Casting on – using Judy’s Magic Cast On as a provisional cast on

Hello dear fellow Knitters.

I’m sure I am not the first to figure this out, but I haven’t found an instructional video out there for how to use Judy’s Magic Cast On (JMCO) – which is a fantastic way to start toe up stocks or slippers – as a provisional cast on for working flat.

What I like about using this method is

1. I get the same number of stitches for my working stitches and my provisional stitches. Having one less stitch when you pick up your provisional CO is the fly in the ointment of provisionally casting on. There are, of course, several other ways around this (ie. decreasing a stitch from you working stitches, or picking up another stitch from the edge when releasing your prov. CO) but I’ve come to love this method. It’s my go to for when I need a provisional cast on.

2. Your provisional stitches are already live and ready either to be knit if you are working in two directions, or seamed if you are seaming. You can hold them ready on a cable with two cable caps (if you have interchangeable needles) or on a stitch holder, or on scrap yarn.

I suggest this method in a couple of my patterns and figured people interested in trying it out could use a tutorial to make it clear what I’m talking about.

FIrst, you need to know how to do JMCO… I don’t show you that in this video. The best video for this CO that I have found is Liat Giat’s video. This is the first of a series of instructions for toe-up socks. For our purposes here, you only need to use the video to CO the stitches you need (ie, don’t take your stitches off your needles at the end, unless you want to CO again, and don’t worry about going to the next video in her series). Her technique is the exact method I used leading up to the instructions I detail in  my video

Have you stitches on your needle? Okay, now you’re ready for my video:

And there you have it. Hopefully that helps some people out! The video shows the method using DPNs, but if you are working a larger pattern, you can just use a circular needle or longer straight needles.

How many stitches to cast on?

If you are working from one of my patterns, I explain how many stitches to CO to each needle. If you are using this for another pattern that calls for a provisional CO, you basically CO double the required stitches, half go on one needle, half on the other. For example, if your pattern calls for 50 provisionally CO stitches, you will CO 100 stitches using JMCO with 50 stitches on each needle (50 will act as your working stitches, and the other 50 you will hold on a holder as your provisional stitches for seaming or knitting later)

If you have any questions or comments, do let me know!

Happy knitting


UPDATE: As a provisional cast on, this works best with pieces that are stockinette or feature primarily knit stitches on the right side.


7 Comments to “Casting on – using Judy’s Magic Cast On as a provisional cast on”

  1. THIS. This is so clever! I don’t care whether or not you unvented that, but this use of JMCO definitely deserves going into the toolbox of neat knitting tricks. Thanks a lot for taking the time and doing this great video.

  2. Thank you so very much. I use jmco for toe up socks and have wanted to use it as a provisional cast on but was not certain of the technique. Now I know! Your willingness to make this video is really appreciated.

  3. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for. Thanks so much for sharing, you saved the day!

  4. Thank you so much! I was hoping there was a way to use JMCO as a provisional cast on, because my seams look horrible, and I hate that the stitch count is off 😛 I know you said it works best in stockinette, but is it possible in 1×1 rib?

    • Hi Liz

      Thanks for your comment! You can certainly use it for a 1×1 rib, but you will have a “line” at the JMCO seam point since for your purls at that point there will be a “row” of knit stitches. The columns of the rib may also be offset a little bit too, but I’m not positive on that. Try it out by casting on 10-15 stitches (per needle) to see if you like how it looks.


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