Casting On Troubles

I'm very new to knitting and am still having my fair share of issues. I have a hard time casting on and then knitting the first row. Mainly, I think it's a function of the "death grip" that people have talked about in other forums. But, I'm also wondering if there's better ways to cast on or different ones for different situations. I'm especially having trouble getting the right needle into those first cast on stitches.

The casting-on that I've used involved tying a slip-knot onto the left needle, then inserting the right needle through it (like knitting), wrapping the yarn around the right needle (like knitting), and then pulling the loop through and slipping back onto the left needle. My issue with that is knowing which way the loop should go onto the left.

Another cast-on involved the same slip-knot, but then kind of looping the yarn stitch-by-stitch with the left hand while loading it onto the needle. This is the CO I have the greatest problem with... I may be making the stitches too tight again...

Any thoughts?

drmel94's picture

The quick and easy answer is don't do the backward loop cast on. The tightness is always an issue with this type of cast on. If you make it loose enough to actually fit the other needle into the loop, then the edge of your knitting will generally look loose and sloppy.

Knitting Help is a really good online resource that has both still photos and video that could help. Their cast on page is here. Getting yourself a good basic book on techniques would be really worth it, too.

Even when your skills improve, you can go back to a good book again and again for tips and help. Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Without Tears, Katharina Buss's Big Book of Knitting, and Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book are all well-regarded basic technique books. I own the first two and my partner owns the last one. The first two are each under $20, too, so they can fit into most budgets.

Hope that helps.

"Hatred does not end by hatred; hatred ends by love. This is the eternal law." - Buddha

jrrenola's picture

I tried starting this time with the Long Tail Cast On and things have gone incredibly well! I had no trouble knitting from it and the stitches and rows themselves have been much much more uniform.


drmel94's picture

The long tail is my tried & true cast on. It's particularly nice because it's so elastic, though there are some situations (e.g., casting on for lace) where you have to be even more elastic, in which case a knit or cable cast on with larger needles may be preferable. I just take care not to tighten up the loop at the base of each stitch too much and don't generally have any issues.

"Hatred does not end by hatred; hatred ends by love. This is the eternal law." - Buddha

Same here. The double cast-on was the first one I ever learned, and I use it more or less exclusively. It's easy, gives you a nice, even, stretchy edge, and it's *fast*.

ScoobySnacks's picture

Hey bud...

I just learned a great little casting on tip a couple of days ago that I found very helpfull. I always have a hard time knitting into my first cast on row as well..but try this.....

When casting on hold two needles together as if they were one needle and cast on to both of them...once you have cast on the correct number of stiches slide one of the needles out of the stiches and start knitting off of the one needle that still has stiches on it...You can cast on as tight as you want and you can still easily knit that first row of stiches....I just tried this a couple of days ago and was amazed by how easy that first row of stiches was to knit...Yippie!

Hope this helps... - Dan -

MMario's picture

I like the knit-on cast-on myself; the first stitch on the next row is sometimes a bit hard to get into but after that it's usually just like my normal knitting.

When you slip the stitch back to the left needle you want to slip it without changing the way it lies on the needle - if you twist it it will tighten up on you.

MMario - I don't live in the 21st Century - but I sometimes play a character who does.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Owen's picture

I made it a point of the last time I had a chance to knit with my grandmother (who knitted all her life, also taught me most of what I know about fiberarts...) to learn as many cast on methods as possible... the long tail is the one I use just about every time... It's easy, lose when you want it, tight if you need it to be (I usually don't like much of anything tight, at least with yarn that is.) and it's just I find the best. Not that I knit all that much these days, got a few pounds of flax I'm spinning at the moment.

Hi, I'm new. :) I have a hard time casting on to and sometimes with the first row of knitting. My mother does that for me but I will have to learn one day. All of your comments here have been very helpful, I will try the methods you have mentioned and thank you to the original poster for raising the point. ;)

Kind Regards,
Zarrion Walker

Kind Regards,
Zarrion Walker