Basic Cast-On Techniques

Estimating How Much Tail You’ll Need for a Long-Tail Cast-On

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. Once you estimate the tail length, you’ll know where to put your slipknot to begin casting on.

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:


Three Ways to Estimate Tail for a Long-Tail Cast-On

  1. Estimate 3-4 times the width of your project
  2. Estimate 1 inch per stitch needed
  3. Wrap the yarn around the needle 10 times to estimate how much yarn you’ll need for 10 stitches.

For each of the techniques above, make sure to add an extra six inches to your estimated tail before placing your slipknot.

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 how to cast on without one, 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. I show you how in the video below.


Slingshot Position

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


To Get in Slingshot Position:

  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.

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