Tricks, &
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Crafting should be a fun way to learn and grow, but sometimes we hit a snag and just need a bit of hand-holding to get us over the hurdle. I'll be adding pages to this section of that will help you gain new skills and expand your handmade horizons.


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This week I wanted to do a quick tutorial on how to do the German Twisted Cast-On (the cast-on that I recommend for my Giant Color Shift Brioche Scarf). This cast-on method is also known as the Old Norwegian Cast On and is wonderful for Brioche or any knitting where you want a super stretchy and elastic beginning to your project!

My Tagetes Shawlette begins with an I-Cord Tab Cast On, but it's slightly different than the usual one that's recommended for shawls. (I feel like this method is easier, but I may be biased.  ^_-  )


This tutorial will cover how I make my I-Cord Tab so that you don't have to pick up as many stitches as you're casting-on. The instructions listed below are easy to use for any other pattern that calls for an I-Cord Tab Cast On as well so it's a good technique to try out. You never know when a new skill will come in handy!

A Magic Ball in knitting/crochet is a ball or cake of yarn that is actually made up of several smaller skeins (usually leftovers, mini-skeins or samples). These yarns can be high-contrast, low-contrast, matchy-matchy, completely random, whatever your heart desires! (You can even play with making your own gradient skein by connecting colors that are just slightly different from one another.) These yarns can really be connected with any old knot (or your favorite form of splicing) but my preferred method is the Magic Knot.


The Magic Knot is a type of knot that is very small, solid and (best of all) reliable. It's almost imperceptible once the yarn is knit/crocheted and is an excellent choice when you're working a project where your ends won't stay put either due to the nature of the fabric or the nature of the yarn. You can even use it for superwash yarns & create your own self-striping sock yarn from your scraps if you'd like. I actually learned this technique years and years ago when I made jewelry, so it may be familiar to you once you see it laid out as well.

When working this cast-on, you are essentially making a crocheted chain around your knitting needle. This creates a row of workable knit stitches that can be taken out at a later point so that you can work the fabric in the opposite direction. It can also be used to graft live stitches to the cast-on stitches instead of using a traditional bind-off. This will create a seamless join between the two ends of the fabric.

I discovered this cast-on in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac when I was originally learning how to make a Pi Shawl. It's extremely useful & is very similar to the crocheted Magic Ring Cast-On that is often used to make stuffed crochet animals. This cast-on is essentially a loop that you crochet stitches around so that you can tighten the center as much as you like before weaving in the ends of your project. This gives a beautiful closed center to your project without having a gaping hole or an awkward puckering that distort's your fabric.

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Knitting Skills