How to knit a picot cast-on

A step-by-step tutorial on casting on a picot edge the easy way, including a slow-motion video

Picots are a wonderful way to embellish your knitting. They add a little bit of fringey playfulness to an otherwise plain pattern and in this tutorial, I will show you how to knit a picot cast-on.

the picot cast on edge in knitting

It’s quite a simple cast-on technique with a stunning effect you do not want to miss. You knit it almost exactly like the corresponding picot bind-off and together they form a lovely pair in case you want to start and end your project with the same edge.

Let’s dive right into it, eh?

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Instructions: How to knit the picot cast-on

someone showing how to knit the picot cast on edge

The picot cast-on is a simple knitting technique that you can modify according to your preferences. You cast on additional stitches and bind them off right away. By variating the number of stitches you add you can change the size of the picots. I'll show you the standard method first.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Instructions

  1. Start with a slip knot.

    casting on stitches as normal to start fair isle knitting
  2. Knit one stitch into that slipknot but keep the loop on the left needle.

    knitting one stitch
  3. Slip the stitch you created back to the needle twisted (You can also slip it the regular way/point-to-point but it will be less seamless to knit).

    slipping back the stitch twisted to the left needle
  4. Essentially you are performing a knitted cast-on and you need to cast on two more stitches (altogether three) in that manner.

    casting on another 2 stitches
  5. Bind off two stitches the regular way.

    binding off two stitches
  6. Slip the remaining stitch back to the left needle. There should be two stitches now.

    slipping back the remaining stitch back to the left needle
  7. Cast on another 3 stitches with a knitted cast on and continue repeating steps 2-5 until your picot edge reached the desired length.

    continuing casting on in that manner to create a picot edge

Notes

This method will create a flouncy picot edge. If you want it to curl a little less, you simply have to adjust the number of stitches you cast-on in between. So, in step 4 you could cast on 4 instead of 3 stitches. And then you continue to just bind off two. That way you keep two instead of one stitch in between the picots.

Casting on smaller or larger picots

You can also create larger or smaller picots with this technique. So, here are two examples I created in preparation for this tutorial:

A) 3 stitch picots with 2 stitches in between

a very large picot edge (3 stitches high)
  • Step 1: Start with a slipknot
  • Step 2: Cast on 5 stitches with a knitted cast-on
  • Step 3: Bind off 3 stitches
  • Step 4: Slip the remaining stitch back to the left needle
  • Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 until you reached the desired length

B) 1 stitch picots with 2 stitches in between

a smaller picot edge (only one stitch high)

Step 1: Start with a slipknot
Step 2: Cast on 3 stitches with a knitted cast-on
Step 3: Bind off 1 stitch
Step 4: Slip the remaining stitch back to the left needle
Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 until you reached the desired length

Folded picot edge

folded picot edge knitting on the needles

Here, at the end of this tutorial, I also want to show you an alternative way to create a picot cast-on edge. It’s a bit more labor-intensive to create but the effects can be stunning – especially as it lays flat!

  • Step 1: Cast-on an uneven number of stitches using a provisional cast-on if you are knitting flat (and an even number for projects in the round).
  • Step 2: Knit across 5 rows in plain stockinette stitch.
  • Step 3: *k2tog, yo*, k1
  • Step 4: Knit another 5 rows of stockinette stitch.
  • Step 5: Pick up all stitches from the provisional cast-on using a spare needle.
  • Step 6: Fold your work at the [k2tog,yo]-line so the wrong sides are facing each other.
  • Step 7: Knit the two sides together the way you would knit a three-needle-bind off (without actually binding off). So, you always knit one stitch from the back needle together with one from the front needle. Then knit the last stitch.

I have a video on my youtube channel where I show this method step-by-step in case you are interested.

Anyway, that’s how to knit the picot cast-on. Comment below in case you need any further help.

how to knit the picot cast on - step by step tutorial

2 thoughts on “How to knit a picot cast-on”

  1. Your timing is impeccable. I’m going to cast on a new cardigan today and this will make a nice touch on it. Thank you

    Reply
  2. I’ve been knitting for over 60 years, and I am amazed at all of the new things I’m learning for your wonderful videos. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

    Reply

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