Tutorial: The Emily Ocker Cast On

It’s been ages since the last tutorial, hasn’t it? Time to fix that. With a new centre-out design coming out in the fall and the release of a revised version of the Sweet Lullaby Seamless Hooded Baby Blanket, now’s a good time to demonstrate a useful cast on for projects worked from the centre: the Emily Ocker cast on. This is the cast on that I go to for centre-out work, as I find it fairly easy to do, and a simple tug on the tail closes the hole left in the middle of your work.

Photos are shown at about half-size; click any photo to embiggen it.

You will need:

  • Your yarn (of course)
  • A set of double-pointed needles in your gauge size (or 2 circular needles, or 1 long circular for magic loop; this demonstration uses DPNs)
  • A crochet hook, either in the same size as your gauge needle or one size smaller

Take your yarn and form a loop with the tail to the back. (Some instructions will say to put the tail at the front; I find it easier to work the first stitch with the tail at the back and unwind the tail later.)

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 1: loop

Put your crochet hook through the loop and hook the working yarn,

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 2: hook working yarn

and pull it through the loop.

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 3: pull first strand through

Bring your crochet hook over the original loop and hook the working yarn again,

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 4: hook yarn again

and pull the yarn through the loop you just made.

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 5: making the first stitch

Et voilà! You have made your first stitch. Tighten it a bit, but not too much: if the stitches are too tight, the tail won’t move through them easily, and you’ll have a heck of a time closing the hole later on.

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 6: first stitch completed

The rest of the stitches go the same way: Put your hook through the big loop and hook the working yarn

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 7: stitch 2 first step

and pull it back through.

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 8: stitch 2 first loop

Hook the working yarn again,

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 9: making the second stitch

and pull it through the loop you just made.

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 10: pulling stitch 2 through the loop

You can use the big loop to snug the stitches together, and the working yarn to (gently, slightly) tighten the stitch.

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 11: second stitch done

See how the tail is twisted around the big loop?

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 12: tail twisted around the big loop

Now’s a good time to untwist it.

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 13: tail untwisted

Keep going until you have the requisite number of stitches. For a square, I generally do 8 stitches; for a top-down hat or a circle, it might be 6 or 5 or some other number.

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 14: 8 sts on the hook
These stitches ended up being a bit tight, hence the warnings above.

Pull on the tail to tighten the loop (you don’t have to tighten it all the way at this point, just get the loop out of the way), and transfer the stitches to your working needles, placing a marker for the beginning of the round. Since the first stitch is at the beginning of the first needle, I put the marker between the first and second stitches and call it good: as long as you know which is the first needle, you know where the round begins.

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 15: stitches on dpns

Once you’ve worked a few rounds, you can finish closing the loop.

thecusserknits tutorial | Emily Ocker 16: the final tightening

And there you have it! If you have any questions, or there’s anything that’s not clear, post about it below and I’ll answer ’em. I’ve got a few more tutorials lined up, but there’s always room for more, so let me know if there’s a technique you’d like me to demonstrate here.

2 thoughts on “Tutorial: The Emily Ocker Cast On

  1. Great tutorial! Keep up the good work! Thanks for the revised pattern.

    Much love,

    Mumacita/Alison xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo. . . >

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