3 hours later...and the lightbulb went on! -- or - HERE'S A GREAT TIP
Boy - have I had a tough time casting on. But you know what they say - the third time's the charm.
Attempt #1: I thought I was doing the invisible cast on, but 3 rows into the hem, I started thinking that things did not look quite right. The way the waste yarn was postioned, it was not going to come out very easily when it was time to make the bottom loops. What I had done was the long tail cast on. Rip, rip, rip.
Attempt #2: This time I looked more carefully at the instructions on page 143 of IK and tried again. What I ended up with was uneven, ugly, twisted stitches. This waste yarn thing was just not working. I could not get enough tension and stability to get the thing to come out right. Rip, rip, rip.
Attempt #3: Finally, the ligh bulb came on. The invisible cast on looked pretty similar to the figure 8 cast on. I had never tried this method before, but figured I would give it a try. This requires using 2 circular needles. The second needle took the place of the waste yarn, and voila, my cast on came out great. And - to top it off, my second needle is already in those free loops, so when it comes time to join the hem, I won't have to fiddle with feeding the needle through those bottom stitches.
If you have not cast on yet, I would recommend trying the figure 8 method. The above picture reflects where I am at currently, after having worked the first 2 rows of the hem. The bamboo needles are my working needles and the grey needles (inner circle) are my "waste yarn."
Oh, and do you like what my project is sitting on? You can't see a whole lot of it, but it's my new project bag. I got it on sale at Target for $6.00. Isn't she pretty?