Colorful Magic Cast-On Method

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Attempting to turn an idea into reality.


It started with an idea for a tie for my dad. Several *iterations of the idea later, I’d settled on a double-sided tie with a checkerboard border.

Men’s Tie Design Idea
Side A is dark teal with silver checker; Side B is silver with dark teal checker.

There may be some sort of cable pattern to add interest on both sides.

Yarn is light fingering – 10 stitches/12 rows per inch using US #0 / 2mm needles. (Image is not meant to be an actual colorwork chart. It’s just meant to represent the idea.)

There may already be excellent tutorials out there for this very thing, but I wasn’t able to find one. So, I fiddled around a bit and came up with a fair approximation of what I wanted. As you can see below, there are still a few kinks to work out, but I think the basic technique is a sound one. Had I paid attention to not twisting my stitches on one needle, my first attempt would have looked pretty decent, I think.


So, how did I do it? It is, at its heart, Judy’s Magic Cast On, but I held one color over my index finger and another color over my thumb. After each cast on of a pair of stitches, I twisted the colors so the opposite colors would be on finger and thumb. To keep from going crazy with the twisted yarn, I used Arne’s method for twined knitting.

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Initially, the tie was going to be single sided, single color in the dark teal. After a swatch, I decided it needed a bit of color. That led to trying both mosaic and stranded color techniques, but I wasn’t happy with how the color changes looked on the tie’s edge. So, I decided it would have to be done in the round. I didn’t want to deal with minimizing a color jog so I thought alternating colors would be nice. About the same time, I began thinking of how toe up socks get worked and that made me think of Eastern European colorwork socks. That was when I decided a color border would be lovely, but I’d do a checkerboard to avoid the color jog issue. Then I started looking for a cast-on method that would work. That brings us to this post.

Never let it be said that I can’t turn a perfectly good minimalist idea into a crazy, complicated idea! For the record – after all the above, I decided that even with a light fingering weight yarn, I didn’t like the thickness of the tie. So, back to the tie drawing board. Still, I have this cast-on technique for future colorwork projects!

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