Why Your Cast-On Is Too Tight… And How To Fix It

Tighten thumb yarn, not index finger!If your cast-on is too tight, you are probably pulling the wrong yarn.

When you are doing a long-tail cast-on and you snug up the stitches as you cast on, tug with your thumb, not your index finger.

Why? This will tighten the knot and not the stitch itself.

If you’ve cast on with good tension, you’ll be able to slide the stitches around on the needle, but they should not be so loose that they slide by themselves.

Also, make sure that you are using the fingers of your right hand to stabilize the new stitches as you cast them on. I show you why in the video below:

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Why Your Cast-On Is Too Tight - You're Pulling The Wrong Yarn
If your cast-on is too tight, you are probably pulling the wrong yarn. When you are doing a long-tail cast-on and you snug up the stitches as you cast on, tug with your thumb, not your index finger. Why? This will tighten the knot and not the stitch itself. If you’ve cast on with good tension, you’l

One trick you can use if you find yourself continually casting on too tight is to cast onto both your needles at once.

Then, remove one needle and you will see that your stitches are bigger, but still nice and even:

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Use Two Needles To Fix A Tight Cast-On
If your cast-on is too tight, you are probably pulling the wrong yarn. When you are doing a long-tail cast-on and you snug up the stitches as you cast on, tug with your thumb, not your index finger. Why? This will tighten the knot and not the stitch itself. If you’ve cast on with good tension, you’l

You can also experiment with casting on using a needle that is a few sizes bigger than what your pattern calls for.

If you tend to cast on too loose, try using a needle a few sizes smaller than what your pattern calls for.

These cast-on tips are brought to you by...

Cast-Ons Ebook Coming Soon

These tips are a small part of our acclaimed video knitting course, The KnitFreedom Video Guide To Cast-Ons, released May 2013. Check it out today!

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Have you run into these issues? Looking forward to the e-book? Leave a comment and let me know!


Related Course: Guide to Cast-Ons

"If you're one of those knitters who likes to find out the best way to do things, this video series is definitely for you." -Sarah E. White, Editor of About.com Knitting Learn 50 unique ways to start your knitted projects, using stretchy cast-ons, invisible cast-ons, center-start cast-ons, and more.

60 thoughts on “Why Your Cast-On Is Too Tight… And How To Fix It”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! For years (over fifty) I’ve not been happy with my too-tight cast-on. I, too, have been pulling the wrong thread. It’s good to know you can teach an old(er) dog new tricks. ;-)

  2. Hi,I read your blogs named “Why Your Cast-On Is Too Tight… And How To Fix It | KnitFreedom” daily.Your writing style is awesome, keep up the good work! And you can look our website about love spells.

  3. Hi Liat,
    Thanks for the reply to my casting on problem (I hadn’t realised it was tight until I had finished the garment). I tried your suggestions and the one that worked for me was to unpick the cast on edge until I had loops I could use; reknit the bottom and cast off loosely. Jumper looks a treat. Thank you so much. I’m checking my casting on in the future.

    1. Yaaaaay……….I am so glad it is working out for you Trish!

      Happy Knitting,

      Candy, (Customer Happiness Guru)

  4. Your info is really good but I have a question. I have knitted a jumper, finished it, sewn it up and then discovered that the cast on edge of the body of the jumper is too tight! Is there a way I can correct it? Please would you tell me how to do it if there is?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Trish!

      It is so disappointing to find out after you’ve finished the whole project that your cast-on edge is too tight! I’m sorry that happened to you, and I hope it is the last time. As far as fixing the cast-on after you’ve finished the project, I would only attempt it if it’s truly, truly, way too tight. Blocking the edge aggressively may be all you need to loosen the cast-on.

      If you decide it needs to be re-done, what I would do is carefully cut the cast-on off. I would unravel the yarn carefully until I had a row of loops that I could use as live stitches. I would put those stitches on a needle, knit a little bit further, and then end with a stretchy bind-off.

      I do not know if this will work for you, so as a way of experimenting, why not try to knit a small swatch, in the round if your jumper is knit in the round. Knit for 10-20 rows or rounds and bind-off. Then try following the directions I gave you to cut the cast-on out and re-knit it. Experiment on the swatch, not the jumper!

      Good luck and thanks for coming to KnitFreedom for help.

      Cheers,
      Candy (Liat’s Customer Happiness Guru)

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