An Icelandic Cast On Review

I’ve had a chance to try the Icelandic Cast On that I mentioned the other day. It was designed by Patty Lyons to match the Icelandic Bind off, which is one of my favorites.

Here’s Patty’s video if you haven’t checked it out yet.

Here’s what happened in my hands. I did a little swatch to test it out. It’s a great little swatch. Highlighting more than just if I like this cast on. For example, without intending to, it highlights the impacts of garter stitch on row gauge, reminding us that we can’t just swap out stitch patterns willy nilly. Especially if you’re trying to change a stockinette based pattern to a garter based pattern.


Knowing that garter stitch is short and fat is one thing, seeing it in action is something else entirely. The left side of this swatch is 1×1 rib and the right side is garter stitch. In only 10 rows, the height difference between these two stitches is quite drastic. This is why swatching is important. Fortunately, I wasn’t looking for a perfect square. I’m only interested in the first row and the last row. Otherwise, I’d be in trouble.

As for the Icelandic Cast On. I’m going to reject the name. If you’re the type to obsess over matching your bind off to your cast on, this technique is only going to make you cry. They definitely do not match.


The top of this image is my cast on, the bottom is my bind off. Patty’s suggestion is to go down a size to cast on and up a size to bind off. I didn’t totally heed that advice but I went down two sizes for the cast on. Still, they’re clearly different.

I’m not throwing this baby out with the bathwater though. It’s still a neat cast on. It’s just misnamed. It’s sort of a modified picot cast on. I’m sure it has some useful applications.

Patty swatched with stockinette but for me, the Icelandic Bind Off is all about garter stitch. It’s a neat, symmetric bind off that doesn’t roll. It’s got a great reversibility to it that pairs perfectly with garter stitch. I’m not getting any of that with the so-called Icelandic Cast On.

The second half of my swatch is ribbing because I think this is where Patty’s new cast on could be put to it’s best use. If your project starts with ribbing but you don’t want to it pull in to it’s extreme, this cast on is very spread out. In my photo above, the swatch is resting in it’s natural state, straight off the needles. You can see that it is ribbing. It hasn’t done that neat trick where 1×1 rib reads as stockinette. Of course, if you want your 1×1 rib to read as stockinette, this is not the cast on for you.

In any event, I like trying to cast ons and I think this one is a fun one to remember, somewhere in the future, it’s going to be just the thing I need for a project.

Where does this leave my Dissent Cowl cast on? That was the whole point, after all. I’ve officially ruled out the backward loop, the knit cast on and now the so-called ‘Icelandic Cast On’. At this point I just wanted to start knitting so I went with a nice classic Long Tail Cast On.


Turns out, it’s classic for a reason. Look at those lovely even stitches. Not a blip in sight. Nothing loose or loopy, nothing that can be called sloppy or disheveled.. Just an edge with the structure and firmness that I can appreciate.

I’m glad I didn’t settle for something I was unhappy with. I think that’s a lesson RBG would appreciate. Doing research and putting in the extra work is worth it. Fortunately, I don’t have to litigate my reasons for change in a court of law, but I could make a reasonable argument, if I had to.

And so, I’m looking forward to my weekend knitting. Hope you are too!


  1. bonnyknits

    Oh, thank goodness for you! I’d seen your last post and was all “oh shit now I don’t wanna do that cowl because I can’t deal with learning a fancy new cast-on” so knowing that I can just do my favorite long-tail makes me happy. Hoping to stash-dive for yarns this weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. FogKnits

        I’ve definitely been focusing on the therapeutic aspects of knitting that the media loves to talk about. I’ve certainly always believed those health benefits exist but did necessarily see widespread positive effects myself.

        Completely different story recently, I’ve been far more mindful of exactly what I’m doing and why. Working on those elements of my knitting, the simple, repetitive, meditation elements with intentional focus has been great.

        I do feel like I’m able to focus better at work these days. I’ve never felt like I had ADD problems but I’ve definitely had a hard time maintaining focus while the world has been such a dumpster fire. It’s really been eye opening to understand the benefits of knitting more personally. Turns out, the narrative about knitting being a great healthy activity is true but you definitely need to work at it. It doesn’t just happen.

        Of course, it’s all mental but I really am amazed at how a small shift on my part has had a big impact. Then again, the air has been clean and breathable for over a week now. I can’t give knitting all the credit. But clean air + mindful knitting = better than winning the lottery these days!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. FogKnits

      I have to say, after scrolling the dissent cowl hashtag on instagram last night, I’m really glad I took the time to find a technique I’m happy with.

      I saw a photo of a finished cowl from someone proclaiming they were so happy to be finished with their awesome cowl, especially because it didn’t even need to be blocked. Meanwhile, the loosey goosey backwards loop cast on was causing the edge to buckle and flare like crazy. I was not impressed.

      Small details matter.


  2. Olivia

    God I love your posts. How you make such a mundane thing so entertaining and informative is your gift. And the final cast on is perfect. Totally. I cannot wait to watch this thing grow.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cyn McDonald

    Thank you so much for the review. I’m about to cast on something like 300 stitches for a lengthwise scarf, and now I’ll just go with long-tail.


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