In the first session we went right back to basics and learnt three different types of casting on - apparently there are over 30 different ways to cast on in total! The aim of this course is to go over the basics pretty speedily, and then to cover the "correct" ways to do things such as sew up a garment like a cardigan. Also there will hopefully be a chance to cover some techniques suggested by members of the group - amongst my suggestions were learning how to follow patterns properly and also how to knit with multiple coloured ball in one garment. So fingers crossed we get round to covering those!
We practiced three types of casting on and then for homework we were set the task to knit one square in stocking stitch using each of the three methods. Here are my homework squares and a brief explanation of each method. If anyone is interested in more detail, or step by step pictures of any or all of the methods, please let me know and I'll see what i can do! Hopefully you can get some idea of the effect of each cast on from the pictures.
1) Thumb Method
This is the method that i usually use. In brief, you use your thumb to create the loops for the stitches. This is useful for garments that need to have a bit of stretch in them, for example hats or baby clothes.
2) Cable Method
This is the method that my Mum and my Nana use. It involves creating the stitches on the needle in a similar way to how you would do a knit stitch. This cast on is good for clothing and items where you are not looking for any stretch. I think this is the one that gives the neatest finish.
3) Lace Method
The lace cast on creates very loose stitches, and is good for - you guessed it - knitting lace-like wools or ones with a very loose stitch. You create the stitches in a very similar way to the cable method, however you work through the front of the stitch only. I personally did not like this method once as it was very fiddly and in my opinion does not give a very neat finish.
I found the Thumb method and the Cable method equally simple to be honest, and will probably use a combination of the two in future depending on what i am knitting. I would be very interested to hear which methods the knitters amongst you tend to use!
In other news, i am excited to report that i will be taking part in the Crafty Christmas Club this year! Basically this is a blog where crafters can blog about their Christmas gifts and share inspiration without spoiling the surprises to friends and family who may read their usual blog. Pop over and have a look....unless you are expecting a Christmas present from me this year, in which case i ask you to step away and wait for the surprise :)