Friday, March 07, 2008

A Shetland COWYAK

By Leigh

Those of you who are members of Ravelry may already know what a COWYAK is. I'm not a member, but I learned about this while searching TECHknitting for cast-ons.

Even though I worked through the formula to calculate how much of each color yarn I'd need, I'm still a little paranoid about possibly running out of one of them (remember my Rare Breed Sweater near disaster?). To keep my stress level down, I've decided to go ahead and knit the body of the sweater and the sleeves first, and then add the cuffs, neck, and button bands last. In thinking about this, I decided that a provisional cast-on was probably what I wanted. Not remembering the "how-to's" of this technique, I clicked on over to TECHknitting and browsed through the subject index. That's where I discovered COWYAK.

"Cast On Waste Yarn And Knit." What could be easier! Perfect for an all-thumbs knitter like me, as it doesn't require any fancy maneuvering of needles and yarn. After casting on with waste yarn, a couple of rows are knitted with it and then the regular yarn is started. When it's time to add the ribbing, the waste yarn is removed, leaving loops to be picked up by another needle. The ribbing is then knit down from the picked up loops.

Here you have it....

.... my attempt anyway. You can also see the beginning of the checkerboard steek that I learned from Essential Techniques For Serious Knitters.

For full COWYAK instructions, as well as who gets the credit for this clever term, click here.

Posted 7 March 2008 at

Related Posts:
Starting The Bottom Ribbing - COWYAK pick-up
Spinning & Knitting Update - info on above mentioned book
Steeking So Far - progress!
What I Learned From My Swatch
Shetland Sampler Cardigan Complete!


Christine said...

But can you COWYAK in a kayak through some rapids? :)

Cathy said...

Thanks for pointing this out Leigh - I have never tried a provisional cast-on, but I think even I could manage this!

Woolly Bits said...

I have been knitting for over thirty years before I discovered the provisional cast-on - I've used it ever since as it is so easy and practical! though I never knit rows with waste yarn, either I crochet a chain and cast on through the single thread on the back or I use the waste yarn and knit straight on with whatever the project is. I used it for the middle part of my shawl and it made adding the first border really easy - and invisible! good idea for your ribs, too! happy knitting:)

Wool Enough said...

Oh, I like that COWYAK. A lot. I've always had trouble with provisional cast-ons, because theres no wiggle room to mess up. You just have that one row of waste yarn. And I always have trouble extracting it without killing the other yarn. Knitting a few rows is brilliant. Thanks for the link.

Sheepish Annie said...

You know, COWYAK really does make more sense as a provisional cast on, now that I think about it...

cyndy said...

The provisional cast on gave me trouble too...mostly during the extraction of it...I didn't know about COWYAK, so thanks for the heads up!