the needle up your thumb and under the strand of yarn that is wrapped around it:
Then take the point of the needle over the strand coming off your index finger
And back through the loop around your thumb (going back out the way you came in).
Then, release the loop over your thumb,
And hook your thumb through the yarn strand,
snugging up the stitch on the needle
And, because I'm so impressed with myself, I'll show you that again, only in VIDEO...
Cast on merrily forever :-) But when you're counting stitches, it's important to remember that for the 2-end version, it's important that you NOT count that first strand (the one with the knot, or with the two-stranded slip-knot) as a stitch when you start your first real row.
When you start the first row, you'll want to drop one strand (me, I carefully determine which end is going to the inside of the ball, and drop other end, because I prefer working from a center pull ball),
and cut it, leaving a long enough tail to weave in.
When you've worked a few rows, you can untie the knot and weave in all three ends.... or.... leave that til the end of the project, when you'll be weaving ends in anyway.