How to Provisional Cast On with Judy’s Magic CO

If you want a more detailed instructional video, Julie has made one, with audio, here

Judy’s Magic CO is a great provisional cast on method because: 

  • The second set of stitches is left on the needle ready to knit
  • It does not require a crochet chain
  • You don’t need to cut away or unravel scrap yarn

When you are instructed to PCO, it means pairs of stitches. For instance, if the pattern instructs you to PCO 12 sts, that would be 12 stitches onto EACH needle for a total of 24. You will only work the 12 stitches from one needle, leaving the other 12 on hold. When you are ready to knit the other direction, you will return to those 12 held stitches, rejoin yarn, and work seamlessly in the other direction.



Step 1

Hold two needles parallel with right hand


Right = top needle


Left = bottom needle


Step 2

Pull out tail of yarn


Step 3

Hold yarn as for Long Tail Cast On


Step 4

Loop yarn from top finger over bottom needle


Step 5

Loop yarn from bottom finger over top needle


Step 6

Repeat steps 4 & 5

In the Cocoknits Sweater Workshop and Cocoknits Method Extended Collection patterns, this provisional cast on technique is used for the back neck of the Lizzie, Kiki, and Franca collars.



Hi Eileen,

You may find the second video, linked to above, helpful. In it Julie shows how to start a collar with this PCO. It has audio and Julie explains that the right side of the cast-on stitches is the smooth side. Once you’ve determined the right side, then you will know you need to begin knitting on the right, where the working yarn is, from the stitches on the top needle. If you are knitting a sock, you will continue around the cast-on stitches, rather than working back and forth as for the collar. Hope that helps!


After doing PCO how does one start knitting? Which needle? Which is the right side?


Hi Kathleen, You are welcome! So glad you are enjoying Toni.


Thank you very much for the update on PCO!!! It was great and I love knitting Toni!!!


Hi Nadia, Thank you for your suggestion. We’ve added it to our list!

Nadia Khan

Would it be possible to have a video demonstrating how to continue working with the stitches after the PCO is done? I understand the concept, but I think it would be super helpful to see it done. Thank you!


Hi Kathy, You don’t need to put the stitches onto a holder unless you find that more convenient. You were already working with two needles, so just leave the second set of stitches on the cable of the second needle and work the other half of the stitches. The second set will be all set to go when you need them. Hope that helps!


Thanks but once all the required stitches are on the two needles, what is next? I’m guessing that one of set of stitches is put on waste yarn or yarn holder, but??

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