I decided to learn the Channel Island Cast On today, and I used Cap Sease's book to help me. I prefer learning from illustrations to learning from videos or still photos. I find the artist tends to pare away the distracting details, leaving only what's essential.
My attempt was successful, though not perfect. A few of the stitches look a little wonky (particularly the sixth pair from the left, above), but practice will help with that. This cast on is attractive because of the little beads that appear on the bottom of the knit stitches. It is also sturdy and stretchy.
Although Cap's instructions are usually quite clear, this one stumped me: "Wrap left thumb counterclockwise twice around double strand." I didn't know which end of the strand to start wrapping with, so I just made my yarn and hand look like the picture. I would say, "Wrap double strand around thumb clockwise twice." But I realize I'm starting at the other end. Still, it might help some to think of it my way.
Secondly, I couldn't figure out how to tighten the stitch with my thumb using her instructions. I just tugged the double strand like she suggests at the end of step 5.
Also, and this is important, Cap says to repeat steps 5 and 6, ending with step 6. What she means is to repeat steps 4 - 6, ending with step 5. For an odd number of stitches, end with a step 6 and fold the tail up if knitting flat in order to be able to knit through the yarn over.
It was fun to learn a new technique, and I look forward to many more!
Cast On, Bind Off by Cap Sease, photographs by Brent Kane, pub. Martingale & Company, 2012.
This useful and inspiring book, now available in paperback, is destined to become a frequent reference in my library. I usually stick with the basic long-tail cast on or a provisional cast on, but there are a couple others, like the German Twisted and Judy's Magic, that I use on special occasions. The standard bind off and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy bind off are pretty much the only ones I have tried, not counting the occasional edging, picot, or sewn methods.
I guess when I list them all it looks like quite a variety---but it's nothing compared to the 211 ways Cap lists in her book. (There is another book by the same name which lists 54 ways. I have yet to review that book.)
Laurel Strand and Robin Strobel have done a fine job of drawing each procedure in a way that can be easily seen and understood. Brent Kane's photography shows every detail. And Cap herself outlines each step in clear prose.
I learned the cast on at left as the Italian Tubular cast on. That alias is not given in the book, but Cap gives alternate names when she knows them (which is often). Many times different procedures are known by the same name. Cap eases this problem by referring to a procedure by the name most frequently used for it (according to her research) and listing its pseudonyms afterward in italics.
The procedures are outlined in steps with two columns on each page. Sometimes more than one procedure is given on a page. When the second procedure starts at the bottom of a page it can be a little disorienting. But on the whole it doesn't bother me.
Also, each type of procedure (long-tail cast on, decorative bind off, etc.) is shown in its own yarn color, making it easier to find something that caught your eye when casually flipping through the book.
Cap includes an extremely useful table near the front of the book which gives important traits of cast ons and bind offs (such as durability and elasticity) and then lists the names (and page numbers) of procedures which have those traits. Another table associates look-alike cast ons and bind offs to create matching edges.
I can't wait to try some of the procedures in this book, which I strongly recommend for both designers and sample knitters for publication. But any knitter would benefit from the range of techniques---many of them simple---given in this volume.
Disclosure: Martingale & Company sent Kangath a free copy of Cast On, Bind Off for review. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Martingale & Company or Cap Sease.
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