I’m doing it wrong

Actually, no, I’m not. I just do it differently. For years I’d wondered why some patterns tell you to do a long tail cast-on and purl the first row. Many times I came across an item that I wanted to knit exactly the way the pattern described it, because I didn’t want to mess up; and most of the time I came across this cryptic set of instructions – some variation on “the first row will be a WS one”. I didn’t get it, why would the designer want the bumpy side of the cast on to show? Then, I’d check for images of the edge, and whenever there was one available their edge didn’t have the bumpy side showing.
In my head there were two explanations for that discrepancy: either the designer/knitter used a different type of cast-on or, more likely, I was doing something wrong which I couldn’t find a way to fix. Over time I decided to just shrug and move on, ignoring that first WS row.

A few months ago a light bulb finally lit up in my head (because I’m obsessive like that and will wonder about the whys of things for a long, long time) and I figured out that all those designers and I were doing the same cast-on, but using different hands. Was that what the fight about left – handed vs. right – handed knitting was all about?

The long tail cast -on is still one of my least favorite ones to do. Ever since I began knitting, until the day I left my parents’ house, I’d have my mom do it for me – it was boring, I could never keep an even tension and it took forever. Once I moved out of their house (and out of town), I couldn’t use her “services” anymore, so I had to bite the bullet and do it myself. I learned to do it the same way I did with most other fiber activities : by turning whatever magazine I had at hand upside down and following the illustrations in it. This is how I ended up doing the long tail cast-on holding the needle on my left hand and manipulating the yarn with my right hand.
When I started doing the swatches for the masters’ program I found out that the way I cast on is called Reversed Long Tail Cast -on. Hmmmmmmmm…I had to learn to do the “proper” long tail cast -on, so I can show I’m able to follow instructions – which has one holding the needle on the right hand and manipulating the yarn with the left.
One of the reasons I don’t care for the long tail cast – on is the fact that mine always turns out too tight, but not when I do it with my right hand. 😀