Casting on Woes

Sorry if this subject is a dead horse but I'm pretty new to knitting and casting on is such a trouble point for me. I was wondering what is your favorite method of casting on. I have learned the knit cast on (I think that's what it is called), which comes out okay but I don't like the "fat" look of that edge. I like the look of a well executed Continental (I think it's also called "Double"), cast on but I have a sloppiness issue whenever I do it. Either I get a random, sloppy looking edge with stitches of varying tension or I get a beautiful, perfect looking row of cast on stitches that are so ungodly tight they're nearly unworkable. I want to learn the right way right away so I can have neat, professional looking work and not a pile of sloppy looking beginner projects. By the way, I'm new here as well so "Hello everyone", I love this site already.

Thor's picture

Recently Crafty Andy ("Apnevarez" the Hat Guru from SanFrancisco) posted a YouTube video here (Halloween) where he showed us all the "Cable Cast On"... I tried it and have been using it ever since. I originally learned the long tail knit cast on where you wrap the needle with the number of stitches you should be casting on to know how much of a tail you need. That is eliminated with the Cable Cast On as the new stitches are created using the main yarn.

drmel94's picture

I prefer the long tail cast on, as it seems to go more quickly for me and I like the look of it. It does take a little bit of practice and attention to get the tension nice and even with long tail, but it's worth the effort, IMO.

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BuduR's picture

I recently learned the long tail cast on and prefer it for the same reasons as drmel94. If you go to youtube and do a search you can find a video that explains how it is done. That's how I learned it. And welcome!

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YarnGuy716's picture

The Long Tail Cast On is my preferred method. It gives a nice clean edge that I like. To deal with the Too Loose and Sloppy vs Too Tight To Knit issues, I cast on to 2 needles at once snugly. When you remove the 2nd needle you have even cast on stitches that are not too tight. Just make sure it's snug, not death grip tight.

Like with anything about knitting, the best way to get better at it is too keep doing it. Set aside some time and just practice casting on. It will also help you learn to estimate how much of a tail you need.

Asbjörn's picture

Wow, speedy replies! I suppose I'll be looking into learning the long tail cast on as my next endeavor. Also, I'll have to give that two needle trick Yarnguy mentioned a try, sounds like a good idea. Thanks everyone.


MasonM's picture

Yup, long tail here too


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Asbjörn's picture

Ok, so apparently I have been doing the Long Tail cast on all along, (though I knew it as a Continental or German cast on). I checked out and it describes the very method I was having the trouble with (yet liked best as I felt when properly executed gave the most attractive edge). So it looks like I will spend post turkey dinner tomorrow (er... today), casting on and on and on, and having a go at that double needle trick too. Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving.


ronhuber's picture

No one ever comments on sloppy cast ons once the article has been washed and blocked. They are a lot like ladders in socks. They disappear after that first washing and stretching. This applies, of course, to natural yarns.

YugiDean's picture

I use the long-tail cast on as well, only I don't wrap the needle to find out how long of a tail I need, I just guesstimate. LOL I don't have time to do all that wrapping...but sometimes I have to make time to re-cast on when I run out of yarn. LMAO

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gardenguy42's picture

I use different cast-ons for different projects and effects. I really like the cable cast-on for ribbing -- it makes the border and first row of stitches look so much nicer and it is more elastic. I use long tail cast-on for hats, socks, mittens, etc. because I like the firm edge when knitting in the round. For pretty much everything else I use the knit cast-on. I experiment occasionally with other techniques but these three are my tried-and-true, never fail favorites.

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zephyr's picture

I am far from an expert, having completed only a few projects, but so far, my preferred method of casting on has been the cable cast on. It makes a neat edge, don't need to worry about how much of a tail to leave, and I've had no trouble with loose stitches. Just my two cents worth.

NeoYankee's picture

Also a long-tail devotee here - although when my mother taught it to me at the advanced age of 8, I needed to put an upright needle between my knees and use 2 hands to do the "over and under" thing. I actually only learned the one-handed version last year by watching the video (hanging head in shame).

BuduR's picture

shame shame shame on you! whippings will commence when I have sufficiently recouped after the holiday, so around July or so!

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

MMario's picture

I tend to use the cable cast -on or the knit cast on; with a very occasional use of the backwards-e/reverse loop. I'll admit I don't *know* any others - and my attempts at long tail cast on so far have not resulted in anything other then tangles of yarn - so I'll stick with the ones I know.

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Am I the only one who holds the needle in the right hand, wraps the yarn round the thumb of the left hand and knits the yarn off the thumb? Gives a nice even edge and you can get the exact tension you want. Maybe this has a name and I don't know it.

Hmmm....that sounds like long-tail to me...

As far as COs go, I alternate between long-tail and knit-on (I forgot that I liked Cable, I'll have to try that one again!) I have pretty tight tension, and I have many projects that look all bunchy on the end. I've found that if you cast on with a needle a couple of sizes larger than your project, it leaves a comfortably loose edge! You can do this by casting onto both needles, but to me that edge looks too big. MAybe I'm crazy, but two 7s held together would make a looser edge than one 10, right? Plus, it's not as aggrivating as trying to hold onto two needles at once.

Btw, my cast-on choice depends on what I'm making...if I'm casting on a whole slew of stitches, I do long-tail (or "slingshot", as I like to think of it).

And finally, welcome to the group! Everyone is totally awesome, and a fantastic resource!

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VillageKnittiot's picture

If I need a cast on with a little bit of 'give' I use Cable Cast On or German Cast On for even more stretch. For neat and tidy edges (to match the Cast Off edge a crocheted cast on is nice (also matches the sides if you're doing a Slip stitch edge). For speed I can't beat Long Tail (unless I don't leave myself enough tail and have to do it twice). I think you can find most cast on techniques at with videos.

scenter's picture

Just my 2 cents worth....
My standard is the long tail cast on, but I am becoming a convert to the crochet cast on...that way your cast on and bind off rows look the same, and you don't have to measure the length needed for the tail.

The technique for crochet cast on is easy - begin with a slip knot on a crochet hook, then place the working yarn (from the ball) under your knitting needle, and catch it with the crochet hook over the top. Pull the new loop through the loop already on the hook - one stitch made on the needle - repeat the yarn under, hook over until you have one less stitch than desired, and transfer the last loop from the hook to the needle, and start knitting.

PaxKnitter's picture

Just a newbie, here. So far, all I've used is Long Tail Cast On (I loved the previous reference to it being a sling-shot as that is what it has always reminded me of). I like the sound of the Cable Cast On so I'll have to give it a try.


scenter's picture

Welcome to the addiction PaxKnitter and Asbjörn!
Here's a cast on list (incomplete)

Long tail cast on masquerades under many names:
Slingshot cast on
German cast on
Continental cast on
I've even heard it called the Y-cast on

The reverse loop cast on also has several names:
e-cast on
Simple cast on

Then there is the related trio:
(1)knit cast on
(2) cable cast on
(3) purl cast on (this is the one to use if you run out of tail during a long tail cast on - it looks the closest to the long-tail)

I mentioned below the crocheted cast on

There are also:
Provisional cast ons
Figure eight cast on
Old Norweigan Cast on

To name a few. I'm sure I forgot some (or are unaware of others)
maybe someone else can fill out the list