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I did say in my first KAL post that we would be starting Hitofude on June 1st.  But I’m learning that some of you are really speedy knitters and you get to the tough parts before I do.  So, I wanted to post about casting on before our actual cast-on date, just so that you have a visual to work with when you get there.  Did you knit your swatch yet?  If not, start here.

We are going to use a provisional cast on to get started with this sweater.

First – Crochet a chain with a skinny, smooth bit of scrap yarn.  We need two chains, Chain A and Chain B, with lengths according to your size.  If you want, you can make your chains in two different colors so that you can identify them easily later.

Crochet Chain

Second – Pick up stitches in the shorter chain, Chain A.  We are going to put our needle through the “bumps” on the back of the chain and pull the working yarn through in order to pick up a stitch.  The pretty “chain” side of the chain ends up along the bottom edge.

Picking up in a chain

Third – Knit “SET UP ROW 1 (RS)” exactly as written.  Pick up the rest of the stitches you need from Chain B, as specified for your size.

Forth – Knit “SET UP ROW 2 (WS)” exactly as written.  Count your stitches when you’re done.

Fifth – Begin knitting the lace pattern, as written in the pattern.  TIP – as you work, try to “read” your knitting on the wrong side rows, so that you aren’t tied to the chart and you can relax.  It’s all knits and purls – can you see where the purl bumps are?

You may have some questions about the construction of this sweater.  Here are some answers!

Q: Where are we starting?  The bottom or the top?
A: Neither!  We are starting across the “wingspan” of the sweater – meaning, we are casting on the length of the left sleeve, across the back, and the length of the right sleeve.  We are going to knit this part all in one piece.

Q: Why are we casting on in two different sections?
A: It’s REALLY clever!  In order to keep this garment seamless, we are going to knit the sleeves and back in one piece, and then join the beginning and end of the sleeves to form a tube.  We have to cast on for the first sleeve and knit one set up row in order to keep the pattern lined up with the rest of the sweater when we’re joining the sleeves.  TRUST in the designer and don’t worry – we’ll walk you through that join when we get there.  (Side note: Check out Hiroko Fukatsu’s other designs on Ravelry.  She has some wonderful things!)

Q: Can’t I just cast on like usual?
A: You could, but why not try something new?  Since we’re helping you with it, we are your backup if something goes wrong – it’s the perfect time to try a new technique.  Plus, this little bit of knitting magic will end up looking FABULOUS!

If you have any other questions, let us know in the comments!  We’ll see you Sunday, June 1st at 10am for our first KAL meeting at the shop.