My first provisional cast on did not go smoothly. When I picked up the stitches in the first row and pulled out the crochet, I found that I had 20 stitches instead of 24. That's a pretty neat trick, given that I had 24 stitches for all 143 rows of the top band. I don't know where the 4 lost stitches in the very first row went, or how I managed to knit the correct number of stitches from a base of incorrect stitches, but through some careful finagling and fudging and fussing (and some other F-words, at least one of which has four letters), I was able to create 4 stitches in what I hope will be inconspicuous spots and get the two ends grafted together.
Behold, the horizontal band:
I spent this evening picking up 144 stitches along the bottom of the band and have knit 2-1/2 rounds. At this rate, I expect to be finished sometime in September.