Why Scrap and Ravel?


Starting your knitting with waste yarn and ravel cord is a machine knitting staple technique.

Why Scrap and Ravel?

  • Use waste knitting to hang cast on comb and/or weights
  • Protect delicate/fine yarns
  • Immediately start patterning (tuck, lace, etc) with weights in place
  • Leave waste knitting in place to make blocking easier – especially for edges that roll

Scrap and Ravel Cast on

  1. Chose a yarn that is appropriate for your machine
  2. Cast on with any method
  3. Knit a few rows – end with the carriage on the left.
  4. Knit 1 row of ravel cord (smooth, slippery yarn – crochet cotton works great)
  5. Cast on over the ravel cord with your garment yarn
  6. Knit your piece
  7. After blocking, pull out the ravel cord and remove the waste yarn.
When non-machine knitters hear the term waste yarn, they often cringe.  Spinners especially are uncomfortable thinking about “wasting yarn”.  I’ve even known machine knitters who unravel and re-use waste yarn (even though they have dozens of cones sitting in their stash) … .but that’s a topic for another soapbox post.
scrap and ravel for machine knitting waste knitting for machine knitting

Scrap and Ravel Cast on for Machine Knitters

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One thought on “Why Scrap and Ravel?

  1. Anne Whalen

    October 11, 2016 at 12:54pm

    I have used waste yarn and gravel cord for some garments but I never thought of leaving it on for blocking. Thank you for that great tip.

  2. Pat Vermillion

    October 20, 2016 at 12:09am

    Ok need some help here – it has been sometime since I have been able to get to my machine for any knitting. I like the idea of using the waste yard but it seems to me back when I did use the ravel cord it was not a true knit row. Not sure I am making any sense but when I did use it all you had to do was to pull it and it comes right out. Doesn’t seem if it is a knitted row will come out just by pulling? Seems like there was a time for some reason I had to pick it out one stitch at a time.
    In the picture it shows two rows of the yellow yarn but then there is a row of main yard in between. what causes that?

  3. Author

    Knit it Now

    October 22, 2016 at 12:06am

    Hi Pat!
    You are correct. If you use a smooth, strong ravel cord and knit 1 row, it should slip out easily.

    If you are going to hang a hem and pick up the open stitches, knit 1 row of ravel cord and just start knitting with your garment yarn.

    If you want a closed cast on (no open stitches), knit 1 row of ravel cord, then e-wrap cast on with your garment yarn over all the needles and continue knitting. When you are done knitting, you slip out the ravel cord and you have a finished edge.

    I added a short new video to the end of this blog post. The green is scrap, the white is garment yarn. You can see the loops of the turquoise ravel cord … there is only one row.

    Hope this helps!

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