The {REAL} Chinese Waitress Cast-On

A KnitFreedom Masterclass

The Stretchy Cast-On You've Been Looking For All Your Life

Chinese Waitress Cast On edge on garter stitch

Ordinary cast-ons are not reversible and don’t look great with every fabric. This tutorial teaches you how to correctly do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On so you can have a go-to stretchy, reversible cast-on that looks great on garter stitch, blankets, Brioche stitch, and more.

But first…

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What Is the Chinese Waitress Cast-On?

Chinese Waitress Cast On edge on garter stitch twist 7 16 21

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On is a stretchy, reversible short-tail cast-on published in Cap Sease’s incredible 2012 resource, Cast-On, Bind-Off, 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting. It creates a beautiful, stretchy double chain of stitches along the cast-on edge.

It is useful and highly recommended for Garter stitch, any reversible project like scarves or blankets, and stretchy projects like Brioche.

It is not hard to do and, with a little practice, you can get very fast at doing it. Ready to learn? Jump straight into the Chinese Waitress Cast-On tutorial.

But first, you’re about to discover what every other online tutorial (including my own from 2013) has missed, until now. We’ve been doing the Chinese Waitress Cast-On wrong.

Surprise: You've Been Doing it Wrong

Amazingly, until now, 100% of video tutorials on the Internet (including my own previous tutorial) showed the Chinese Waitress Cast-On wrong.

Teachers missed the fact that you had to physically un-twist each stitch before re-inserting your needle. When you leave out the extra twist, the bind-off is tight, not as stretchy, and, most importantly, it’s hard to pull each stitch through, leading people to resort to using a crochet hook.

When I corresponded with Cap Sease earlier this month, I was shocked to learn that not only was I teaching it wrong, everyone else was, too!

You deserve accurate tutorials and guides. I’ve worked with author Cap Sease to confirm that the technique shown here is 100% accurate and corrects the problems that were wrong in all pre-existing videos.

To understand why it’s so important to do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On correctly:

  1. Watch the two videos below to discover what most people get wrong about the Chinese Waitress Cast-On and why it matters
  2. Grab some needles and scrap yarn
  3. Try the correct version and see how much better it is

What Most People Get Wrong About the Chinese Waitress Cast-On

Most tutorials don’t teach you how to un-twist each Chinese Waitress Cast-On stitch correctly, which leads to a twisted and less-stretchy cast-on. This video shows you how to do it the right way so that your Chinese Waitress Cast-On is 100% as stretchy as it should be.

Most tutorials online (including my original Chinese Waitress Cast-On tutorial) teach that as you create each new stitch, you remove the right needle and re-insert it into the stitch from front to back. This is wrong or at best incomplete.

The right way to do it is to remove the right needle and use your fingers to un-twist the stitch. You should give the stitch a 180-degree turn towards you. You’ll know you’ve done it right if the right leg of the stitch moves when you pull on the working yarn. Now you can re-insert the right needle and continue with the Chinese Waitress cast-on.

The Difference Between the Chinese Waitress Cast-On Edge - Right and Wrong Way

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On done the way you normally see it taught leaves a twisted, less-stretchy edge than the author intended. This video shows the difference between the Chinese Cast-On edge when done the right way and the wrong way so that you can know why it’s important to knit it the right way.

When done the wrong way (the way you normally see it taught), the Chinese-Waitress Cast-On edge is made of twisted stitches and it does not stretch as much as when it is done the right way. It also lays flat and reveals more of its underside edge.

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On done correctly has an even, stretchy edge that curls up slightly on Stockinette stitch. It makes two chains of perfectly straight stitches that show prominently on the edge of the knit fabric.

How to Correctly Do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On

Most tutorials teach the Chinese Waitress Cast-On wrong. This officially sanctioned video shows the correct technique so you can create a beautiful, reversible, stretchy cast-on.

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On Shortcut

Un-twisting each stitch on the Chinese Waitress Cast-On takes time. This video shows how to twist the needle so you can continue casting on without having to remove it and un-twist each stitch with your fingers.

To do this Chinese Waitress Cast-On shortcut, after you bring each stitch through, twist the needle to the left, away from you, and bring it back up to cross under the left needle.

Check to make sure you’ve done it right by pulling the working yarn. It should be the right leg of the stitch. Thanks to KnitFreedom reader Sherry of The Dabbler’s Creations for suggesting this shortcut!

Chinese Waitress Cast-On: Written Instructions

To do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On:

  1. Place a slipknot on the left-hand needle. Leave a short tail (6″). The slipknot does not count as a cast-on stitch and will be removed later.

  2. Cross the right-hand needle behind the left-hand needle, to the right of the slipknot.

  3. Tension the yarn in your right hand.

  4. Bring the yarn up and over the left-hand needle, then around the back of the right-hand needle in a figure-8 motion.

  5. Pull the stitch on the right-hand needle through the two loops on the left-hand needle.

**SHORTCUT:**

6. Twist the right needle down and to the left, away from you, and then bring it back up to cross under the left needle.

**REGULAR VERSION (NON SHORTCUT)**

6. Remove the right-hand needle from the stitch.

7. With your fingers, un-twist the stitch towards you so that the right side of the loop is the one coming from the working yarn.

8. Re-insert the right needle into the stitch from front to back, crossing it behind the left-hand needle.

**ALL VERSIONS**

9. Bring the yarn up and over the left-hand needle, then around the back of the right-hand needle in a figure-8 motion (this is the same as step 4).

10. Pull the stitch you just made between the two loops on the left-hand needle and, in the same movement, through the stitch already on the right-hand needle.

11. Repeat steps 6-10 until you have cast on one less than the number of stitches required for your project, not counting the slipknot.

12. Slip the stitch that is on the right-hand needle to the left-hand needle. The left needle should go in from front-to-back. This is your last cast-on stitch.

13. You have completed the cast-on. When you knit the first row and come to the slipknot, remove it from the left-hand needle and give the tail yarn a tug. The slipknot will undo.

Variations on the Chinese Waitress Cast-On

You can customize the way you do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On to fit your project and your preferences. Here are two variations of the cast-on and two different ways to use it on your projects:

  1. How to do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On with a crochet hook
  2. How to do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On Continental-style
  3. Using the Chinese Waitress Cast-On to add stitches in the middle of a project
  4. How to use the Chinese Waitress Cast-On when knitting in the round

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On With a Crochet Hook

Most crochet hook tutorials for the Chinese Waitress Cast-On result in a twisted cast-on which is not as stretchy as the real thing. This video shows you how to correctly wrap your yarn around the crochet hook and how to twist the crochet hook under the needle with each stitch so you don’t have to remove it from the stitch and un-twist it with your fingers.

When doing the Chinese Waitress Cast-On with a crochet hook, make sure to wrap the yarn around the back of the crochet hook in a figure-8 motion. Then, when you pull the stitch through, twist the crochet hook down and to the left, away from you, and then back up to cross under the left needle. This will un-twist the stitch and get you ready for the next stitch without having to remove the crochet hook.

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On Continental Style

When you do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On Continental-style, the stitches can tend to slip off your needles. This video shows you how to stabilize your stitches so that you can do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On without having to tension the yarn in your right hand.

Adding Stitches in the Middle of a Project Using The Chinese Waitress Cast-On

Casting on more stitches in the middle of a project can feel strange if you’ve never done it before. This video shows you how to cast on extra stitches using the Chinese Waitress cast-on so you can have a stretchy, reversible edge in the middle of your project.

Using the Chinese Waitress Cast-On When Knitting in the Round

If you’re new to Magic Loop, doing the Chinese Waitress Cast-On in the round can seem overwhelming. This video shows you every step so you can cast on for your next hat with confidence.

Chinese Waitress: The Perfect Cast-On for Garter Stitch

Chinese Waitress Cast on perfect for garter stitch

When knitting samples for this post, I was delighted to discover that the Chinese Waitress Cast-On looks amazing and is super-stretchy on Garter stitch. It makes a strong, solid edge that looks great and does justice to this simple but beautiful fabric. I highly recommend you use the Chinese Waitress Cast-On as your go-to cast-on for Garter stitch.

In the video below I show you a comparison of Garter stitch knit with the Long-Tail Cast-On and the Standard Bind-Off vs. the Chinese Waitress Cast-On and Chinese Waitress Bind-Off. I think you’ll agree that the Chinese Waitress versions are far better.

Ordinary cast-ons are not reversible and don’t look amazing on Garter stitch. The video above compares the Chinese Waitress Cast-On and the Long-Tail Cast-On on Garter stitch so you can see why the former should be your go-to cast-on for Garter stitch.

Frequent Questions About the Chinese Waitress Cast-On

Chinese Waitress Cast On and Cast Off

1. How stretchy is the Chinese Waitress Cast-On?

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On is a medium-stretchy cast-on. It has about 40% stretch. For comparison, the Long-Tail cast-on has 25% stretch.

2. What is the stretchiest cast-on?

The stretchiest cast-ons are Jeny’s Stretchy Slipknot Cast-On and Tillibuddy’s Cast-On. I demonstrate them both in our Guide to Cast-Ons (part of Knitting Superstar University).

3. What cast-ons do you recommend for ribbing?

To cast on for ribbing, I recommend the Italian Tubular Cast-On as an invisible cast-on, and the Twisted German Cast-On for a stretchier and complementary edge.

4. What is the Chinese Waitress Cast-On good for?

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On is fantastic for fabrics like Garter stitch, reversible projects like scarves, cowls, and blankets, and Brioche stich, which is reversible and stretchy. I suggest some projects here.

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On is also perfect for projects where the cast-on and bind-off edges are visible at the same time and you want them to match. See below for the matching bind-off.

5. Why is it called the Chinese Waitress Cast-On?

Cast-On, Bind-Off author Cap Sease’s Chinese-American friend, Mary Hu, was in a Hong Kong restaurant when a waitress there showed her this ingenious cast-on. The cast-on is named for for the Chinese waitress who first taught it.

6. Isn’t saying “Chinese Waitress” racist?

Some knitters have taken offense to the name of this cast-on and feel that it is racist. Author Cap Sease explains in her book that the cast-on was taught to her friend, who herself is Chinese-American, by a Chinese waitress in a Hong Kong restaurant. Since racism is defined as prejudice against a person based on their belonging to a particular racial or ethnic group, I would argue that there is no racism involved here, just the facts.

7. When doing the Chinese Waitress Cast-On, it’s hard for me to pull each stitch through the one on the needle. Do you have any tips?

Yes. I’ve found that it helps to make each stitch a little bigger as you pull the stitch through the one on the needle. Just pull the needle a bit more to make the stitch larger. When you un-twist the stitch and re-insert the needle, don’t pull the working yarn very tight or snug up the new stitch very much on the needle.

These two tips should help you create stitches that are not too tight, allowing you to easily pull each new stitch through the previous one.

Also, make sure to pull each stitch through the one on the needle in one smooth motion.

8. What is the matching bind-off to the Chinese Waitress Cast-On?

Great question! The double-chain cast-off, invented by Ann Kingstone, perfectly matches the Chinese Waitress Cast-On and is very stretchy. I demonstrate it in the video below.

9. Are there other cast-ons that have matching bind-offs?

Yes! Here is a list of matching cast-ons and bind-offs that you can refer to to create your perfectly-matching edges. At the time of this writing, some of the linked tutorials are restricted to those who have purchased our Bind-Off and Cast-On libraries.

The Matching Chinese Waitress (Double-Chain) Cast-Off

Chinese Waitress Bind Off

Now you’re in for a treat. Not only is the Chinese Waitress Cast-On stretchy, reversible, and perfect for Garter stitch, it also has a fantastically stretchy and identical-looking matching cast-off: the Double-Chain cast-off. The video below demonstrates how to do it.

When you do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On on a reversible project, a standard bind-off doesn’t quite match and certainly isn’t as stretchy. The double-chain cast-off creates an edge identical to the Chinese Waitress Cast-On so that you can enjoy the way your starting and finishing edges look when next to each other.

Many thanks to Ann Kingstone and her original post on the Chinese Waitress Bind-Off she invented.

Matching Chinese Waitress (Double-Chain) Cast-Off: Written Instructions

To do the Chinese Waitress (Double-Chain) Cast-Off:

1. Purl the first stitch, wrapping the yarn clockwise around the needle (this is opposite to the way you normally do).

2. Yarnover

3. Purl the next stitch, again wrapping the yarn clockwise.

4. Pass the yarnover over the first stitch on the right-hand needle.

5. Pass the second stitch over the first stitch on the right-hand needle.

6. Repeat steps 2-5 until all stitches are bound off.

7. Cut the yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail for weaving in. Pull through last stitch.

Learn 80+ Cast-Ons and Bind-Offs with Knitting Superstar University

Trying to learn and master knitting on your own can be frustrating. When you are not guided through the craft of knitting by a knowledgeable teacher, you’re not even aware of all the great techniques you could be missing out on. At Knitting Superstar University, we teach you over 80 recommended cast-ons and bind-offs so you can create the perfect start and end to each project. Get instant access today.

Patterns for Practicing The Chinese Waitress Cast-On

While you can use the Chinese Waitress Cast-On on just about anything, here are two patterns that show it off to great success: KnitFreedom’s two-color basic brioche hat and MadelineTosh’s Honey Cowl.

Brioche projects are reversible and stretchy and their cast-ons should be, too. This easy basic two-color Brioche hat from KnitFreedom shows off the contrasting color Chinese-Waitress cast-on to perfection.

MadelineTosh’s Honey Cowl is the perfect place to use the Chinese Waitress Cast-On and the matching Double-Chain Bind-Off on the same project. Because both cast-on and bind-off edges are visible, they’ll look a treat Chinese-Waitress-style.

Are You Going to Try This Cast-On? Leave a Comment

Are you going to try the updated, corrected version of the Chinese Waitress Cast-On presented here? Have you had any frustrations with the Chinese Waitress Cast-On? I’d love to hear your feedback. Please leave a comment and let me know!

177 thoughts on “The {REAL} Chinese Waitress Cast-On and Cast-Off”

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  1. Frances Rautenbach

    I find it much easier (and faster) NOT to do this continental style…
    Don’t get me wrong – I love continental style for many uses.
    And yes, I admit that I am adept at non-continental style, do not “throw” the yarn, never let go of either needle.
    But my left hand helps out in nifty ways when I am tensioning the yarn in my right hand – easier to pull that new stitch through the “chain-loop” (far more automatic instant control).
    The one tweak is easy to remember, speedily becomes automatic, because if you don’t do it the yarn simply gets in the way
    After completing the cast-on stitch, just keep on moving that yarn to the back, before wrapping it around the top (right-hand) needle tip – I love the extra little dance this gives the yarn: move it to the back, under, behind both needle tips (while my left palm shuffles the cast-on loops down-to-the-left along the left-hand needle to give the new stitch room, while pushing that top-left-hand needle tip out to the right to give plenty of room). I continue moving that yarn from behind-both-needles in one fluid dancing figure-8-plus movement back over the top (left-hand) needle tip to be hooked up by the bottom (right-hand) needle tip etc etc.
    It all works much faster, with more control, if you keep poking that top needle tip (left hand needle) out further to the right, clear of the rapidly-increasing cast one stitches. I LOVE this cast-on! Thank you SO much for your teaching… as always

    1. Skye Jameson - Knitting Expert

      Hi Frances! Thank you so much for the detailed comment. It is both helpful and appreciated!

  2. Deborah Pendergast

    I love when people look at something and see a simpler way of doing it and don’t keep it to themselves.

  3. I’m unable to upload the rough video I made of how I do the CWCO. I will try to describe as it has no twisting and is very straightforward.

    Crochet hook, needle, yarn in left hand.
    Slip knot on needle; crochet hook behind needle.
    Yarn behind hook, around needle from back – yarn over top of needle and hook in the position to make a simple crochet chain.
    Make crochet chain (this is the step which forms the stitch on needle); loop on crochet hook not twisted at all.
    Repeat with wrapping yarn as above.

  4. Hi, I am just starting a hat in the round with 1×1 rib. I used this CO and it looks really great, but the first row of 1×1 rib shows little like eyelet holes on the purl stitches of the rib. Did I do something wrong, or is that just how the first row of purls stitches turn out with this CO? It doesn’t look bad, just different!

    1. Skye Jameson - Knitting Expert

      Hi Jan, Thank you for writing! So sorry for the delay. I have asked Liat about this and will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you so much for being so patient 😊

    2. Skye Jameson - Knitting Expert

      Hi Jan,
      You didn’t do anything wrong at all! The purl stitches do have a little bit of an “eyelet” hole on the first row.😊

  5. Absolutely, I will be implementing this cast on! I’m always wanting to learn new techniques! Thank you!

    1. Skye Jameson - Knitting Expert

      Hi Lynn, That’s super awesome you like to learn new techniques! We are so glad you like this cast-on.

  6. I have watched your older version of this cast on compared to the new version. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what the difference between the two is. In the old version you rotate the stitch 180 degrees counter clockwise. Looks like you do the same in the new version. What am I missing? Thanks, I’m one of those people who likes to know not just the how, but also the why. 😊 LeAnne

    1. Hi LeAnne, the old video isn’t available anymore, but in the old version I didn’t rotate the stitch counterclockwise. I just removed the needle and placed it back in the stitch going the opposite direction, which isn’t enough of a twist to completely un-twist the stitch. If you Google “Chinese Waitress Cast-On” and look at any video other than KnitFreedom’s, that’s how I used to teach it, too. A student did come up with a cool trick to un-twist the stitch without removing the needle, I’ll be filming that today and adding it to this post.

  7. I don’t get a twisted stitch with the CWCO because I hold the crochet hook under the needle and carry the yarn under both the hook and needle prior to wrapping around crochet hook. When the loop is pulled through it is not twisted. This has been a favorite cast on for several years now especially because it is so neat and has no front/back.

  8. Hi all, everyone is exclaiming about the neat edge this cast on makes … alas, I find that when I hold the yarn loosely enough to complete each new stitch, the overall look afterwards is too big & sloppy … not firm and neat like Liat’s in the video at all. Rather, the row of cast on stitches kind of hang down a ways from the garter stitches in the body of the work that follows. It is stretchy alright! Way too stretchy!
    Anybody else with this issue that can offer a tip? Maybe different needles with longer, sharper tips? Thanks, Anna

    1. Hi Anna, thanks for posting your comment here! My first impression is that you just need to practice this. Cast on 100 stitches or more and see if you can hold the yarn a little tighter and tighten up the working yarn a little more and still draw the new stitch through the one on the needle. You can also try the crochet hook method that Mimi Kezar shows (someone posted it below). Please note that with this method, the cast-on gets twisted and it’s not exactly the same as the {REAL} Chinese Waitress cast-on I show here. However, that might be ok for you since your cast-on is coming out very loose. Long, pointy tips will help you as well. Please keep trying, stay curious about how you can do it in a way that works for you, and let us know how it goes!

  9. Lisa,

    Your tutorials are superb. I have been knitting for over 70 years and I still like to learn new
    ways to improve my techniques and you are my “GoTo” for techniques.

    I recommend your website to beginner and experienced knitters all the time.

    Thank you,
    Paulette

    I

    1. Hi Paulette,
      Thank you so very much for your kind comment and for your recommendation of KnitFreedom to others! It is thanks to mentors like you recommending our videos that we are still in business. Thank you, thank you.

      P.S. I am gathering reviews for my business on Google for the first time ever, if you are willing to leave us a rating or a review, I will give you or a friend a free 15-minute Zoom coaching session to say thank you! Here’s the link: https://g.page/r/CUyLPCZ6UoQcEAg/review

  10. Liat, your e-mail about the Chinese Waitress cast-on has made my day! How lovely that you’ve “put it out there” that even you had been teaching the method incorrectly and have set things right. I’m impressed. And I love this cast-on for the blanket I’m knitting for WarmupAmerica!

    I’ve been meaning to send thanks for your excellent instructive videos and to say how thrilled I am to be your student. I’ve started knitting for the Mother Bear project, and also recently knit a couple of stuffies for my grandkids. The first bear, knit in the round on DPNs following the project’s pattern, was–pun intended–truly a bear to knit! Having knit 8 pairs of socks toe-up, two at a time in a couple of weeks, thanks to last year’s great KnitFreedom KAL, I was no longer as comfortable with the DPNs as I once was, and it was slow-going. Then, duh, I reminded myself that I had basically mastered the Magic Loop technique, and I was confident that i could make a bear more easily that way. The second bear I knit was easily finished in a day! And the rainbow-colored “Chubby Chirp” my granddaughter requested was on and off my circular needles in no time at all. Even more confidently, I knit a white rat for my grandson, who likes to tease me with his felt rats (ick, ick, ick!). Again, your video tutorials helped immensely, especially the one on i-cords, because they’re easy to follow and your explanations make sense. The best thing I’ve learned from you is not to condemn myself when the knitting is not going smoothly and I’m having to fix a mistake. I learn so much and continue to revel in learning new techniques (after 50+ years of knitting and learning on my own, often the hard way). Being your student is worth every single penny!

    To those reading this post and brand-new to knitfreedom.com, JOIN UP!

    1. Hi Leila, thank you so much for your amazing comment! I was so happy to read it. And it’s just great to hear from you.
      Yes, I LOVE that you used Magic Loop to knit your small-diameter bear, that’s a perfect use of the technique! SO much easier – and more fun – than DPNs. Thanks for posting a picture of the white rat – it’s a joy to see.
      P.S. Reading your enthusiastic recommendation reminds me that I have just started collecting reviews on Google, would you be willing to go rate us there? You could just copy the last few lines of your comment. Here’s the link if you’re interested: https://g.page/r/CUyLPCZ6UoQcEAg/review
      Big hugs! And I am working on a new class for you, I hope you’re interested in knitting from charts??!
      Liat

  11. The crochet-hook Chinese waitress cast-on has been my favorite for a couple of years. Hope others enjoy it as much as I do. It’s almost a meditation.

  12. MEGAN M OLHASQUE

    This cast on is EXACTLY what I was looking for, something that would match (pretty closely) the double-chain effect of Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. Thanks so much for posting such great pictures. You’re the best!

  13. Vanessa Konopasek

    Why the hell is this called the “Chinese Waitress” cast-on?!!! What is this racist bullshit? Also, the most convoluted way to cast-on for something that’s essentially a crochet chain with stitches picked up.

  14. Thank you so much! I tried numerous other cast-on’s over a week and could not get them to work (couldn’t “snug” them up enough), then I tried this one and it works beautifully. It’s easier, and as long as I’m careful turning the loop, it works. I especially like the nice edge it leaves. So grateful for your help. Dena

  15. Oh, thank you Liat! Just the right amount of stretch and firm edge for lace projects where stitches need to be picked up.

  16. Hello, the cast on is very pretty and easy. thank you! I was wondering if there is alternative bind off method to match this one?

    1. 2021 July 19
      I agree with you, Sue. This Mimi Kezar’s method of using a crochet hook works really well for me.
      I somehow wrap my yarn over the crochet hook differently, and it turns out to be the way Mimi does it in the video. So, I’m not finding it fiddly; or having to take out the crochet hook to untwist the stitch.

      I also saw Nori’s posting of 2bunused’s method. Her’s is also quite less fiddly too.

      Love this Chinese waitress cast on for I use garter stitch often to achieve a reversible fabric.

      1. Hi R.C., Thanks for your comment. Mimi’s version is quite easy, I will just note that the cast-on comes out twisted with this method and it is not the {REAL} Chinese Waitress Cast-On as Cap Sease intended. This is not to say that it’s a bad thing, but unless you take out the crochet hook and un-twist the stitch, the cast-on stitches will be twisted 180 degrees and not stretch as much.

        1. I think you can simply rotate the crochet hook with the stitch on it to untwist the stitch and get the same result as Liat’s updated version.

  17. Hi, thanks for the tute. This turns out really nicely. I found it a bit fiddly turning the stitch around (step 5), so I tried taking the yarn over the top of both needles and pulling the stitch through (rather than taking the yarn over the left and under the right needle). This seems to make the stitch face the right way to begin with so I could skip step 5 and cast on quite quickly. Am I right? Has anyone else tried this?

  18. I have issues with getting a stretchy CO with any memory. I’m going to give this method a try. I know you were working on a matching cast-off… Did that happen?

    Thanks for giving us an alternative CO-ption

    1. Hi Sue,

      I think you’ll really like the cast-on. I have had a hard time coming up with a matching bind-off (and I even asked Cap Sease, who published the Chinese Waitress Cast-On in her book Cast On, Bind Off, and she couldn’t come up with one either).

      The closest I could come is either a 1-Stitch I-Cord Bind-Off or Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.

      I detail them both in my video ebook I Love Bind-Offs. In fact, there is a special cheat sheet for matching cast-ons and bind-offs (I had to go look at it to answer this question!).

  19. I’m late to the party but found you hunting for a nice, stretchy cast on for a new project. I’ve been knitting for 60 years and never ever heard of this one. It’s perfect. I tried to follow the pictures and kept fumbling it. I’m not generally a fan of videos but yours was totally spot on. After several tries and a fair about of ripping out and starting over, I finally got it and it looks amazing and will be perfect for what I’m doing.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you, Susan! I usually don’t have a lot of patience for videos either, which is why I try to get right to the point and keep mine under 3 minutes in length. Cheers!

  20. This is an amazing way to cast-on! The first few stitches are a bit awkward, but after that it really isn’t too difficult and the result is amazing! I’m sure I’ll be using this many times. Thank you so much, Liat. Great video, very well explained, and great tips. Thanks again!

  21. Thank you for posting the Chinese Waitress Cast On! It’s new to me and so easy, once my fingers gotthe hang of it. Your video is well-done and clearly understood. I’m starting a snowboarder’s beanie for my grandson, and delighted that this hat will grow with him!

  22. This cast on is exactly what I was searching for. And the video is so well done that my 10 yr old (we’re both new knitters) did the rest of the cast-on for her new mitts herself!

    Your videos really are the best out there. You saved me last summer when I dropped a stitch and didn’t know what on earth to do.

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Ann,

      I can’t believe your 10-year-old was able to do the Chinese Waitress Cast-On — very impressive!! I love that you two are learning to knit together. I’m so blessed that you’ve come to my site for help!

      Hugs to you both.

  23. It’s much easier if you use a crochet hook on your right hand. This way you don’t have to use your fingers to pass the stitch over. Just pull it with the hook

  24. I LOVE, LOVE this CO!!! I have found the Double Cast Off is a good match. As I’ve mentioned I’m a self taught knitter. Liat, it is because of your FANTASTIC, WONDERFUL, TERRIFIC videos and pictures that allows me to accomplish techniques like the CWCO! My question is… On my 3rd baby blanket one side is a difinitite 10 rows with visibility of the edge of ‘V’ HOWEVER the other side is 8 + full visibility of ‘V’ What have I done wrong? And in this situation is there a RS and WS??? This is my 4th attempt of CO 146 and I want to get into the pattern…another new one for me Chevron Reversible Rib eeeks, wish me luck. I do have pictures but don’t know how to attach to this message :(. Thank You, Reba

  25. I’m new to your website. I have taught myself to knit via picture illustrations and/or videos. I am curious to know what pattern Juice is using for man’s scarf. I need a good pattern for several males in my family. I actually used the Chinese Waitress Cast On (84) to start a car seat blanket and although I’m not very skilled the end result was worth the time I put into it ;) Thank you for your video it was GREAT!!! Reba

  26. Great cast on for top down socks! I used a smaller crochet hook for the right hand needle, avoiding having to use my fingers to pull one loop over the other. I could just pull the loop through the other instead. Quick and smooth!

    1. I totally agree – the crochet hook is the way to go. Takes out the Awkwardness and really makes it easy and smooth.

      1. And if you bring the yarn in front of the hook instead of behind, like in the video, you don’t have to reverse the loop on the hook. I am in love with this cast on. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? :)

  27. Mary Anne from Williamsville

    Was looking for feather and fan scarf pattern and came across this Chinese waitress cast on. Just had to try it and the first two stiches were awkward but after that became easy and so much fun and I love the way it looks. Thanks for showing me a new way. Who says you can’t teach an old lady new cast ons?!?!?!

  28. Hi Liat,
    I love your Chinese Waitress Cast On. I am looking for the same beautiful “double look “for a bind off. Do you know a technique to get the same way in Binding off?
    Great thanks to share this method.

  29. Absolutely love the Chinese Waitress cast-on and i agree the name makes you chuckle. I am about 2/3 of the way through my first project using this wonderful cast-on but now I am worried that the cast-off won’t be half a great looking as the cast-on. Hoping you have success with creating a cast-off that is just as wonderful. You could even ask for suggestion for an equally intriguing name for your creation.

  30. Susan Blakes (Chicago)

    Liat,
    Never heard of this cast-on before. Love it. Have mastered it! I’m a tight knitter. I don’t usually use a larger needle for a cast-on, just bind-offs. I think I need to not cast on so tightly even with this one!

  31. Liat, I just love your video’s. You explain things better than all of the other video’s out there. I am a visual learner and you go at just the right pace to follow. Thank you so much for sharing your knitting experience with us.

  32. When you do this cast on do you disregard the slip knot when counting the total number of cast on stitches and then just undo it after you knit the stitch before it?

  33. eileen sorensen

    Love this cast-on and I’ve taught it to my knitting friends. It makes a lovely edge. Your videos are wonderful Liat keep them coming, I’m learning a lot. Thanks.

  34. Wow – you are absolutely amazing! You have inspired me to NO end. I absolutely love getting your emails and seeing what treasure you’re sharing with me!

    Happy stitching!

  35. I love this cast on! I’ve just started with a fan shawl project. One of those PU&K 25 stitches, CO 25 stitches..etc…I decided to try this cast on because I wanted the edge of the fan that was not attatched to the other fans to lay nice and flat. I love how it is turning out. from the first few fans I have done it looks like I won’t have to go all around the edge with a single crochet to clean up the outside edges. YAY!! *spins around in happy circles*
    Once you get the rhythm of the moves it’s easy. I can see me using this a lot in the future.
    As always, Liat, YOU ROCK!!!!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    xoxoxox

  36. Hi all,
    I really like this cast on but feel like I’m all thumbs at the present time. lol I am a continental style knitter so throwing and holding my yarn from my right hand is not natural for me. I will keep practicing and hopefully I’ll get better. I have a lace shawl that has lots of stiches to be cast on I hope I can do well with the lace yarn. I’ll let you know how it goes if anyone is interested.

      1. Hi I too knite contintenntal and I did it in my way holding the yarn with my left hand puting it on the needle the same way and even knitting both loops with the left hand needle and it goes very nicely. you can try it.

  37. Thanks for guiding my fingers to perform this super cool cast on, Liat! Can’t wait to introduce this to customer/friends at Spin a Yarn, my yarn shop in Maine!

  38. Have you come up with a matching bind-off?
    I used this to cast-on for a wrap and am almost to the end of the 72″!!! I would like them to look the same since this is folded in half and you will be able to see both.
    Any luck with the bind-off yet?

    thanks
    Judy

  39. CARMEN CONSTANTIN

    Hi Liat,
    I got a little further questions …. I bought your book Guide to Cast-Ons. I’m not very good with computers …. I have access to it than with an internet link? I can download to my computer? What do I do when I have internet?

    Thanks a lot for the book is great!
    Kale

    1. Hi Carmen,

      Yes, the class is accessed via the link you received when you made your purchase. Right now, the class is only available via the link, but when the new site is rolled out, you’ll be able to view all of your e-books offline. :)

  40. I love this. I tried it while watching the video. I just hope I can remember all of it when I try it again. lol Thanks for another great learning experience.

  41. Liked the name and thought why not look? So glad I did! Slow to start socks that go top down cos I don’t like the cast on result this looks likeI may get another pair on the needles. Suggestion- only cos I have them but have you used Portugese needles. That puts a hook in your right hand and a point in your left, they make them in small sizes good for my sock yarn.

  42. Dear Liat,

    I just came back indoors from a sunny afternoon of knitting in my garden. There I cast on a “Dzonba” (Himalayan slippers) with the waitress cast-on but was a bit annoyed about how long it takes to slip the second over the first stitch, nsert the needle the other way, then saw the double-ended Clover crochet hook in my bits-n-pieces-box. I switched to the hook and the cast-on was done in a lot shorter time.
    So I wanted to recommend that to you.
    Noticing others had the crochet hook idea, too makes me smile big time :o) Worlwide knitting brains unite!
    As to a matching bind-off I’d say that Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off has the equivalent look of a nice chain as the waitress cast-on. I use it very often for its stretchiness and nice finish for toe-up socks and fingerless mittens.

  43. So good to have you back and I hope in good health., Like everyone is. Beinga teacher myself I met lot of other teachers here in Israel and on the net and you are one of the very best. You showed me how to overcome the problen I had with my eyes when I uesd DPNs and lost one and could not pic up the stiches I lerned from you how to use Judey’s majic circle insted. and much more after knitting socks for 35 years cuff down I am knitting them now gladly toes up 2 at a time. I have seen this cast on /on youtube but as usurl your film and the way you expline thing is better and it is a very good haveing picturers and written explanation. thank you so much.
    Lea

  44. Teresa L Dorminey

    Wow! I hadn’t thought ahead to applications like buttonholes, or casting on at the end of a row. Now we really need a matching bind-off to use for button holes. What a terrific idea, opens up lots of possibilities. THANK you!

  45. Just did the cast-on & love it. What a great edge. Nest time will try using a crochay hook think it might be faster. What a lovely edge. Wish I would have known it last year when I made Hats for everyone. The vidio is great. Thanks Sooo much!

  46. Love it!
    What would this be used for? I agree with several others, is there a bind off? Great to have you and your calm, clear instructional videos back!

    1. Hi Kristin,

      Thank you! It’s so good to be back. I am going to experiment with creating a matching bind-off – I bet I can come up with something! As far as what it could be used for, you could use it to cast on for hats or any other edge where you don’t want it to curl… you can use it on Stockinette or ribbing… or any time you need to add stitches in the middle of your project, like for buttonholes.

  47. I love adding to an ever-growing collection of knitting tips and tricks. I found the Chinese Waitress cast on technique on Pinterest. I didn’t know about you before that. I can use you both as a personal resource, and also as a reference site for customers. They always appreciate new sources.

    Barb Day

    1. Barb, that is fabulous! I’m happy you want to tell your customers about my videos. If they can look up different techniques at home when they are stuck, they will finish projects faster and come back to you and buy more yarn! I definitely see it as a win-win. I’ll email you to see if you’d like some business cards or gauge-checker bookmarks to hand out. Thanks!

  48. I have never heard of this cast-on and I can’t wait to try it. It looks so nice and seems to be very straight forward. Thanks for a great tutorial.

  49. EyebrowRaised

    Where does that name come from? It’s terrible, like something left over from the 50’s when prejudice was more prevalent. But I’d like to know, so at least I can understand why such a cool cast-on has such a name.

  50. This cast on looks like fun and I would like to use it to start the sleeve cuffs of a sweater. Liat, do you think this would make a good start for a cuff ?

    1. Hey Rob,

      Yes, I think it would make a nice start for a sweater cuff. It works well with ribbing and it doesn’t curl. It does leave a distinctive edge but it is pretty low-profile. Make a little tube swatch and see how it looks, and let us know!

  51. Love the video..you are so easy to follow…love your voice…and looking forward to trying the cast on..

  52. Welcome back we missed you. Thank you for the great video of the Chinese Waitress Cast on. I love the finished look, very nice. Keep the newsletters coming They are great
    Thank You
    ark

    1. Hi Arkie,

      I’m delighted that you like my little newsletters. I certainly will keep them coming! I’ve got tons of videos to film for you….

  53. Marilyn Dedeaux

    I have never heard of this cast on. However, it was great fun learning how to
    do it. Your video was great!

  54. The Chinese Waitress cast on is intriguing!! I love the video and will definitely try it. Love your videos, so very clear and precise. Easy to understand. Thank you!

    1. Hi there, I’m going to email you and help you get signed up so that you get the next post in your email. Thanks for letting me know you about this issue.

  55. didn’t receive a email to join. But love the next cast on and would love to learn more from this site

  56. Love the Name and the cast-on. I relly enjoy these little tibits. It makes me strive todo more with my knitting.
    Thank you!

  57. This looks very similar to the crochet provisional cast on, also a pretty result. I use the crochet provisional cast on all the time. I’ve never removed it, but I have added crochet edging to it. How do the results differ between Chinese Cast on and crochet provisional cast on?

    1. Hi Mary,

      If you like the look of the crochet provisional cast-on but you don’t plan to remove it, you can just do the regular chained cast-on (crochet cast-on). It’s included in the upcoming course on cast-ons. As far as how this cast-on and the crochet provisional cast-ons differ, the Chinese Waitress cast-on makes a double-edge – a chain along the right and wrong sides.

  58. I had not heard of this cast on before but the name intrigues me. I am anxious to try this on my next knitting project. I did notice the similarity to the cable cast on method which I use often. Thanks for the new knowledge

  59. Cathy Stoddart

    Firstly, I have so missed your regular emails popping into my inbox. It’s great that you’re back. I’ve missed you!

    I love both the name of this cast on (where does it come from?) and the fun of construction. As soon as I finish one of my WsIP, I will be having a go at it but hey, I have to have to have a little discipline round here. Exactly how many WsIP do I have??? :)

    1. Hey Cathy, thank you! It is SO wonderful to be back. I’ve got ideas for videos coming out of my ears!

      This cast-on is so named because it was taught to Cap Sease’s friend by a Chinese waitress in a Beijing restaurant. Happily for us!

  60. This begins like Jeny’s Super Stretchy Cast on and that is what I first thought it was. But it ends differently. Surprise!

    The crochet hook idea is great.

  61. Rose Nishiyama

    I like the cast-on and will try it on my next project. Question, when doing this cast on does it change what type of stitch to knit for the next row. In regular cast on the next row is a purl row or wrong side, and most patterns are written to allow for the purl row or wrong side of the project. Thanks for the video.

    1. Hi Rose,

      Since this is a completely reversible cast-on, you can start with the wrong-side row or the right-side row- it doesn’t matter. The only thing that will change is the way the stitches along the bottom will be running.

  62. HI Liat!!
    … I really like this cast – on.. I could not wait to try it…

    As I was learning it, (by watching your always fantastic instructions) I decided to use a crochet hook for the right hand needle.. By doing that, I was able to bring the new stitch through to the front and through the loop already on the right hand needle for the ‘bind-off’ all in one step.. then, I could change the direction of the stitch on the needle by swinging the crochet hook with the yarn in back and move on to the next stitch with the crochet hook in the ready position eliminating the need to use my left hand to do the bind off part..
    … This cast-on has such a nice finished look… and once you get going, the rhythm of it goes very smoothly..
    Thanks again Liat for your informative teaching style
    EllenEmOHPea

  63. I was wondering about this for socks as well. I made only one pair of socks using a long-tail caston, which was kind of stiff for the cuff but since my daughter has skinny legs it worked. If this is stretchy enough to go over my fat feet but not lose its shape I think I’d love it!

    Thank you for showing us all these wonderful techniques!

    1. Hi Tara,

      Yes, this cast-on is very stretchy. It would work nicely for socks, and it looks good with both ribbing and stockinette stitch. You’re welcome and I’m glad you are enjoying these videos!

  64. Madeleine Lindsay

    Love this. It is so, so pretty. I’m wondering if this new book will be added to the Knitting Superstar program automatically, or will it be a separate purchase? I’m looking forward to the book for sure and will be trying this new cast on this afternoon. Can you please give me a “heads up” on the date it may come out and what the cost will be? I am one of those who are low-income (I guess everyone is these days) and who gets paid only once a month so I would like to work it into my May budget if possible.

    Liat, I so appreciate your knowledge, your wonderful ability to teach, and your sweet spirit. You are SO easy to follow. Thanks so much for all you do to help us. I ALWAYS love your newsletters and save most of them. SO, SOOOO glad you are back.

    Hugs,
    Maddi

    1. Hi Maddi,

      I’m so glad you’re excited about the new course! It will be a separate purchase but I hope it will fit into your budget because I’ve kept the price as low as possible. It comes out for subscribers only on Friday, May 10th and, with the discount code you’ll be getting, it will be less than $20. Does that work for you?

      And you have made me all warm and fuzzy inside from your sweet compliments! Making videos for you and all my students is what makes me excited to get out of bed in the morning and go to work, so I should be thanking YOU! Thank you! :D

  65. When I want the cast on and bind off to match, I use the crochet cast on. True you need a crochet hook, but it’s much faster.

    1. I agree the crochet cast on is much easier and I even do a slip stitch bind off so all my sides match

  66. The name caught my attention so I had to view the video….it’s great and I will be using it often because of the “cool” look and I don’t like having to figure out how much yarn to use to cast on AND then it comes out too much left over. Thanks for sharing.

    Is there a similar bind-off way? If not, could you, in all your wonderful brilliance of ideas think up one for us? :-)

    1. Hey Kathi,

      I agree! I couldn’t have said it better myself – this cast-on has a lot going for it. And I am definitely going to play with inventing a matching bind-off. Stay tuned!

  67. I was about to cast for a cable sweater using the cable cast o, but now I want to use the Chinese Waitress Cast On, pattern calls for #9 needles, because this seems “loose” the cast on should I stay with the #9 needles or should I go up to a #10 needle.
    So happy you’re back.

    1. Mario, I’m glad to be back! Since the cast-on is a little loose, you’d actually want to go down to size 8 or even 7 needles. I think it will make a beautiful edge to your cable sweater.

  68. Hi! I tried this Chineese Waitress and it is totally cool….great for lace work, sock cuff down socks, sweater edging, etc. I wonder, does this have a similar bind off?

  69. I have heard of this cast on before. I do intend to try it for the next thing I knit that needs a stretchy cast on. But I need to find out what bind off will look good with it and be as stretchy. I plan to knit a scarf for my husband in linen stitch the length of the scarf and need matching stretchy cast on and bind off for it.

    1. Hi Barbara,

      I don’t know if I would use this cast-on for a length-wise scarf, since it will probably take about 30 minutes just to cast-on, but it’s up to you! I’m working on a matching bind-off and will post here if I come up with one.

  70. I am starting a mans scarf today with alpaca and have been struggling with other COs, this is perfect and sooooo timely. Thx again…Juice

  71. How totally fun! Thank you for bringing this ‘new’ cast on to the world! I cannot wait to try it. I think it will be great on a ‘hex-a-puff’!

    I agree with Jan….you have been missed and it is so nice to have you back.
    thank you for all of your hard work.

  72. Im new to knitting, so yes, this is wild. Im sure this has already been answered but why are there so many different cast on methods and how do you decide which cast on method to use? Are they all interchangeable regardless of project?

    1. Hi Sam, great question! I go over that concept in detail in the upcoming Guide to Cast-Ons that is coming out this Friday. I think it will answer all your questions and give you a good understanding of when to use which cast-on.

  73. I love your videos! They are always so professional! This looks so cool…will definitely buy the book when you release it. I will learn so much!

    Question…when knitting mittens, there is that spot in the pattern where I need cast on stitches over the thumb gore. It inevitably feels really weird to me. I think I usually do some sort of backward loop thing. Do you have a favorite method to accomplish this?? I’m sure there are several methods, and probably all will be in this new book…which is EXACTLY why I’ll buy it! Thanks so much!!

  74. Thank you for an excellent video! I love short-tail cast-ons, because I’m apt to waste less expensive yarn with them than with a long-tail cast-on! Thanks again (:

        1. Eureka! Follow that video, but YO backwards. This will twist the YO st and make the chain on that side look more chainlike.

  75. Wilda McLaughlin

    The name is enough to make me want to try it. How would it be for socks? I don’t want to make socks and have the tops stretch all out of shape so have been slow to knit them in spite of the fact that I have some gorgeous sock yarns.

    1. Oh no! Why would the tops stretch all out of shape? If you use the right cast-on that should never happen. The Alternating Old Norwegian is a great one for the tops of socks – stretchy AND sturdy. I have a video on it in the upcoming ebook, due out this Friday, May 10th.

  76. I had not heard of the Chinese Waitress cast on….but I love it! Can’t wait to try it. On a side note, it is great to see emails from you again! You were missed….and no one…NO ONE does videos as well as you!

    1. Teresa L Dorminey

      I watched the video last night – first one I have understood on this technique! – knitted about 10 rows to practice my knit backwards, laid it aside and went to bed.
      This morning picked it up to play some more and guess what I saw— the stockinette HAD NOT CURLED! Could this finally be the answer to the age-old cry of how to prevent stockinette curl without ribs, seed st borders, etc?

      I did notice that the sts of the first row (the cast-on row) were longer than the sts in following rows. Could that be why, Liat? Should they be longer, or is that a problem in my technique?

      Looking forward to the new course for answers, Liat!

      1. Hey Teresa,

        Yay! Love that you practiced it on a little swatch. And YES, it really doesn’t curl – I’ve notice that too! I didn’t even have to block my stockinette-stitch swatch to make it lay flat. Maybe we do finally have the answer!

        I will make sure I address all your questions in the new course… it comes out this Friday May 10th!

        {{{hugs}}}

      2. I love this pretty,stretchy cast on! I love the way it looks. You get used to the rythm of it fairly quickly. I used my needle to pass st over, then turn the stitch. One thing that has been bugging me… I want to find a cast off that sort of matches it… When making a cowl it is nice to have both edges sort of match…

        1. Hi Joan,
          I completely agree! It’s been hard to find a cast-off that matches – I even asked Cap Sease, the author of the Chinese Waitress Cast-On, if she could come up with a matching bind-off for my readers, but neither of us has been able to.

          In my I Love Bind-Offs video ebook I have a whole table of matching cast-ons and bind-offs. The two that are closest to matching the Chinese Waitress Cast-On are Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off and a one-stitch I-cord bind-off (both of which are demonstrated in the ebook).

          I hope this helps!

    2. Thank you so much for this video. I love this stitch and will be using it from now on. Kudos to that waitress in Beijing as well

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