My sister showed me an interesting way to cast on knitting stitches. She called it a 'picot cast on' but it looks like a bauble stitch to me. The directions that she showed me also included a picot cast off. I decided to try both--just to make sure that I had them figured out.
I had one skein of yarn so I figured that a scarf was an easy way to practice the cast on and the cast off. You can make this key hole scarf with any cast on off that you prefer.
You can use any yarn, any size needle, and any stitch that you like. I used a stitch that is the same on both the front and the back--no right and wrong side. My yarn was worsted weight and acrylic. I used a size 8 (5 mm) set of needles.
After I finished mine (the mustard colored one), my mother-in-law hinted (strongly) that I should make another one to give away. The blue one is hers.
Step 1: Cast On--Bauble Edge
Cast on 4 stitches. Knit 2 stitches. Pass the first stitch over the second stitch. (First cast off) Knit 1 stitch. Pass the 2nd stitch over the 3rd. (Second cast off) You should have only 2 stitches left. Put both stitches on the left needle.
Cast on 4 more stitches. Cast off 2. Slip right stitch back onto left needle.
Repeat this process until you have one less than the desired number of stitches--in my case, 32 or 36 stitches.
Cast on one more stitch--33 or 37 stitches total.
Step 2: Beginning--the Basic Stitch
The stitch that I used probably has a name but I do not know it. It is worked over a multiple of 4 stitches plus one. I used 33 stitches (8 times 4 plus 1) or 37 (9 times 4 plus 1) but you can use more or less depending on the width you desire and what needles you happen to have on hand.
Knit 3 stitches, purl one stitch, knit 3, purl 1. Continue in this way ending the row with knit 3 stitches, purl 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch. Turn your work and repeat the same row.
Continue until your work measures approximately 8 to 10 inches.
Step 3: Key Hole
Knit the first half of the next row keeping the pattern going. Turn your work and continue in pattern back over there same first half of the row. Continue knitting these same stitches until this side measures about 3 inches longer than the other half. Finish with the longer half on a different needle from the short half.
Cut your yarn--leave enough of a tail to allow you to weave in the end later.
Attach the yarn to the first stitch of the short half. Knit over these stitches in pattern until both halves are the same length.
Step 4: The Rest of the Body
Keep knitting over both halves. Keep the pattern going until you almost use up your yarn or until the scarf is long enough to go around your neck with the tail tucked through the key hole.
Step 5: Cast Off
Cast on 2 stitches. Cast off 4 stitches. Slip the one stitch back to the left needle. Cast on 2 stitches, Cast off 4. Repeat until you have cast off all the stitches. Weave in the ends of your yarn as well as any other loose ends.