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A crochet provisional cast-on, in waste yarn, is a classic way to make a cast-on edge that you can unzip later, freeing up live stitches. A provisional cast-on is often used to start a shawl that will later need an edging knitted onto it. Being able to access live stitches gives a seamless join that cannot be achieved by picking up stitches from a regular cast-on edge. 

The first crochet cast-on I learned was simple to describe: just crochet a chain of stitches in waste yarn; then pick up your knit stitches, in real yarn, into that chain. But it is devilishly frustrating and fiddly to pick up stitches into a chain that wiggles and twists. It won’t sit still and let you get purchase on the stitches. And if you don’t pick up a knit stitch in the correct “bump” of the crochet stitch, the “unzipping” won’t work in the end, and you will end up cutting that chain out of your knitting.

I had given up on the crochet cast-on until someone showed me this much easier way.

So simple, stable and sane. Works every time.


  • I’m a left-handed crocheter (not knitter, though), and the first time I tried this cast-on, my stitches didn’t unzip like they were supposed to. I tried knitting through the back loop on the first row after the cast-on – and the stitches unzip like a charm!

    • Bless you, bless you, bless you!!!! This is the best tip for those of us who crochet left-handed. Thank you for sharing.

  • Thanks for posting this video! I had learned this method years – OK, decades – ago, but hadn’t used it since the 90’s. In my own trials today I was doing something wrong, and was so happy to find a clear video demonstrating this technique.

  • I use this both as provisional with scrap yarn and as a crochet cast on with working yarn and no extra chaining. I stumbled into this this spring and love this.

  • Best provisional cast-on!

  • I never learned to do a provisional cast on with a crochet hook. I learned using a technique described only as the scooping ice cream method which gives you two stitches per scoop. Once learned, never forgotten

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