Swatch Watch

I have slowly started working my way through the first few swatches for the Master Knitting program. My knowledge and experience with knitting certainly has holes, and I am hoping that this project will inspire me to explore new territories.


Right off the bat I decided that I should bite the bamboo and learn the long-tail cast on. I know, I know…but when I learned to knit, my friend Natasha taught me the knitted cast on, which I think is perfect for a beginner. And frankly, I rarely saw a need for a different type of cast on.

That is until I was working on the seed stitch swatch; the cast on edge had a hole after each purl stitch. At first I changed from a size 6 to size 5 needles to see if that would tighten things up a bit. And it really helped with consistency over the body of the piece, but made no difference at the cast on. Sigh. Isn’t it aggravating when you realize that there’s a better way to do things than the way you’ve been doing them?!

So yesterday I swallowed my pride, cracked open Nancie Wiseman’s The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques, and got started. I have never dealt well with how-to illustrations when it comes to knitting. It seems there is always some important action omitted from the series of pictures. Sure, the motion may be implied or understood by people who already know about knitting, but to the beginners it can be quite frustrating!

That’s where comes in handy. They have a great video demonstrating the long tail cast on. She describes it well, demonstrates it slowly, and shows it many times. After just a couple of minutes I had it down!


I restarted the seed stitch swatch on size 5 needles and immediately noticed a difference.


With this cast on method, you start with one row already knit. That means that the first row to work facing you is a purl row. I haven’t quite figured out what this means for certain stitch patterns yet, but it seems to be relatively unobtrusive so far. Here it is with a Knit 2 Purl 2 rib swatch:


So that’s the update. Now that I’ve taken the leap and started knitting these swatches, I’m pretty intrigued. I hope to keep this momentum going through all the projects.

There was a serious Northeastern snowstorm overnight, so it looks like a perfect day to stay inside and work on my knitting!

2 thoughts on “Swatch Watch

  1. The wool you chose shows off the stitches lovely! Will go look at the link now 🙂 My problem is, I often do know how to do something, but don’t always know what it is called. Or here in NZ we call it something else. Look forward to seeing all your swatches, hoping I will learn a new stitch or 2 🙂

  2. I can’t believe we taught you that funny cast-on! What were Fred and I thinking??? I ONLY use the long tail cast on method. . .unless the pattern calls for something else. It’s the best!

    Don’t you LOVE The videos are the best!

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