How To Cast On Knitting


In this post, you will learn how to cast on knitting for total beginners (step by step).

The first step for a new knitter is to master casting on. 

Whether you are making a dishcloth, a scarf, a sweater, or a pair of socks.

For all knitting projects, no matter if you are using a simple knit stitch or a complicated cable stitch the first step in your pattern will be casting on your stitches. 

How to cast on knitting for total beginners

The Thumb Cast-On Method

There are many different cast on methods, and one of the easiest for beginners to learn is the cast-on thumb method.

Other ways you can cast on are the tail end, the single cast-on, the cable cast-on, the longtail cast-on, the knitted cast-on, etc. 

To learn more about the various ways you can cast on, including the knitted cast-on, and cable cast-on, visit this post here – Knitting Cast On Methods.

To see more tutorials like how to purl stitches and how to rib please visit the knitting course here – Knitting Lessons.

You can also see my video guide on basic knitting stitch patterns here.

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casting on more stitches

How To Cast On KnittingInstructions

This is a variation of the long-tail cast-on method.

The thumb method is the easiest way for beginners (I have a video tutorial you can see in this post for how to do this).

Once you practice and learn how to do this, it is a very quick way of casting on stitches.

This could be seen as the fastest cast-on method out there.

You can see a step-by-step tutorial below.

Learn how to do the thumb cast-on method

You will see a step-by-step tutorial below and a video tutorial.

You can see the video tutorial on my YouTube channel here.

How To Cast On Knitting (The Thumb Method)

  1. Making A Slipknot

    Get your ball or skein, pull out a length of yarn, and make a slipknot, leaving a long tail end of the yarn – this is important, as you need the tail to be able to cast on the stitches, the other end of the yarn (attached to the ball) is the working yarn.
    If you have a large number of stitches to cast on in your pattern, this tail end will need to be quite long.
    Make a slip knot from your strand of yarn (this creates a loop of yarn) and place it on your right-hand needle ready to start.
    Hold the right needle in your right hand, with the needle tip facing away from you.
    Wrap your thumb around the yarn with your left hand, you will use your right-hand index finger to work the yarn from the ball.
    Pass the tip of your needle through the loop on your left thumb, from the back.
    wrap the yarn around the thumb

  2. Wrap The Yarn Around Your Thumb

    Wrap the yarn that is attached to the ball and bring that around in between your thumb and the knitting needle.
    wrap the yarn around the needle

  3. Use Your Thumb To Slip the Yarn Over The Needle

    Use your thumb to slip the loop over the end of the knitting needle, leaving you with a completed cast-on loop.
    Tighten up the stitch by gently pulling on both ends of the yarn.
    And just like that, you have cast on your first stitch.
    the loops have been cast on

  4. Continue To Do This For The Next Stitch

    Continue and repeat step 3 again for the next new stitch.
    Keep the tension a little loose while you create the loop, and then you can adjust the tightness once the loop is on the needle.
    casting on more stitches

  5. Repeat And Cast On However Many Stitches You Need

    Repeat the process until you reach the required number of stitches.
    This is your cast on edge (as you can see in the photo below – those garter stitch bumps).
    The yarn tail will be at one end of that cast-on edge and the working yarn will be used to knit the live stitches on the next row, going in the opposite direction.
    Next – Start to knit the first row using the left needle.
    cast on stitches on a knitting needle

More Cast on Methods

You can see more cast-on methods here – Knitting Cast On Methods.

This includes the following…

  • How to create a stretchy edge (stretchiness is needed for some projects when you cast on).
  • A provisional cast on.
  • A tubular cast on.
  • Backwards loop cast on.
What is the easiest way to cast on in knitting?

The easiest way to cast on in knitting is to use the thumb method or the longtail cast-on method.

Why use the thumb method cast on knitting?

It’s a quick way to cast on your stitches when you want to start a new project. It has a stretchy edge that is great for most projects including hats, socks, and mittens.

What is a Cast On?

To cast on knitting is to create loops of yarn on your needle which is the start of a project. The first row of loops is known as the ‘cast on’, this is abbreviated in knitting patterns as CO. You can cast on in a few different ways, which can benefit your project – for example, a stretchy cast-on can be used for hats or gloves.

What is the best cast on knitting technique?

The most popular cast-on method for beginning a knitting project is the Long-Tail Cast-On. This is popular with beginner knitters because it is easy to master and gets loops (stitches) onto your needle pretty quickly.

Thumb cast on

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  1. Hi, just found your lovely site. I’m teaching some friends to knit this week and think this cast on will be perfect! So simple and one I never knew. I’m going ot give them the link to watch if they need some help after our session. Thanks for the geat information 🙂

    1. Hello Mary, thank you for visiting my site, I find this cast on the easiest, even though there are many different methods for casting on. I hope you have fun teaching your friends to knit! 🙂 Louise