OK, I've never liked doing Provisional Cast on. I have always found it fiddly and clunky. I like my knitting to flow smoothly and quickly. When my friend Kelly did her Looking Glass Longies pattern which I tested for her, I was horrified that it had a PCO in it, so I started to search for a method which wasn't fiddly like the cast on with waste yarn and knit as normal, unpicking the cast on stitch by stitch as you need, or the crochet cast ons - whether it be a crochet chain (which I could never get to unravel) or the one where you crochet around your knitting needle, I didn't like them.
So I set about trying to work out a PCO method which was more akin to knitting - more akin to a long tail cast on to be precise. I had a pattern which was developing in my head, but in order for it to work top down, it had to begin with a PCO, but I was at the point of using one piece of waste yarn for both forks of a long tail cast on. So I worked it bottom up and kitchener stitched it together. [As an aside I might very well redo the instructions to go top down now too]
But just recently I struck the magic method. I've never seen it before, so I'm going to blog it. My good friend Tikki told me its very similar to the Invisible Cast on, so I googled that. It is alike it, but different at the same time, so I'm still going to blog it. Plus the bonus of this method is that all the stitches are facing the right way and you don't need to knit anything through the back loops.
So, here goes. (at the moment I have cruddy pics, I am going to switch them when I get better ones with the help of hubby)
Step 1: Make a slip knot on your needle with your working yarn (shown here in dark colours) without a long tail (just leave enough to weave in when finishing).
Step 2: Take your piece of waste yarn (shown here in yellow) and hold the beginning end in your right hand along your needle - I grab the tail of the working yarn also to keep it out of the way.
Step 3: Hold your two strands of yarn as you would when you do a long tail cast on. Your waste yarn should be over your thumb and your working yarn over your finger. Keep a hold on your slip knot against the needle aswell.
Step 4: Needle under waste yarn from front to back.
Step 5: Needle over working yarn from the top. The tip of the needle goes in front of the working yarn, over the top and loops the working yarn around it.
Step 6: Needle under waste yarn from back to front, bringing your needle back to its start position. [One stitch cast on - two stitches on needle]
Step 7: Needle over working yarn from the top again as in step 5. [One stitch cast on - three stitches on needle]
Repeat Step 4 - Step 7 until you have cast on the correct number of stitches.
When you have your correct number, make sure your final stitch is held in securely by twisting it with the waste yarn once.
Turn your work and work to pattern as normal.
When time comes to pick up the stitches, it is a simple matter of picking them up off the waste yarn as you would normally (as if when you place arm stitches on waste yarn.
It's very much like going under your waste yarn and doing two wraps of your needle, the first wrap takes you under the waste yarn and the second is done in front of the waste yarn.
I hope it helps someone else who hates PCO.
Off to design something with a PCO in it lol.