Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cast On, Bind Off - the giveaway post

It's giveaway day!


or rather, entry day - on Thursday August 2nd (midmorning, Toronto time) I'll do a magic Random Number Generator trick to gift a copy of Leslie Ann Bestor's Cast On, Bind Off to some lucky reader who commented on this post.  More details on that at the end.

* * * * *

If you've been following along on the blog tour, you will have a very clear understanding of

a/ the awesome functionality of the book's spiral binding;

b/ the clarity and thoroughness of the description and illustration for each method covered; and

c/ its compact size for toting around wherever you take your knitting.

Today I would like to tell you a different story.


A few months ago, I got very interested in knitting a crescent shawl.  I have a lot of triangles and they're great - plus, super easy to shape while knitting - but did I say 'a lot'?  and they don't all stay on and nicely draped even if I pin them, plus I'm unconvinced this is the best shape for me.  I just don't wear triangles all that fabulously, and a more hugging-shaped crescent seemed like a great idea.  So I bought a pattern I loved


and drew some very precious yarn from my stash
and found some needles I knew I'd enjoy using
and sat down to cast on the 10 or so stitches that would start my shawl.

And was stymied.  See, the pattern specified that these 10 or so stitches should be created using cable cast on, and I had no idea what that was.  I know that if a designer specifies a particular type of cast on or bind off, you're supposed to do it - they've given thought to the matter, after all - but I didn't feel like going upstairs to hunt through all my books and/or search YouTube for cable cast on videos that I would then have to sift through for one that actually made sense to me.

So I shrugged, and cast on using longtail, which was the only cast on method I knew.

Seriously: I've been actively knitting since I was 15, which is A Very Long Time Ago, and whoever taught me to cast on didn't mention slip knots so I don't even do that.  How can I be a grownup-ish person and longtime knitter and not know how to do a slipknot?  Easily, apparently.

About 20 rows into the shawl I knew I had made a terrible mistake, but if I didn't feel like looking up cable cast on before, I certainly didn't feel like looking up cable cast on now so I could rip out to start the shawl all over.  I just kept hoping I'd be able to block out the terrible roll I was getting at the top center of the shawl from my too-tight cast on technique.

I wasn't able to though.  The shawl's cast on ended up looking like this:


and I ended up looking sad.  It's such great yarn, and such a cute pattern, and I really messed up.  Lucky I have long hair and nobody but me (and all of you guys) have to know the top of the scarf I have around my neck is curling in on itself.

(in case you want to know, the dreamy pattern is Rose Beck's Sugared Violets; the dreamy yarn is from Emily's out of production Viola line.)

* * * * *

All of which is to explain why, when I was invited a couple of months later to participate in this blog tour and receive a review copy of this book I didn't wait to say SIGN ME UP!  The opportunity was, as you might say, made for me.


Naturally, since I am extra busy these days, my idea to prep for today's very special post was to begin a new shawl.  I chose special yarn and a beautiful pattern and some good needles and sat down with all of them plus Cast On, Bind Off and

you won't believe this

the pattern recommends a longtail cast on.


But if it hadn't, and I'd had to do cable, I would have been just fine.  I know because when I looked in the very orderly Index I found three different entries for cable cast on, including a reference to the manner of slipping stitches when doing one, a photograph of how pretty it is, and a three-page description with photographs of how it's done.

(this last reference identifies cable cast on as firm and inelastic, which makes me wonder how it would be better than longtail for Sugared Violets, but that's probably something I shouldn't think too much about at this point.)

* * * * *

Now, as it happens, an awful lot of we knitters started a special project the other day to knit while watching the Olympics, and I am no exception.  What I cast on is mittens built from twined knitting, a technique on which I took a one-day class just over a year ago, aka long enough to forget everything, especially the cast on method.

Never fear, Cast On, Bind Off is here!

The books covers a special cast on for twined knitting in three colours that is lovely... except that I am using one colour and was trying to watch the Opening Ceremonies at the same time, so I couldn't figure out how to follow the pictures.  I quickly switched to the much more appropriate two-colour braided cast on and did it with the two stands of my single-colour yarn choice.  Easy as pie, including the slipknot I had to learn how to do from the pictures at the front of the book.  I think I'd have to refer back to it a few times to get 'slipknot' embedded in my brain, but who's gonna mind that in a book that's lightweight, compact, and practically exhaustive?  Not me.

In the end, and without the gorgeous contrast of two colours, the cuff of my mitten project looks like this:


and yes, I did mess up on the sides there, but considering the distraction factor while I reviewed the instructions I think it still indicates the power of clear writing and illustrations.  Thank you Leslie Ann!

* * * * *

Okay, that is the end of my very long story about casting on.  Do you have a cast on and/or bind off story to tell?  Any thoughts on the subject to share?  Feel free to add it to your comment - and please do comment, because I'd love for you to have a chance at having Storey Publishing send you a copy.  There's no need to add an e-mail address into your comment if you have one linked to your profile, or better still if you drop in on Thursday August 2 (again, midmorning Toronto time) to see who won the Random Number Generator's heart - if you win, you can just e-mail me your address.

Good luck!  and be sure to drop in at The Knit Girllls on Monday the 30th too, for one more chance at winning a copy of the book.

* * * * *

And... comments are now closed.  Thanks guys!

48 comments:

meppybn said...

No real cast-on stories to tell, other than I was taught long-tail using my thumb but can never remember the rule of thumb as to how much to allow so I don't run out of yarn!!! Hence when I came to the States and discovered cable cast-on I was hooked and pretty much use it for all things. I have wondered though, why it makes a difference as to the cast on method......and would be fabulous to have all the instructions in one place rather than trying to remember which magazine had which instructions in it!!

Debbie said...

My repertoire of cast ons is limited as well. I would love to win this book!

elleberry said...

I am doing a lacy summer scarf pattern which I have ripped out twice because after knitting quite a bit, I realized the cast on part was ruining the look and drape of the whole scarf. First I tried long tail, then cable. This third time I used a very loose cable and I've got my fingers crossed! This book sounds like a great resource. I never knew there were more ways to cast on... and cast off - haven't even got there yet!

Debbie in KY said...

That's funny - I *only* use cable cast-on and never use long tail cast-on. Guess I should expand my horizons. Need the book, LOL!

Anonymous said...

I NEED this book like no other!! I am able to stumble through the knit cast on and the long tail cast on only . I have one go to bind off- you know the one. This book would be so well loved if it lived at my house Thanks

andrea said...

congratulations on learning something new thanks to this amazing book. i will admit my mom taught me the cable cast on and that is pretty much the only cast on i use unless the pattern says different. with one exception when it says long tail cast on i cringe. which is why i how to win so i can finally learn how to do it. thank you so very much for the chance to win.

amchart said...

Your mitten cuff looks fabulous. My c/o b/o story would simply be I've FINALLY mastered not binding off too tightly.

costumatty said...

54 ways to cast on and bind off? That's impressive -- I standardly use a long tail cast on, and I can do a knitted cast on, and one or two others whose names I don't know. And 3 or 4 bind offs. That's pretty sad, I think, given that I've been knitting for . . . well, decades. Makes me think I'm missing out on something.

Your shawl is beautiful -- love the first photo!

UmmRania said...

No cast on or off stories, but I am sure with this book in my library I could have one!

I love your shawl anyway!

HJ K said...

I was the runt of the litter, the remedial idiot at the back of the class I took on colorwork a couple of years ago. "This is just a two-color variant on the basic long-tailed cast-on you all know, and it's really no more complicated..." I(diot) has to put up hand sheepishly and explain that, no, I really did not know the long-tailed cast-on. It looked so complicated to learn, and I really couldn't see the advantage of it. Until she showed me, and I fell in love. A bit silly to have taken an advanced colorwork class and got long-tail as my take-home, but while the other techniques were interesting, and I do mean to use them... sometime... that has become my go-to for every project since. Still, I really, really need to know a provisional cast-on - and soon (as in, NOW, really.)

slmiller8 said...

I'm just surprised how many cast on/ bind off methods there are. I have 5 I can use without looking up the instructions, and 2 or 3 more I've used when a pattern calls for it.

Leslie said...

I've always been curious about "bind off loosely." I know there are tricks for using larger needles, etc., but surely there are better ways. I'd love to learn them because I LOVE knitting socks and toe-up socks are awesome! Your shawl is beautiful. I bought the pattern after reading about your adventures the first time around! I'm re-inspired to grab my yarn and start working on it.

flossieKNITS said...

I use the good 'ol long tail cast-on, but I'm getting bored with it—would love to learn a variety of others!

jeanine said...

My cast on bind off story is also tragic-my first pair of leg warmers I totally used the incorrect cast on and bind off, and now just the edge of them are too tight to wear. I am contemplating some sort of hack job fix, this book would make my life a bit easier I think!

Jan HP said...

I learned to knit from my mother when I was about 6 years old. I learned a slip knot and the longtail cast on. I still use the same cast on after all these years. I'd love a book to show me new options. Jan HP

Cynthia K-R in Canada said...

Since I only one way to cast on - I really NEED this book! It would be so handy. I haven't figured out yet why there are so many cast-ons, but it must make a big difference !!!! Thanks for the chance to win the book.

Karen Frisa said...

After having read the rest of the blog tour, it was nice to see a different approach. And the colors on your twined mitten are great!

Kiley Amber said...

I would love to win this book. The only cast on I know is long tail. I just recently figured out how to do it all by myself. (yay me) lol

Anonymous said...

Love the colors in the mitten cuff. I am a long-tail cast on person. Think it would be great to try something new. Thanks for a chance in your giveaway! LynnIL ravelry

suburban prep said...

When I was first learning to knit I knit a sleeveless cowlneck. The one thing I can say is that I was a very tight knitter then. I kept binding off for that item until I got it right. It took 4 tries before someone was able to get their head through it.

Kara said...

I don't have any great stories like yours, but I also have a very limited knowledge of cast-ons (and even more limited of bind-offs - like one), so I know this book would be extremely helpful. Thanks for the chance to win it!

Rainlover said...

what a great book, would love a chance to win!

Katja said...

This sounds like a great book. I didn't know there were so many ways to cast on and bind off. It's usually just something that you do without thinking about what kind of method you are using, but I would love to get familiar with all, apparently, 54 ways of doing it.

Lori S said...

I just did a sweater this summer that I found a mistake in and had to rip out towards the top (Thank goodness it was a stripe pattern so I didn't have to rip as much.) But then I had to bind off with the three needle method and it wasn't stretchy enough so I had to take it out again and then I had to unknit (because I left my yarn on the other side and couldn't bind off don't even ask me how that happened. I think I finally went with Jenny's Stretchy bind off.) There are so many ways to cast on and bind off and it seems I always need a refresher even when I have already used the technique. This book looks like it would do the trick!

kim said...

No luck on the blog tour yet, but here's hoping! Thanks for the chance.

Judyindiana said...

This book is going to be a great reference! No more searching through stacks of printed off materials for the specific cast on/off that I know is "somewhere".
Thanks for offering the chance to win.

Cheryl S. said...

I use both long-tail and cable cast-ons depending on the project. I think they're mostly different in look - I don't think using the cable cast-on would have made any difference to the neck of Sugared Violets. When working in stockinette, I usually use a long-tail if my next row is a wrong-side row, and cable if the next row will be the right-side row. If I'm working in garter stitch, I do the reverse.

I can be found on Ravelry as CabledSheep.

melissa said...

Hoping to win a copy of this fabulous book! Thanks

Robin said...

Oh....I'm so hoping to win a copy of this book!! There are so many more techniques to learn!!!

June (planetjune) said...

I'm just teaching myself to knit and I don't know any cast-on or bind-off methods! I'm using a provisional crocheted cast-on to avoid the moment where I need to make an edging decision for my project, so this book would be absolutely invaluable to me :D

Jennifer R. said...

Oh how I need this book!!! I need so badly to have just ONE PLACE to reference for different c/o and b/o.
Thank you for the giveaway!

Dana Bincer said...

Who knew cast ons could be so complicated! =) I'm so new to knitting I only know one cast on. Just found out recently there are two ways of doing long tail. Maybe there's more??? I'd love to learn all I can about starting and finishing a knitted project!

Thanks for a very entertaining review.

Jo Morgan said...

this blog tour has been fun, both forthe chance to win the book and to see some blogs which were unfamiliar tome. I am totally in a rut with long tail cast on and plain pull a stitch over bind off. thanks for the chance to win!

Dawn said...

I so need this book! I learned long tail then a few years ago found out about cable and knitted cast on but...I don't know when to use one or the other.

oopsudroppedthis said...

Cool blog!

Zabbers said...

I have searched and searched for bind off methods that don't end up too tight (or in the rare instances I remember to be extra loose, too messy). It seems like no matter what I do I just don't have a dependable bind off method that is satisfying, easy, and gives consistently not-too-tight results! I hope this book can help me.

Jennifer R said...

I have been knitting for a whopping 4 months and only learned the long-tail cast-on. My teacher also showed us how to cast-on without making a slip knot, so I am deficient in that area (although it seems like it should be easy enough to figure out!). I would love to learn more techniques! Thanks for the opportunity!

Jessica said...

I had to look up the cable cast on last night... Its one I always forget.. this book looks great!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I probably don't stand a chance, but I am going to try. I would love to win this book and expand my knitting knowledge. I am not sure how to sign in, so I am going to choose anonymous. I hope I will still be able to find out if I have won!

laurie said...

I had a recent experience where the amount of yarn I had left was seriously short(like 10 inches at the end), and I would have loved to know if there were other options on the bind offs that would not have used as much yarn. So I am curious if this book does talk about that? Something like...this bind off does not use as much yardage....Does that make sense?

Mamie1 said...

I, too, have been knitting a very long time, but have only recently re-discovered the long tail CO. In that I detest running out of yarn 4 sts prior to the end of my CO, I use an inordinately long tail. Like a gator. I tried to understand the stretchy CO using two needles, and needed a glass of wine after watching several minutes of the youtube. I need help. with so many things, not the least of which is an alternative to IL-LTCO (inordinately long, long tail CO)
Mamie 1 (rav)

cmflame said...

I'd love a chance to own this book, such a great resource to have in one's library.

Julie C. said...

My only cast on story is that I have one way to cast on and if a pattern calls for anything else, I always, always, always have to look it up! This book would be very helpful!

CeltChick said...

Um...I think I know about 5 cast on methods. However, I make up in "awesomeness" what I lack in number of techniques, because one I DO know is a tubular cast on! That thing is like a magic trick. Another nifty one is casting on in long-tail, but alternately in knit and purl stitches so ribbing starts in the cast on -- also a nifty trick, especially if I'm starting at a hem or cuffs.

Heather said...

I love knitting related book tours! I also love how this book can give me clear understandings and usage of casting on and binding off, which I always dread due to there not being a uniform resource, but now there is! I cannot wait to get a copy! *fingers crossed*

trish said...

And I do cable cast on for almost everything, including when it specifies long tail! lol!

Laurie said...

I would love to win a book that would expand my cast on cast off horizons! So much depends on the finishes.

hert said...

When my mom taught me how to knit many years ago, it was one way to cast on and one way to cast off ... now a whole new world has opened for me. So much fun, different cast on and bind offs for different situations ;-)