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“Become A Knitting Superstar” Premium Video Knitting Library > Cast-Ons

Casting On For Fun – Video Cast-Ons Course and Dictionary

   

Table of Contents

Getting Started Casting On

Cast-Ons for Beginners

Cast-Ons for Intermediate Knitters

Cast-Ons All Knitters Might Want to Know

Cast-On Tips and Tricks

Fixing Mistakes in Your Cast-On

Cast-On Extras


Cast-Ons By Name

[column width=”30%” padding=”3%”]Alternating Old Norwegian
Alternating Cable
Alternating Long-Tail
Backwards Loop
Cable
Chain
Channel Island
Chinese Waitress
Crochet
Crochet Provisional
Double-Start
Emily Ocker’s Circular
Estonian
Double-Twist Loop

[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”3%”]Figure-8
Garter Tab
I-Cord
Invisible Circular
Invisible Ribbed
Italian Tubular
Jeny’s Stretchy Slipknot
Judy’s Magic Cast-On (JMCO)
Knitted Cast-On
Lace
Long-Tail Cast-On
Moebius
Old Norwegian

[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”3%”]One-Color
Latvian
Picot
Picot/Hemmed Edge
Provisional
Purled
Three-Color
Tillibuddy’s
Turkish
Twined
Two-at-a-Time Toe-Up
Two-at-a-Time Top-Down
Two-Color

[/column][end_columns]


Casting On For Fun – Video Cast-Ons Course and Dictionary

I learned so much about cast-ons while recording this video guide. I know that every time I start a project from now on, I’m going to pick a new cast-on from among these techniques. I hope you are as inspired as I was by all these options. Happy knitting!

What Is a Cast-On?

Casting on is what you do when you put stitches on the needle at the beginning of your project so that you can start to knit. Most knitters know one cast-on: the one they were taught when they first learned how to knit.

If this is the case with you, know that there’s no reason to limit yourself to a few basic cast-ons.

Regardless of which cast-on you learned when you first started knitting, there is probably a cast-on out there that is faster, easier, prettier or more interesting, or just better suited to your project – and that’s where this book comes in.

So dive in and enjoy the variety of cast-ons available to you. I’ll guide you through choosing the right cast-on below.


Choosing The Right Cast-On

The easiest way to choose a cast-on is to do whichever one your pattern calls for. You can find it by scanning the list of cast-ons.

However, many patterns just say “Cast on xyz number of stitches” – they don’t specify which kind of cast-on to use. If that’s the case, you have to use your best judgment and pick one.

The most common, all-purpose cast-on for starting a project is the Long-Tail Cast-On. It’s fast and easy and you can use it to begin any project.

Soon, however, you’ll be ready to branch out and, instead of using a basic, catch-all cast-on, you’ll feel like choosing one that is ideally suited to your project.

First you’ll need to decide whether you need a long-tail cast-on or a short-tail cast-on.

Once you decide on a long-tail or short-tail cast-on, read through the cast-ons in that category and choose one that looks the way you want (there are close-up photos of each cast-on by its entry) and has the characteristics that you need (stretchy, invisible, reversible, fast, etc.).

There’s no “wrong” cast-on to use, so don’t be afraid to try a new one.

You’ll learn as you go which ones work well with certain types of projects and fabrics.


List of Matching Bind-Offs and Cast-Ons

Here are all the bind-offs in this course that have matching cast-ons (links go to videos in the Bind-Offs Dictionary)

Cast-On

Matching Bind-Off

Chain (Crochet) Cast-On Standard, Suspended Variation, DecreaseCrochet Bind-Offs
Chinese Waitress Cast-On 1-Stitch I-CordJeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off
Italian Tubular Cast-On Tubular Bind-Off
Italian Tubular Cast-On for 2×2 Rib Kitchener Double-Rib Bind-Off
I-Cord Cast-On I-Cord Bind-Off
Picot, Hemmed Edge Cast-Ons Picot, Hemmed Edge Bind-Offs
Picot Cast-On Picot Point Bind-Off #1
Judy’s Magic Cast-On Kitchener Stitch

Short-Tail or Long-Tail? The Fundamental Difference Between Cast-Ons

There are two types of cast-ons: short-tail cast-ons and long-tail cast-ons.

In a long-tail cast-on, two strands of yarn are used: the working yarn and a long piece of tail yarn. You can ONLY use a long-tail cast-on to START a knitting project, because when you’re in the middle of a project, you only have one strand of yarn available to you.

If you need to cast on in the middle of a project, you can always do a short-tail cast-on, in other words, a cast-on that requires only one strand of yarn.

Which to choose? Long-tail cast-ons are generally much faster to do, although until you get good at estimating how much tail you’ll need, you might waste yarn if you estimate too much.

When you are casting on for the beginning of a project, where you will generally be casting on a large amount of stitches, choose a long-tail cast-on unless there is a short-tail cast-on whose edge you greatly prefer.

If you are in the middle of a project and your pattern calls for you to cast on more stitches, choose a short-tail cast-on.

The cast-ons in this guide are divided into long-tail cast-ons and short-tail cast-ons, so it will be easy for you to pick one.


Getting Started Casting On

Estimating How Much Tail You’ll Need

Estimating how much tail you’ll need is important when you are doing any type of long-tail cast-on.

The length of the tail determines how many stitches you can cast on before you run out of yarn.

I guarantee that at some point in the future you will know, without even thinking, how much tail to leave.

But until then, you’ll have to estimate.

Here are three ways to do that:



Estimating How Much Tail You'll Need

Estimating How Much Tail You'll Need


To recap, the three techniques are:

Estimate 3-4 times the width of your project, or

Estimate 1 inch per stitch needed, or

Wrap the yarn around the needle 10 times to estimate how much yarn you’ll need for 10 stitches and add six inches.

Why? These techniques help you estimate only the amount of tail you’ll need to create the cast-on. You still need to leave an extra six inches so you can weave the tail in later.


How To Make A Slipknot

Almost all cast-ons start with a slipknot, unless you learn to cast on without on, which you might want to do once you get comfortable with casting on.

To make a slipknot, twist your yarn to create a loop, then reach inside it and pull up another loop. Pull the tail to tighten.



How to Make a Slipknot

How to Make a Slipknot



Slingshot Position

Almost all the long-tail cast-ons require you to hold the yarn in the “slingshot” position or a variation of it.

It looks the like beginning of the video below.



Slingshot Position

Slingshot Position


To recap, the steps are:

  1. Start with a slipknot on your right-hand needle and leave a long tail hanging down.
  2. Steady the slipknot with your right index finger.
  3. Grasp the two yarn strands in the three little fingers of your left hand.
  4. Insert your left thumb and forefinger between the two yarn strands.
  5. Bring the right needle down between your fingers, making the yarn look like a slingshot.

You’re ready to start casting on.

As you practice these new cast-ons, I recommend you review the tips and tricks in the following section – they could save you a lot of grief.


Cast-On Tips and Tricks

The tips in this section will help your casting on go more smoothly and possibly get you out of a jam or two.


Never Run Out Of Tail – The Infinite-Tail Method

If you have to cast on a lot of stitches, say, for a sweater or a long circular scarf, you might have trouble estimating the amount of tail you will need.

Instead of trying to estimate and then risking running out of tail, you can just use both ends of your ball of yarn to do your cast-on.



Never Run Out Of Tail - The Infinite-Tail Method

Never Run Out Of Tail – The Infinite-Tail Method



Casting On Without A Slipknot – Two Methods

Many people would rather not have a slipknot in their cast-on.

There’s nothing wrong with having a slipknot in a cast-on, mind you, but if you prefer not to have one, there are two ways to get rid of it: For short-tail cast-ons, start with a slipknot and then pull it out at the end of the first row.

For long-tail cast-ons, use the Twist Start method to start without a slipknot.

Both techniques are shown in the video below.



Casting On Without A Slipknot - Two Methods

Casting On Without A Slipknot – Two Methods



How To Count Stitches Fast

You can really speed up the cast-on process by learning how to count your stitches fast.

If you can train your eye to discern groups of five stitches at a time, counting stitches won’t be a headache, even if you have to keep doing it as you add stitches.



How To Count Stitches Fast

How To Count Stitches Fast


Tip: If you are casting on more than a hundred stitches, place a marker on your needle every 50 or 100 stitches, so that in case you need to count a few times as you approach the right number, you don’t have to repeat yourself.


Adding More Stitches If You Run Out Of Tail

As you do your long-tail cast on it might happen that, a few stitches shy of your goal, you run out of tail. Don’t panic, and please don’t take everything out and start over.

Just use any of the short-tail cast-ons to add the stitches you need, as I show below.



If You Run Out Of Tail - Adding More Stitches To A Long-Tail Cast-On

If You Run Out Of Tail – Adding More Stitches To A Long-Tail Cast-On


Besides the very basic Backwards Loop Cast-On, if you find yourself in this situation, you might want to experiment with using the Double-Twist Loop Cast-On, the Cable Cast-On, or even the complex-but-worth-it Chinese Waitress Cast-On.


Fixing a Dropped Long-Tail Cast-On Stitch

If you drop a stitch out of your long-tail cast-on as you are working the first row, you don’t have to take the cast-on out and start over.

You can carefully re-work the dropped stitch, following the technique in the video below:



How To Fix A Dropped Long-Tail Cast-On Stitch

How To Fix A Dropped Long-Tail Cast-On Stitch



If Your Cast-On Is Too Tight or Too Loose

The key to getting the right tension in your cast-on is not to pull the wrong part of the stitch snug.

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 – this will tighten the knot and not the stitch itself.

If you’ve casted 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.

If you are gripping the right-hand needle below the stitches and not touching them, your stitches will end up too tight.

I show you why in the video below:



Why Your Cast-On Is Too Tight - You're Pulling The Wrong Yarn

Why Your Cast-On Is Too Tight – You're Pulling The Wrong Yarn



Casting On To Two Needles

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

When you are done casting on, remove one needle, and you will see that your stitches are bigger but still nice and even.



Use Two Needles To Fix A Tight Cast-On

Use Two Needles To Fix A Tight Cast-On


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

Conversely, if you cast on too loose all the time, try using a needle a few sizes smaller than what your pattern calls for.


Cast-Ons Dictionary

Basic Cast-Ons

The cast-ons in this section work well for stockinette-stitch and garter-stitch fabric.

Long-Tail Cast-On

The Long-Tail Cast-On is a beginner cast-on. It is fast and easy to do and is moderately stretchy and sturdy.

To do the Long-Tail Cast-On, estimate how much tail you’ll need and make a slipknot that far into the working yarn.

Put the slipknot on your right-hand needle, stabilize the slipknot with your right index finger, and position the yarn in slingshot position



Long-Tail Cast-On

Long-Tail Cast-On


Tips:

1. Don’t pull your Long-Tail Cast-On too tight . When you snug up the stitches as you cast on, tug with your thumb more than your index finger – this will tighten the knot and not the stitch itself. If you’ve casted on with good tension, you’ll be able to slide the stitches around on the needle, but they should not slide by themselves.

2. When you do any kind of long-tail cast-on, you are creating the first right-side row of knitting as you do your cast-on. This means that you need to start your knitting by doing a wrong-side row, otherwise you’ll get purl bumps on the front of your work.


Long-Tail Cast-On: Thumb Method

The Thumb Method is another way to create the Long-Tail Cast-On. I think it’s slower and more difficult than the standard way, but if you prefer this method, here’s how to do it:



Long-Tail Cast-On: Thumb Method

Long-Tail Cast-On: Thumb Method



Old Norwegian (Twisted German) Cast-On

The Old Norwegian cast-on is a slightly complicated long-tail cast on that is very sturdy and stretchy and has a pretty, double-twisted edge.

It can be used for stockinette stitch as well as ribbing. To use it for stockinette stitch as shown in the picture, just do the knit version.

To do the cast-on for ribbing, do the knit and purl versions in whatever combination your ribbing is in (1×1, 2×3, etc.).



Old Norwegian/Alternating Old Norwegian Cast-on

Old Norwegian/Alternating Old Norwegian Cast-on


Tips:

1. For the knit version, pull the thumb yarn to tighten. For the purl version, pull the index-finger yarn to tighten.

2. Remember that you are creating the first right-side row of knitting as you do your cast-on. This means that you need to start your knitting by doing a wrong-side row.

Basic Short-Tail Cast-Ons

Use the cast-ons in this section to add stitches in the middle of stockinette-stitch and garter-stitch projects.


Backwards Loop (Child’s) Cast-On

The Backwards Loop Cast-On is the easiest of them all.

It’s great for teaching to children and beginning knitters. However, it’s not very sturdy or stretchy, and it’s also difficult to knit into.

The stitches act like a Chinese finger trap and tighten as you knit each one – not very desirable.

Learn this cast-on so you can teach it to your kids and your beginning-knitter friends, then learn a better short-tail cast-on as soon as possible.



Backwards Loop Cast-On

Backwards Loop Cast-On



Double-Twist Loop Cast-On

The Double-Twist Loop Cast-On is an attractive short-tail cast-on that is relatively fast to do.

It has a sturdy double-twisted edge and, like all short-tail cast-ons, it can be used to add stitches in the middle of any project.



Double-Twist Loop Cast-On

Double-Twist Loop Cast-On


 


Knitted Cast-On

The Knitted Cast-On is a very easy short-tail cast-on based on the knit stitch. It is moderately stretchy and only semi-durable- it tends to get stretched-out with use.

Avoid using this cast-on on high-wear items like kids’ hat brims or mitten cuffs.

To do the knitted cast-on, knit into stitch on the left-hand needle and then place the new stitch knitwise onto the left-hand needle.



Knitted Cast-On

Knitted Cast-On


Tips:

1. If you are using the knitted cast-on to add stitches in the middle of a project, you won’t need to turn your work after you’ve casted on- just start knitting the cast-on stitches.

2. Knit the cast-on stitches through the back loops to ensure a nice solid edge.

Purled Cast-On

The Purled Cast-On is the exact opposite of the Knitted Cast-On and is used to add stitches when you’re on the purl side of your work.

It looks exactly the same as the knitted cast-on, only viewed from the back.

To do it, purl into stitch on the left-hand needle and then place the new stitch purlwise on the left-hand needle

The nice thing about the purled cast-on is that when you place the new stitch on the left-hand needle, your needles are already in position to purl again, so you don’t have to reinsert your needle.



Purled Cast-On

Purled Cast-On


Tips: 1. If you are using the purled cast-on to add stitches in the middle of a project, you won’t need to turn your work after you’ve casted on- just start purling the cast-on stitches.

2. Purl the cast-on stitches through the back loops to ensure a nice solid edge.


Cable Cast-On

The Cable Cast-On is just as easy as the knitted cast-on but has a beautiful and firm twisted edge.

The edge is not very elastic but it is quite sturdy, so you can use it for projects where the edge needs to be decorative but not highly stretchy.

To do the cable cast-on, insert the right-hand needle between the first two stitches on the left-hand needle and wrap your yarn as if to knit. Pull a loop through and place the new stitch knitwise on the left-hand needle.



Cable Cast-On

Cable Cast-On


Tips:

1. To make the last cast-on stitch look just as good as the rest of them, bring your yarn between your needle tips to the front of your work after creating the last stitch but before placing it on the left-hand needle. Then bring your yarn to the back, under the right-hand needle, and you’ll see how it neatens up the last stitch.

2. If you are using the Cable Cast-On to add stitches in the middle of a project, you won’t need to turn your work after you’ve casted on- just start knitting into the cast-on stitches.


Chain (Crochet) Cast-On

The Chain Cast-On uses a crochet hook to place stitches on the needle.

The special thing about the chain cast-on is that it’s the only cast-on that exactly matches the traditional bind-off, so you can use it to create perfectly matching cast-on and bind-off edges.

However, because it creates a rather obvious edge, this wouldn’t be a great choice for adding stitches in the middle of a project.



Chain Cast-On

Chain Cast-On


Tips:

1. To make cast-on edge perfectly match your bind-off edge, use a smaller-than-normal crochet hook to cast on and a bigger-than-normal right-hand needle when you bind off.

2. This cast-on is the same as the crochet provisional cast-on, only the provisional cast-on uses waste yarn. See? You just learned two cast-ons at once!


Stretchy/Ribbed Cast-Ons

The cast-ons in this section work well for fabric that needs to stretch.

They all look great with ribbing and many of them have an almost invisible edge that blends perfectly with the stitches.


Stretchy/Ribbed Long-Tail Cast-Ons

Alternating Long-Tail Cast-On

The Alternating Long-Tail Cast-On is an easy cast-on for any combination of knit and purl stitches.

The “knit version” is the regular long-tail cast-on you’ve already learned. The “purl version” is the opposite movement, and creates a purl cast-on stitch.

You can alternate 1 knit and 1 purl to prepare for 1×1 rib, or you can alternate 2 knits and 3 purls to prepare for 2×3 rib, etc.



Alternating Long-Tail Cast-On

Alternating Long-Tail Cast-On


Tips:

1. Remember that the slipknot counts as your first stitch, so if you’re setting up for 1×1 rib, your first cast-on stitch should be a purl stitch

2. Cast on an even number of stitches and end with a purl cast-on stitch. That way, your first stitch when you go to work the first row will be a knit stitch, and you’ll start the row off in the expected way of “knit 1, purl 1…”


Alternating Old Norwegian (Twisted German) Cast-On

The Old Norwegian cast-on is a slightly complicated long-tail cast on that is very sturdy and stretchy and has a pretty, double-twisted edge.

It can be used for stockinette stitch as well as ribbing. To use it for stockinette stitch, just do the knit version.

To do the cast-on for ribbing as shown in the picture, do the knit and purl versions in whatever combination your ribbing is in (1×1, 2×3, etc.).



Old Norwegian/Alternating Old Norwegian Cast-on

Old Norwegian/Alternating Old Norwegian Cast-on


Tips: 1. For the knit version, pull the thumb yarn to tighten. For the purl version, pull the index-finger yarn to tighten.

2. For ribbing, cast on an even number of stitches and end with a purl cast-on stitch. That way, your first stitch when you go to work the first row will be a knit stitch, and you’ll start the row off in the expected way of “knit 1, purl 1…”


Double-Start (Estonian/Latvian) Cast-On

The Double-Start Cast-On is a relatively fast and easy way to cast on for 1×1 rib.

It is based on the long-tail cast-on and creates pairs of stitches as you cast on. This cast-on works best for 1×1 rib only, not other combinations of ribbing.



Double-Start Cast-On

Double-Start Cast-On


Tip: Because this technique creates pairs of cast-on stitches plus the slipknot at the beginning, it will result in an odd number of stitches if you repeat the technique for the whole cast-on. If you need an even number of stitches, add one more long-tail cast-on stitch at the end.


Channel Island Cast-On

The Channel Island cast-on is decorative cast-on for stockinette or ribbing.

It creates a small knot every other stitch and, because it is created with a double strand of yarn, the edge is very sturdy and won’t get stretched-out. It is traditionally used to cast on for gansey sweaters.



Channel Island Cast-On

Channel Island Cast-On



Italian Tubular (Invisible Ribbed) Cast-On for 1×1 Rib

The Italian Tubular Cast-On creates a true invisible ribbed cast-on edge for 1×1 rib. The stitches seem to flow from the front to the back with no discernible edge.

There are two steps to this cast-on: the Italian cast-on and 2 or 4 tubular set-up rows.

Doing 4 set-up rows makes the cast-on edge a little more rounded. This cast-on is also special in that it has a matching bind-off: the Invisible Ribbed Bind-Off.



Italian Tubular Cast-On

Italian Tubular Cast-On


Tips:

1. End the cast-on with a long-tail cast-on stitch, an Old Norwegian cast-on stitch, or a half-hitch, so that the last stitch doesn’t fall off the needle.

2. For the two tubular set-up rows, work the first and last stitches, and slip the purl stitches with the yarn in front and knit the yarnovers.

3. At the end of the first tubular set-up row, work the double-loop that is the first cast-on stitch together to make it one stitch.

4. If you want to use this cast-on in the round, I recommend that you work the cast-on and tubular set-up flat like I show in the video, then divide your stitches and join for working in the round. Use your tail yarn to sew up the little gap created by working the first rows flat.

5. This cast-on can also be used for 2×2 rib – just follow the directions here and then adjust the stitches according to the instructions for the Italian Tubular Cast-On for 2×2 Rib, below.


Italian Tubular Cast-On for 2×2 Rib

To do the Italian Tubular Cast-On For 2X2 Rib, use the Italian cast-on for 1×1 rib to cast on the number of stitches your pattern calls for and then complete the two tubular set-up rows.

Once you have done the cast-on and tubular set-up rows, you will rearrange the knit and purl stitches as you work your first row to create the k2, p2 pattern.

This cast-on is special in that it has a matching bind-off: the Invisible Ribbed Bind-Off For 2X2 Rib.



Italian Tubular Cast-On for 2x2 Rib

Italian Tubular Cast-On for 2×2 Rib


Tips:

1. To work the first row after the tubular set-up: K1, *insert left-hand needle into front of the next knit stitch. Remove next 2 sts from left-hand needle, replace the purl stitch onto the left-hand needle, then place the knit stitch on the left-hand needle. K1, p2, k1, rep from * to end.

2. If you learn how to do this, you’ll also basically know how to do cables without a cable needle. Bonus!

3. If you want to use this cast-on in the round, I recommend that you work the cast-on and tubular set-up flat like I show in the video, then divide your stitches and join for working in the round. Use your tail yarn to sew up the little gap created by working the first rows flat.


Stretchy/Ribbed Short-Tail Cast-Ons

Use the cast-ons in this section to add stitches in the middle of ribbed projects or any project where you need a very elastic edge.

Alternating Cable Cast-On

The Alternating Cable Cast-On is a very stretchy and almost invisible cast-on for any combination of knit and purl stitches.

As with the alternating long-tail cast-on, the “knit version” of the alternating cable cast-on is the regular cable cast-on you’ve learned, and the “purl version” is the opposite movement.

You can alternate 1 knit and 1 purl to prepare for 1×1 rib, or you can alternate 2 knits and 3 purls to prepare for 2×3 rib, etc.



Alternating Cable Cast-On

Alternating Cable Cast-On


Tips:

1. To make the last cast-on stitch look just as good as the rest of them, bring your yarn between your needle tips to the other side of your work after creating the last stitch but before placing it on the left-hand needle.

2. Because you don’t have to turn your work after doing this cast-on, take care to start with a purl stitch and end with a knit stitch so that when you start working into the cast-on, your first stitch will be a knit stitch, and you’ll start the row off in the expected way of “knit 1, purl 1…”


Slipknot (Buttonhole/Jeny’s Stretchy Slipknot) Cast-On

The Slipknot Cast-On is a reversible and very elastic short-tail cast-on that can be used to add stitches to stockinette or ribbing.

This cast-on is simply a series of slipknots done with the working yarn.



Slipknot Cast-On

Slipknot Cast-On


Tip: The key to success for this cast-on is to keep all the slipknot stitches very close together, and pull each stitch tightly to secure it. The cast-on is so elastic that you can’t afford to leave any slack in the yarn.


Tillybuddy’s Cast-On

Tillybuddy’s Cast-On (invented by Tillybuddy on Ravelry) is a very sturdy and stretchy short-tail cast-on that can be used for 1×1 or 2×2 rib.

The cast-on uses loops and twists to create pairs of stitches on the needle.



Tillybuddy's Cast-On

Tillybuddy's Cast-On


Tips:

1. Work the first row close to the needle-tips so the cast-on doesn’t get stretched-out.

2. The cast-on creates pairs of stitches so, combined with the initial slipknot, it results in an odd number of stitches. If you need an even number of stitches, remove the slipknot once you get to it at the end of the first row.


Chinese Waitress Cast-On

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On is a beautiful, reversible, and stretchy short-tail cast-on.

It was taught to knitting author Cap Sease’s friend by a waitress in a Beijing restaurant, hence the great name.

Not only is this cast-on very stretchy, it also doesn’t curl on stockinette, and it creates a reversible double-chain effect along the bottom edge that is very pretty. For a matching bind-off, try Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.

For those of you who are just bored by other cast-ons, this one is for you. It’s different and interesting, but not hard.



Chinese Waitress Cast-On

Chinese Waitress Cast-On


Tips:

1. Try using a crochet hook instead of your right needle as an alternate way to do this cast-on.

2. When you go to bind off the stitch, hold the working yarn tight in order to tighten the last stitch on the needle. This makes it easier to bring the other stitch over it and off the needle.

3. Don’t forget to bring the yarn over the front of the left-hand needle before you wrap it around the right-hand needle.

4. Remember to remove the right-hand needle and replace it in the stitch facing the other direction before you start each new stitch.

5. To make the last cast-on stitch look just as good as the rest of them, bring your yarn between your needle tips to the front of your work after creating the last stitch but before placing it on the left-hand needle.


Center-Start Cast-Ons

The cast-ons in this section all help you start from the center of a project, whether it be circular or triangular.

Circular cast-ons are for starting in the center of a project that is knit in the round. Of the two circular cast-ons, Emily Ocker’s is easier whereas the invisible circular’s hole disappears more completely.

The garter tab cast-on is for starting triangular shawls.


Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On

Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On, made popular by Elizabeth Zimmerman, is the easiest circular center-start cast on.

It uses a crochet hook to create the number of cast-on stitches needed, and the stitches are then slipped onto a long circular needle or double-points.

When you pull the tail tight, the cast-on zips up into a circle. A little hole is still visible – if you don’t like the hole, try the invisible circular cast-on below.



Emily Ocker's Circular Cast-On

Emily Ocker's Circular Cast-On



Invisible Circular Cast-On

The invisible Circular Cast-On is used to start in the center of a project that is knit in the round.

Casting on into a ring of yarn places the stitches on your long circular needle. When you arrange your needle for knitting in the round, you pull the tail tight and the circle zips up and closes completely.



Invisible Circular Cast-On

Invisible Circular Cast-On


Tips:

1. Be sure to end the cast-on with a stitch from under the yarn, not a yarnover. That way the last stitch will not fall off the needle. This results in an odd number of stitches.

2. If you need an even number of stitches, start the first working round with a yarn over.


Garter Tab Cast-On for Triangular Shawls

The Garter Tab Cast-On is an ingenious way to invisibly start a triangular shawl.

A provisional cast-on is used to cast on two or three stitches, then the working yarn is used to knit in garter stitch until you have a little strip of fabric – the “garter tab.”

Picking up stitches along the edge of the tab and in the provisional cast-on places the stitches in such a way that you are ready to start the triangular shawl and it is impossible to tell where you started.

http://vimeo.com/64290083


Decorative Cast-Ons

The four cast-ons in this section can be used to start any kind of project and add a pretty or interesting edge.

All but the hemmed edge cast-ons are short-tail cast-ons, so they can be done at any point in your knitting.

Lace Cast-On

The Lace Cast-On is a decorative short-tail cast-on that looks good with garter stitch, seed stitch, and ribbing.

Wrapping the yarn around your left-hand needle before doing a knitted cast-on stitch creates an extra loop of yarn on the edge of your project.

Be warned that if you use this edge on stockinette stitch, it will tend to curl – that’s why I’ve shown it to you here in seed stitch. You could also use ribbing or garter stitch.



Lace Cast-On

Lace Cast-On



Picot Cast-On

The Picot Cast-On uses a combination of the knitted cast-on and binding off to create a picot edge.

You can use this cast-on to start top-down socks or any project where you’d like a scalloped edge. This cast-on is special in that it has a matching bind-off: the Picot Bind-Off.



Picot Cast-On

Picot Cast-On


Tips:

1. Use a smaller needle than what the pattern calls for. This will prevent the picot edge from being to big and fluffy.

2. You can add distance between the picots by casting on and then binding off more stitches after you create each picot.


Hemmed Edge, Purl-Ridge, and Picot Hemmed Edge Cast-Ons

The Hemmed Edge Cast-On creates a smooth, folded edge. The purl-ridge variation adds a row of purl bumps at the fold, and the picot hemmed edge has tiny picot bumps at the fold.

All three hemmed edge cast-ons are created by folding a length of stockinette-stitch fabric in half and tacking the cast-on edge down on the wrong side of the work.

This cast-on is best used on projects knit in the round so that the wrong side doesn’t show. It works well on top-down socks if you don’t pull the tack-down row too tight.

For a regular hemmed edge, knit 11 rows of Stockinette stitch and then fold.

For a purl-ridge edge, knit 5 rows of Stockinette, then 1 purl row, and then 5 more rows of stockinette before folding.

For the picot hemmed edge, knit 5 rows of Stockinette, then a row of (yo, k2tog) lace, and then 5 more rows of Stockinette before folding. This is the technique shown in the video below.

The hemmed-edge cast-ons also have matching bind-offs: the hemmed-edge bind-offs.



Picot Hemmed Edge Cast-On

Picot Hemmed Edge Cast-On


Tips:

1. The key to a straight, even hemmed edge is finding the right purl pump on the inside of your work to pick up into. Once you’ve identified the row the purl bump is in, move horizontally, picking up bumps in the same row.

2. Make sure you do at least 5 rows of stockinette stitch before and after the lace/purl round. If you cut corners and don’t do enough rows, your hemmed edge will flare out and look funny.


I-Cord Cast-On

The I-Cord Cast-On creates an I-cord along the edge of your knitting.

Passing stitches back and forth between the needle-tips as you work a knitted cast-on causes the edge to form an I-cord.

Use sharp lace needles for this cast-on to make manipulating the stitches easier.

This cast-on also has a matching bind-off: the I-Cord Bind-Off.



I-Cord Cast-On

I-Cord Cast-On



Double-Sided Cast-Ons

The three cast-ons in this section are for casting on in the round while making a sealed, seamless edge at the bottom of your work.

They are most often used for toe-up socks as well as felted bags, hot water bottle covers, and the like.

You can also use any of these cast-ons to knit two-at-a-time toe-up socks using Magic Loop – I use Judy’s Magic Cast-On.

All three cast-ons can be used interchangeably. I’ve listed them in descending order from my most to least favorite.

Judy’s Magic Cast-On (JMCO)

Judy’s Magic Cast-On is a fantastic double-sided cast-on.

Not only is it the sturdiest of the double-sided cast-ons, in my opinion it is also the easiest to knit into, which is when it really counts.

Invented by Judy Becker, this cast-on creates a row of knitting in between the two rows of live stitches on your needles.

I recommend using a long circular needle instead of double-points to do this cast-on.



Judy's Magic Cast-On

Judy's Magic Cast-On


Tips: 1. Twist your working yarn and tail yarn around each other once when you finish the cast-on. This will hold the stitches in place.

2. Make sure to place a marker at the beginning of the round, since your tail will be on the inside of your work and, after a while, you won’t be able to see it.

3. To knit the first round, start with the knit side facing towards you and the needle tips pointing to the right. Pull the bottom needle out to start knitting in the round using Magic Loop.


Two-at-at-Time Knitting with Judy’s Magic Cast-On

Purple malabrigo socks in progress, two at a timeTwo-at-a-time toe-up socks are one of my favorite uses of Judy’s Magic Cast-On.

If you are comfortable with Magic Loop knitting and Judy’s Magic Cast-On, combine the two skills to start a pair of toe-up socks.

Not only are toe-up socks fast to knit, there’s no heel flap or picking up stitches. In the video below, I walk you through casting on for a two-at-a-time toe-up project.



Two-at-a-Time Knitting with Judy's Magic Cast-On

Two-at-a-Time Knitting with Judy's Magic Cast-On


Tips:

1. Use a long circular needle to do this cast-on. I recommend 47 inches (120 cm).

2. Make sure to place a marker at the beginning of the round, since your tail will be on the inside of your work and, after a while, you won’t be able to see it.

3. To knit the first round, start with the knit side facing towards you and the needle tips pointing to the right. Pull the bottom needle out to start knitting in the round on Magic Loop.


Turkish Cast-On

The Turkish Cast-On is a double-sided cast-on that is even and sturdy. It’s easy because all it entails is just wrapping the yarn around both of your needle tips held together.

However, what it gains in easiness at the cast-on stage causes more difficulty when it’s time to knit into the cast-on. You’ll need to be proficient in Magic Loop in order to make this cast-on work without dropping stitches.



Turkish Cast-On

Turkish Cast-On


Tips:

1. Hold your working and tail yarns carefully so that no stitches disappear off the needles.

2. To knit into the cast-on, pull the bottom needle out to start knitting in the round using Magic Loop.

3. After you’ve knit the first round, place a marker at the beginning of the round.


Figure-8 Cast-On

The Figure-8 Cast-On is my least-favorite double-sided cast-on.

The cast-on row of stitches can be loose and have a noticeable kink, instead of curving smoothly.

Like the Turkish cast-on, the figure-8 cast-on is easy to do but hard to knit into. You’ll need to be proficient in Magic Loop in order to make this cast-on work without dropping stitches.



Figure-8 Cast-On

Figure-8 Cast-On


Tips:

1. Hold your working and tail yarns carefully so that no stitches disappear off the needles.

2. To knit into the cast-on, pull the bottom needle out to start knitting in the round on Magic Loop.

3. After you’ve knit the first round, place a marker at the beginning of the round.


Multicolor Cast-Ons

There are seven multicolor cast-ons to choose from in this section, and most of them are dead easy.

I encourage you to try these because they are way easier than they look – there’s absolutely no reason not to start your next two-color project with a multicolor cast-on.

The twined cast-on is the toughest, but that’s only because it’s designed for two-color ribbing, so knitting the first row gets complex and requires familiarity with Fair-Isle techniques.

One Contrasting-Color Edge – Two Ways

 The easiest way to create a contrasting-color edge is to tie two colors of yarn together in a slipknot and use them to do any kind of long-tail cast-on.

The yarn that goes over your thumb will be the color that creates the contrasting edge.

In the example on the left, the long-tail cast-on was used. This creates a simple stripe.

In the example on the right, the Old Norwegian cast-on was used. This creates a thicker stripe.



One Contrasting-Color Cast-On

One Contrasting-Color Cast-On



Two-Color Cast-On with Corded or Braided Edge

 To make a two-color edge, two colors of yarn are used together in a long-tail cast-on and the strands are rotated between each cast-on stitch.

To create the two-color corded cast-on (left), rotate the yarns counterclockwise.

To create the two-color braided cast-on (right), rotate the yarns clockwise.



Two-Color Cast-On

Two-Color Cast-On



Three-Color Cast-On with Corded or Braided Edge

 To make a three-color edge, three colors of yarn are used together in a long-tail cast-on and all three strands are rotated between each cast-on stitch.

To create the three-color corded cast-on (left), rotate the yarns counterclockwise.

To create the three-color braided cast-on (right), rotate the yarns clockwise.



Three-Color Cast-On

Three-Color Cast-On



Twined Cast-On for Two-Color Ribbing with Contrasting Edge

The twined cast-on sets you up for two-color ribbing and creates a contrasting edge in a third color.

To do it, tie three colors of yarn together in a slipknot and use the Old Norwegian cast-on to rotate between the two colors you will use for your ribbing. The yarn that goes over your thumb will be the color that creates the contrasting edge.

Place your hands in the slingshot position with the third yarn hanging down.

As you cast on each stitch with the Old Norwegian cast-on, drop the yarn from your index finger and replace it with the yarn that was hanging down.



Twined Cast-On

Twined Cast-On



Provisional Cast-Ons

Provisional cast-ons hold live stitches for you to knit into later.

Doing a provisional cast-on is a great way to knit a scarf from the center-out: you first knit one half of the scarf and bind off, then insert your needle into the stitches that were “on hold” and knit the other half of the scarf.

There will be no seam or visible indication of what you’ve done.

Provisional cast-ons are also used in many other kinds of projects. You may think the idea seems scary or complicated, but I encourage you to try learning the two cast-ons below – you’ll see they aren’t as scary as you thought.

The two provisional cast-ons in this section are interchangeable.

Provisional Cast-On

The standard provisional cast-on uses a circular needle or a piece of waste yarn to hold the stitches until you are ready to work them.

I love the idea of using a circular needle to hold the stitches (shown at left), because when you are ready to knit them they are already on the needle and ready to go.

However, if you’re going to be turning your work a lot and don’t want a circular needle hanging down and banging around, you can use a piece of waste yarn.



Provisional Cast-On

Provisional Cast-On


Tips:

1. To cast on an even number of stitches, start with a yarnover.

2. To cast on an odd number of stitches, start by bringing your needle under the waste yarn or circular needle.

3. Make sure that your last stitch is not a yarnover – if it is, it will fall off the needle.

4. When you remove the waste yarn and put the stitches on your left-hand needle, insert the needle from front to back to make sure the stitches are facing the right way. If you have used a circular needle, this won’t be an issue.


Crochet Provisional Cast-On

The crochet provisional cast-on is very convenient because it’s so easy to remove.

It works the same way as the Chain Cast-On, only you’ll be using a piece of waste yarn to cast on the first row . After you cast on, work the stitches in your working yarn according to your pattern.

When it’s time to remove the cast-on, simply pull the tail – the chain will unravel easily.



Crochet Provisional Cast-On

Crochet Provisional Cast-On


Tips:

1. After you have cast on the stitches you need, create one last loop but don’t place it on your needle . Just remove the crochet hook and put in a stitch marker. This is the key to making the cast-on easy to remove later on.

2. When you remove the waste yarn and put the stitches on your left-hand needle, insert the needle from front to back to make sure the stitches are facing the right way.


Special Shapes

Each cast-on in this section is specifically designed for a certain type of project.

The moebius cast-on is the only way to start a moebius scarf or bag, and the two-at-a-time cast-on is the easiest way to start knitting two round tubes at once.


Moebius Cast-On

The moebius cast-on was invented by Cat Bordi as a way to start a loop with one twist in it.

The cast-on itself is similar to a provisional cast-on, but then setting up the moebius and checking it to find the twist make the endeavor more complicated.

Working the first round can be a little slow and confusing – I’ve demonstrated the cast-on all the way through knitting the first round so that you won’t get stuck.



Moebius Cast-On

Moebius Cast-On


Tips: 1. Looking for the twist in your moebius is probably the hardest part of the cast-on. Just follow the cable of your circular needles with your eyes and fingers, gently moving the stitches if needed, until you see the spot where the cables cross each other.

2. Be aware: the crossing may be at or near your needle tips, where you might not be expecting it. This is perfectly fine.

3. As you knit into the cast-on, insert your needle tip from front to back into each “triangle” as it presents itself.

4. You will need to use your fingers to massage the stitches and push them around the moebius and up onto your left-hand needle. Don’t worry, it’s only like this at the beginning.

5. Wondering how I made such a tiny moebius for the photo? Thought it was impossible to make a tiny moebius without felting? Wrong. Magic Loop to the rescue again. That’s right – with Magic Loop you can knit anything in the round, of any diameter – even a moebius.

I won’t pretend it wasn’t a pain in the butt, but it can be done.


Liat’s Limitless Cast-On for Two-at-a-Time Anything

Liat’s Limitless Cast-On for Two-at-a-Time Anything is a top-down cast-on I invented for two-at-a-time knitting in the round on Magic Loop.

It’s the easiest way to get started knitting two tubes that are open on the end, like top-down socks.

For two-at-a-time toe-up socks, try Judy’s Magic Cast-On for two-at-a-time.

You’ll need a long circular needle (47 inches [120 cm]) and two balls of yarn.

Tip: Knitting into this cast-on will be much easier if you are proficient in Magic Loop knitting.



Liat's Limitless Cast-On For Two-at-a-Time Anything

Liat's Limitless Cast-On For Two-at-a-Time Anything


Tips: 1. You can use any type of long-tail cast-on with this technique, and I encourage you to experiment.

2. Don’t tighten the first stitch of each tube too tight – you’ll regret it when it comes time to put the stitches back on your needle tips.

3. You can learn more about two-at-a-time knitting in my course on two-at-a-time top-down socks.


Congratulations! I’m so proud of you for making it all the way through this course. Your knitting is going to improve so much as you experiment with using these cast-ons in your projects.

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