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How To Knit Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On

Blog » Cast-Ons » Center-Start Cast-Ons » How To Knit Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On

How To Knit Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On

Liat Gat - Founder

April 9, 2013

Emily Ocker's Circular Cast-On is an easy and invisible way to cast on in the center of a circular project. It creates a drawstring-like circle that you can pull tight so that there's no hole in the center of your project.

Doily with Emily Ocker's circular cast-onTo do Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On (also called the Magic Circle Cast-On or Magic Ring Cast-On), you’ll need a crochet hook and needles for working in the round. You don’t need to know how to crochet to do this cast-on.

In case you don’t know, Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On is an easy way to cast on in the center of a circular project.

It makes makes a perfect circle that you can pull tight, so there’s no hole in the center of your project.

Popular top-down patterns like the Hemlock Ring Blanket and the Foliage Hat look great with this cast-on.

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Fun news: This video is going to be part of TWO upcoming video e-books I’m working on: All About Lace and The Complete Guide to Cast-Ons. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter so that you get notified when the e-books come out!

Okay, so to recap this technique, here are the steps:

Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On:

  1. Make a twist in your yarn with the tail in front. Leave a 6-inch tail.
  2. Tension the working yarn in your left hand.
  3. Hold the crochet hook and the tail of your yarn in your right hand.
  4. Insert the crochet hook into the circle you’ve made.
  5. Bring the crochet hook under the working yarn and pull up a loop through the circle.
  6. Grab another loop and pull that loop through the loop on the hook.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until you have the required number of stitches.
  8. Slip the stitches from the crochet hook onto your circular or double-pointed needle.

After You Cast On, Begin Knitting In The Round Using Magic Loop:

  1. Divide your stitches for working in the round.
  2. Pull the tail of your yarn, closing the cast-on into a tight circle.
  3. With the flat side of your work facing you, pull out the bottom needle.
  4. Fly your needle-tip around so your needle tips are facing each other.
  5. Knit across the stitches on the left-hand needle.
  6. Repeat on the second needle.
  7. Insert a stitch marker into the first stitch to mark the beginning of the round.

For reference, here’s what it’s supposed to look like when you start:

How to begin Emily Ocker's circular cast-on

Make sure the tail is crossing in front of the working yarn.

Here’s how you insert the crochet hook into the ring you’ve made:

the second step of Emily Ocker's circular cast-on

Insert the crochet hook into the loop and under the working yarn.

Practice This Circular Cast-On With A Mini-Doily Pattern

If you want to practice this magic cast-on, you can make this fun little mini-doily. If you use worsted-weight yarn, this can be a cute coaster. If you use chunky-weight yarn, you can use it to place it under something bigger, like a teapot or flower vase.

Easy Practice Mini-Doily using Circular Cast-On

Mini-Doily using Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On


  • 10 yards worsted-weight yarn
  • 40-inch circular needles, US size 7 (4.5 mm)
  • Crochet hook, US size G (4.25 mm)

Using Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On, CO 8 sts.
Distribute the sts for working in the round.

Rounds 1-2: K.
Round 3: (YO, k1) to end.
Round 4: K.
Round 5: (YO, k1) to end.
Round 6: K.

Bind-off round: K1, *k2tog, yo, k2tog, turn, sl 1, (k1, p1) twice in the same st, then k in the same st once more, p1, sl 1, turn, bind off 7 sts (1 st remains on right-hand needle). Repeat from * around.

Fasten off. Weave in ends. Soak thoroughly in cool water, gently squeeze out excess, pin out into shape and allow to dry completely.

Good Projects Using Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On

"Foliage" by Emilee Mooney"Hemlock Ring Blanket" by Jared Flood

What Do You Think Of This Cast-On? Let Me Know!

What do you think about this cast-on? Are you going to try it? What are your favorite patterns that call for a circular cast on? What other fancy cast-ons do you like? Leave a comment and let me know!

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79 thoughts on “How To Knit Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On”

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  1. loved the easy circle cast on, tried once before but no luck. Am now teaching others how to do it. Glad I found your Knit Freedom site, so helpful, especially the ravelling loop .

    1. Yay! Helen, I’m so glad. Look at you teaching others! That’s fabulous. I have another invisible circle cast-on in the upcoming ebook that I think you will like a lot, too.

  2. Hi Liat,
    Thank you for the amazing videos. What a great cast on for circular projects! Would love to meet you sometime.

  3. Dear Liat!

    I enjoy your newsletter!

    Thank-you! especially for the Foliage Hat idea! The Leaf Lace pattern is timely = I’m trying to (re)invent the wimple/snood/cowl to HOWL in idea – with COLOR and lace!

    I am definitely going to try Magic Loop.. I havethe right size 0 needles – been putting it off tooooo long!


  4. Great to have you back and teaching! Great video, always really approachable and friendly and always really well taught. Thank you.

  5. Thanks so much for this cast-on video! I’ve been trying to learn a circular cast-on but this one is by far the easiest. It helps that your instructions are quite clear, and I love that you explain, not only how, but why.

  6. Brillant – I have been looking for ways to knit a circular bottom for a duffle bag and this will suit it perfectly – Many thanks!

  7. This is a great cast on! Your videos are very helpful. I’m completely addicted to knitting socks from the toe up. I’m thinking this would make a nice tight cast on for that! I’m glad you’re feeling better!

  8. I LOVE the Superstar e-book! It’s been REALLY helpful to a new knitter like me! And now THIS! I’m not very good with a crochet hook, as my left hand has a mind of its own (LOL), but I managed to get this done! Sort of….I’m going to have to REALLY practice it as the string that I’m supposed to pull is wrapped up…I’ll figure it out. Question? Knitting this in Magic Loop the working yarn will always be from the bottom and not the top?

      1. Thank you SO much! I practiced and then started my project. Was a bit turned around at first, but I think I have the hang of it now! And…the working yarn coming off the bottom needle seems to be a bit easier for me to handle than when practicing Magic Loop with it coming from the top! LOL!

  9. This is such brilliant timing! I wanted to start a blanket which is knitted from the middle outwards, and it said to cast on with a circular cast-on. I was like “whaaaa?!” Three days later this popped into my inbox! You are awesome Liat, so glad you are back and well :)

  10. I am a knitting beginner – (knit and purl are my limits)
    Came upon your site and absolutely love it
    It is easy to follow your instructions – there is hope for me
    Thank you

  11. Liat, can you believe my local yarn store had never heard of you? OMG, I said!! Told them all about your awesome videos that they are the BEST quality and of Perfect Instruction. Thank you for sharing this one as well.

  12. Liat, thank you! Will be using this cast on for the hat you mentioned.Have the pattern
    and now can get started on it.

  13. As usual, amazing instructions. I tried making some amigurimi with this cast on, but failed due to unclear instructions. I really want to make some knit animals for my grandbabies to play with since they’re so cute. Thanks so much for making this possible.

  14. I crochet and knit and I’ve tried the magic circle/ring before for crochet and I could never find clear instructions for it. Now I will be able to use it for all my projects and I will have your clear and concise video to guide me if I need help! Thank you so much for your video’s. You have taught me so much! I’m so glad you are feeling better and are back:)

  15. This is a GREAT way to knit a hat on circulars from the top down. In the past, I’ve used the cast-on as for toe up socks, but I think this will be much better.

  16. So timely. Your instructions are very clear. Can now give the shawl a try. Haven’t dared because it really seemed to hard for me but I just love the leaves. Have tried them with a baby jacket and can not seem to master them, maybe now I can, thanks again. Maureen

    1. Emily, that’s great! The Foliage hat originally comes with some weird cast-on directions, but I think you will be much happier substituting the Emily Ocker cast-on. Let us know how it goes :)

  17. Thanks Liat. I have used this cast on method for crocheting because it only leaves a small hole. Delighted to try for knitting. Not something I would have thought of. Love your videos. Thanks to you I can now knit toe up socks. I had tried – ripped out – and tried again too many times to mention. Very grateful for your precise teaching.

  18. It’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m just checking email before bed and got your post about circular cast on. Too tired to look at it tonight but just wanted to say “Welcome Back!” Missed your postings!

  19. Thank you for your video! What a neat way to do circular knitting! Clear and concise directions. Thank you again

  20. You are a rock star! I have a pattern that asks for a long tail cast on in the middle of a piece hope this works for it. Nancy

  21. This is a wonderful cast-on! Your video was very clear and easy to follow. I looked at another video on this cast-on and his was not as good as yours by a long shot. KUTGW!

    1. Thanks Rose! And thanks to you I learned a new acronym. For any readers who don’t know (or maybe it’s just me), I looked it up and Rose said, “Keep Up The Good Work!” Yay :)

      PS I’m glad to know about that other video. I know who you’re talking about ;)

  22. Liat,

    You are excellent teacher on your tutorials, it’s easy for me cause I’m visual learner.
    So happy to see you are back, I hope you are doing much better!!! Are you going to have tutorials on how to circular knit & using the four double pointed needles? If you have tutorials already on those where can I find them?

    Thank you Sincerely Donna :)

  23. Liat,
    Another wonderfully clear video! Now I will have another project to try. We are all so glad that you are back!

  24. Thank you so much Liat. I just started knitting socks after Christmas and I would
    never have done it without your help. I have mastered top-down and am now starting
    toe-up. You are an awesome teacher.

  25. Absolutely a clear and concise video on doing this great cast on! Thank you Liat! Welcome Home!
    Need to update my email addy to [email protected]. please and thank you!

  26. Oh how wonderful…now I have to find a shawl pattern to make with this method. I’m so glad you are feeling better we missed you terribly. Looking forward to all that you have in store for us:) take care friend.

  27. Liat, you are a mind reader. Just yesterday, I was looking at a tutorial for this cast on but sadly it was only a picture tutorial. Going to make several of The Shetland Shopper–free pattern on Ravelry. Really glad to have you back, you were missed.

  28. Thank you for teaching me something new! And I agree with the others, your instructions are very clear. Now I can’t wait to make the doily/coaster.

  29. Liat-

    Now I know you’re back! WHOOHOO!! This is a great video. I’ve tried doing this watching a different video using regular needles but the crochet hook just made it soooo much easier! You are the BEST!! Thank you! Can’t wait to send it out to my other knitting friends.

    1. Thanks Jennie! Researching for this video cleared a lot of things up for me, too. I had no idea how easy it was. And thanks for sharing this with your friends – that is SO helpful (to me and them!). :D

  30. Steve Espinosa

    Liat, Once again you taught me something I have never done before. I can’t wait to start a project with this cast on. Of course I am eyeballing the Hemlock Ring Blanket by Jared Flood. Glad to have you back. BTW…isn’t it almost time for a visit?

    1. Steve, I think the Hemlock Ring Blanket is right up your alley. And you could find the perfect yarn for it at Blazing Needles – I think Cynthia carries Eco Wool.

      And YES, it IS time for a visit – I actually think I may be driving right through Salt Lake City very soon! Sometime in April. I would love to see you both!

  31. After seeing this new intro…….. and hearing your voice… MOMMA MIA… how did we ever survive without you??????
    Can’t wait to actually use this cast-on. Interesting, and not difficult at all.
    How clever :)
    Thanks Liat for bringing us into another step forward into fun ;) :)

    1. Good idea! Maybe the Lace ebook I’m working on will help you get ready to make the Hemlock blanket. I plan on giving some tips especially for that project because it is so popular.

  32. Kerry Greentree

    Thank you! It just goes to show that just when you think you know it “all” you don’t! This would also make an easy way of beginning a magic ring crochet circle too.

    It’s nice to have you back. I wish you all the best!

  33. PERFECT timing! I’ve attempted this cast on for a project only once before, with not quite optimal results, and I’m getting ready to start a circular shawl soon but was mildly dreading the cast on. Thank you, Liat! I’m so glad you’re back. :)

  34. Anne Marie Stevenson

    I wonder if there is a way of using crochet to knit either a top down or from the bottom jumper knitted in the round. I have never done this and am worried I will get the stitches twisted. Have you any suggestions please.

  35. I use this same method to begin crochet caps; so instead if chaining x stitches and joining at top if chain, then Db crocheting into chained circle, I skip chaining and overlap ends, and hold crossed over part until I DC x8 into loop, then pull on ends and top of hat circle closes down.

  36. Annette R. Hogan

    This message is simply to note that I have a new and different email address that I wish to have future messages from Liat (KNITFreedom) sent to. I don’t want to miss even one as I absolutely love and appreciate the new skills I learn from these newsletters and videos.

    My new & preferred email is now: [email protected]

    Thanks for everything, Liat.

  37. Thank you so much! You have shown me how to use a technique I already knew from crochet to make a knitted hat from the top down. I had tried to do that with DPN’s with an epic fail and had given up on it, but I use that magic loop to start all my crocheted amigurumi and now see how to use it in knitting! So glad you’re back and feeling better, I missed you!

    1. Jane, that’s wonderful! I’m glad you reminded me about amigurimi. This is a great cast-on for tiny project like that. And thanks for the well-wishes – it’s great to be back!

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