How to do the Provisional Cast On

The provisional cast on leaves the stitches live at the beginning of your project, so they can be joined with the stitches at the end of the work using the three needle bind off. This creates a very tidy, almost invisible seam, as shown in the Weekend Scarf above, that is great is for infinity scarves or cowls. This method creates a much more beautiful join than a whip stitch, for example, which is an alternative that could be used.

This cast on uses a chain of crochet stitches from scrap yarn as the first loops of the project; when you finish knitting, you can remove the chain and pick the stitches back up. You will need to have a crochet hook and some scrap yarn, ideally in a different color than your project.

Note: If the first row of your pattern includes anything other than straight knit stitches, it will be easier to remove the scrap yarn if you first knit a row of knit, then continue to your pattern.

Sample of work after starting with the provisional cast on
Seam made with provisional cast on and three needle bind off

The video below provides step by step instructions for how to do the provisional cast on. Check out the three needle bind off video for how to remove the scrap yarn, pick up the stitches, and join the ends of your work.

Want to Give it a Try?

The following patterns would all work well with the provisional cast on and three needle bind off:

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