This post uses still images, written directions, and a video to show how to do a long-tail cast-on using your thumb. Casting on is the first step in knitting.
You’ve picked out your pattern, yarn and made sure you have the correct needles. Now you are ready to start knitting! And once you’ve mastered this, bring on the knit and the purl!
But first, we need to get the yarn onto the needles. And to do that, we need to cast on.
transitive verb: to place (stitches) on a knitting needle for beginning knitted work.
You can’t start knitting until you get some of that yarn you just chose onto the needle. Casting on is how we do that.
There are a variety of methods to cast on, but I feel the simplest is the thumb long-tail method.
The slip knot forms an adjustable loop in your yarn or rope. You can place the loop around your needle and then tighten the knot by sliding it.
Placing stitches on a knitting needle for beginning knitted work
The yarn coming from the ball and is the yarn you will be knitting with.
The yarn not coming from the ball; it’s the length of the yarn you’ve pulled off to cast on and will be the shorter piece of yarn at the very beginning of your piece. Once you are done with your cast on, you will not use the tail end of the yarn and will weave it in at the end of your work.
I find that the long-tail cast-on method produces an even, sturdy, and elastic edge to your knit project, no matter what it is. There are several other methods for casting on, but this is the one I’ve stuck with unless I want a double-sided cast-on.
The only drawback to the long-tail cast-on method is that you need to be able to estimate how much yarn you will need to cast on. If you estimate too little, you will have to rip out what you have cast on, allocate a bit more yarn and begin the process again. If you estimate too much, you will end up wasting some yarn.
Well, that’s the $64K question, isn’t it? With the long-tail method, you need to estimate the amount of yarn you will need to cast on the number of requisite stitches. Over the years, I have found a ‘mostly reliable’ method to estimate the length of yarn needed for a long-tail cast-on is the needle wrap estimation.
Simply, I start with a 6-8″ tail and then loosely wrap my yarn around both of my needles as many times as I need to cast on. So, for the image below, I want to cast on 10 stitches. So I leave a 6″ tail and then wrap my yarn 10 times loosely around both needles and then another 6″ tail.
At the end of the last 6″, where my fingers are pinching the yarn, is where I will tie my slip knot.
Once you put that slip stitch onto your needle, you have the first cast-on stitch. Now it is time to put the rest of the stitches onto your needle by casting them on using the long-tail method.
See the full video on how to cast on and make a slip knot here.
If you want to learn how to knit or are looking to brush up on your knitting skills and knowledge, pop on over to the How to Knit page which houses all of the posts that teach knitting skills. Or, you could go ahead and visit each one by clicking the links below.
To refer back to this post on the Long-Tail Cast-On, bookmark this page or pin the following image.
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