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Purling On: Unventing a Better Cast-On for Thumb Gussets [Tutorial]

Purling On: Unventing a Better Cast-On for Thumb Gussets [Tutorial]

I was working on a project today, a project with thumb gussets. Inevitably in such a project there’s that certain spot when you have to cast on extra stitches in the middle of a row. In the past, I’ve always used the half hitch (a.k.a. backwards-loop or single cast-on) method.

I don’t like the half hitch. Yeah, it’s quick and easy but looks like crap. It’s unstable. And it’s nigh on impossible to pick up the stitches from the edge when you’re working on the thumb.

I was looking for better cast-on methods, fiddled with a few and came up with this. I’m sure there’s a proper name for it but for now I’m calling it purling on. Because it’s exactly like knitting on, except you purl. :D

(This can of course be used for other purposes where you need to cast on in the middle of the row, like underarm stitches in a top-down sweater.)

1. Here I’ve transferred the gusset stitches on a piece of scrap yarn and need to cast on 3 new stitches on the following row.

2. Turn the work.

3. With wrong side facing, purl the first stitch on the left needle but don’t drop it off the needle.

4. Transfer the purled stitch to the left needle. Again, purl the first stitch, don’t drop it, and transfer the new stitch back to the left needle. Keep going until you’ve cast on the desired amount.

5. Here I’ve cast on 3 purled stitches – what my pattern called for. Cast on one extra stitch.

6. Turn the work. I now have 3 + 1 new stitches at the end of the needle.

7. With right side facing, transfer the last cast-on stitch (now left-most stitch on the right needle) to the left needle.

8. Knit the first two stitches together.

9. And you’re done! Looks stabler and sturdier than the half hitch. No gapes, no holes – it’s pretty.


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Purling On: Unventing a Better Cast-On for Thumb Gussets [Tutorial]

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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