Learn the Channel Island Cast On

Learn how to start your knitting projects with a Channel Island Cast On and add decorative, elastic edges to sweaters and socks.
By Leslie Ann Bestor
August 31, 2012
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“Cast On, Bind Off” presents more than 50 ways to cast on and bind off, creating edges that are tighter, looser, stretchier, lacier, longer-lasting, prettier or whatever your project needs.
Cover Courtesy Storey Publishing

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Expand your knitting repertoire and thumb through Leslie Ann Bestor’s Cast On, Bind Off (Storey Publishing, 2012). This one-of-a-kind reference teaches how to choose — and execute — the most appropriate, functional and effective means of creating professional and beautiful edges for any number of knitting projects. Start with this Channel Island Cast On and marvel at the decorative, long-lasting and strong, elastic edge it produces. This excerpt is taken from the chapter “Stretchy Cast Ons.” 

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Cast On, Bind Off.

Channel Island Cast On

a.k.a. Knotted

This cast on produces a strong, elastic edge with a series of bumps or knots, almost like picots. The flexibility makes it suited for top-down socks, while the decorative edge adds a nice bit of interest to edges of garments. Knitted ganseys often use this cast on, and because it is made with an extra strand of yarn, it holds up well. This technique makes an even number of stitches.


• Decorative edge
• Stretchy edge
• Strong and long-wearing edge

Good for

• Bottom edge of sweaters
• Cuffs
• Gansey sweaters

Working the Cast On

1. Measure out a tail that is twice the length you would need for a Long-Tail Cast On. Fold this in half and make a slip knot where the two strands come together, leaving a short tail for weaving in later. Place the slipknot on your needle (See Image Gallery).

2. Hold the yarn in slingshot position, with the single strand (the one connected to the ball of yarn) going over your index finger. Take the double-strand tail and loop it, counterclockwise, twice around your thumb (See Image Gallery).

3. Reach the needle behind the single strand of yarn, as if making a yarnover (See Image Gallery).

4. Insert the needle tip up under the two doubled tails on the thumb (See Image Gallery).

5. Reach over the top of the single strand and pull a loop through (See Image Gallery).

6. Drop the yarn from your thumb and pull on the ends to snug the stitch (See Image Gallery).

7. Repeat steps 2 - 6 for the desired number of stitches. Note that this sequence makes 2 stitches: the first a yarnover and the second a knot (See Image Gallery).

Getting It Right

On the first row of knitting, knit the knots and purl the yarnovers. At the end of the first row, treat the two strands of the slip knot as 2 stitches. This creates an even number of stitches. For an odd number of stitches you may use the slip knot as 1 stitch (though this can be rather bulky) or decrease/increase 1 stitch in the first row of knitting.

Want to learn another kind of cast on? Read Learn Judy’s Magic Cast On to learn how to make a clean, invisible start on enclosed objects such as balls or bags.

Excerpted from Cast On, Bind Off © Leslie Ann Bestor, photography © John Polak used with permission from Storey Publishing. 

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