Knitting Cast On Methods

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In this post, you will see different knitting cast-on methods.

There are many different ways of casting on, and creating loops of yarn on the needle that you can start to work with.

We will look at the most common methods of casting on, so you can see what they all mean!

Knitting cast on methods

Learn A Knitting Cast On Method

All knitting starts with casting on.

  • This creates loops on the needle which will become the first row of stitches.
  • There are many different cast-on methods and in the video in this post, I show you the thumb cast-on method.
  • As with other cast-on methods, you need just one needle to cast on with the thumb method.
  • Learning to cast on is often the first step to learn for beginner knitters Learn how to knit.
  • It is simply putting the yarn and the stitch onto the knitting needle until your reach the desired amount of stitches.
knitting cast on methods

1. The Long Tail Cast On

This is a really popular way of casting on with knitters.

It is an easy method to learn and a fast way of getting the stitches onto the needle.

This is a method that can be used in any project and the way that it is done, means that the bumps created by the casting on can be used as a first row in knitting.

You can see a step-by-step tutorial for the longtail cast on here.

You can also see the longtail cast on method – Slingshot here.

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2. The Knit Cast On

This is another good choice for beginners, as it can teach you how to do the knit stitch while you cast on.

It is a good cast on for many types of projects and is quite stretchy.

Learn how to cast on and learn a new stitch at the same time!

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

3. Cast On Thumb Method

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

The thumb method is really easy for beginners.

Once you practice and learn how to do this, it is the fastest cast-on method.

From a strand of yarn, you create a slip knot, place it onto your right needle (this counts as the first stitch), then create loops (live stitches) from your working yarn on that needle, by using your thumb and index finger.

View a step-by-step photograph and video tutorial here – How To Cast On Knitting.

You can also view more tutorials here – Knitting Lessons.

wrap the yarn around the thumb

4. The Wrap Cast On

This is also an easy way to cast on your stitches if you are a new knitter.

It is quick and easy to do and is a stretchy cast-on, great for sweaters and socks. 

You can also use it for a knitting project where you do not want the cast on edge to stand out from the knitting.

This is a fun knitting technique to learn.

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

5. The Cable Cast On

The cable cast-on method is used for hats and sweaters.

It has a firm edge and is not as stretchy as other methods.

You need to keep your stitches loose, keeping an eye on your tension, because if the stitches get too tight, you will struggle to cast on the stitches.

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

6. Provisional Cast On

The provisional cast-on method is a good way to add stitches that you will want to work into again. 

To start with you need to complete a little bit of crochet, and work into it with knitting.

When you have the desired number of stitches you want, you can pull out the crochet chain.

You will be left with your knitting stitches and can start working on your next row.

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

7. Stretchy Cast On

The stretchy cast-on method is also known as the German twist cast-on or the Old Norwegian cast-on.

This starts in a similar way to the long tail cast-on method.

This is a great cast-on choice for socks, as it has an extra twist that creates a stretchy edge.

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

8. Backward Loop Cast On

The backward loop cast-on method is not a general cast-on method for beginners but one that is perfect for casting on stitches in the middle of a row.

For example, on the underarm of a top-down sweater or for a mitten thumb.

This a great method to try if you are interested in learning new techniques.

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

9. Picot Cast on

Learn how to master the picot cast on edge with this tutorial from Nimble Needles.

A great way to start and possibly end a project with a decorative edge.

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

picot cast on
Image from Nimble Needles

10. Tubular Cast on

The tubular cast on method is known for giving extra stretch to projects like cuffs and hats.

A ribbed hat for example would benefit from a stretchy tubular cast on that can stretch with the ribbing.

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

11. German Cast on

The German cast-on, which is sometimes also called the old Norwegian cast-on, is based on the longtail method but is a little different because it brings an extra twist and therefore more elasticity to your edge.

This is perfect if you wish to create some extra stretch in the ribbing of socks, gloves, or hats or if you are knitting with yarns that do not come with a lot of natural stretchiness, such as cotton or linen. 

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

12. Chinese Waitress Cast on

This cast-on method is for the more intermediate knitter as it makes a pretty decorative edge that is double-sided.

You can use this method for projects like scarves, but not for anything that needs to be super stretchy.

This method can also be completed using a crochet hook and a knitting needle.

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

13. Pinhole Cast on

The pinhole cast-on is a technique used to cast on stitches to start a project that is knit in the round starting from the center.

Stitches are cast on around a loop of yarn, and then that loop is pulled tight.

These stitches can then be worked in the round.

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

14. Turkish Cast on

The Turkish cast-on is a way to cast on in an invisible way for patterns to be worked in the round.

This is ideal for projects like toe-up socks.

It can be used for anything that requires knitting in the round and a neat, seamless start.

You will use both the right hand and left hand needles.

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

15. Judy’s Magic Cast On

This is another cast-on method that is used when starting to knit toe-up socks.

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

Knitting cast on methods

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4 Comments

  1. Hi! Wonderful stuff well written – thank you! I have a side question: where did you find/what are the brands and names of the balls of speckled yarns you used in the front page image (the ones under the words, “…cast on and more,” and above the “HandyLittleMe.com-url”? Thanks!

    1. Hello Becky,
      This is a stock photo that I purchased, it is not a photo of yarn from my own stash.
      So I don’t know the brand.
      Sorry about that!
      Louise

  2. I find your Knitting patterns very interesting. I love the blanket shown have you the wool similar to that blanket I wanted to buy please let me know in text I am disabled deaf I do alot of knitting and a few simple crochets.

    1. Hello Joyce,
      Thank you for your kind words.
      Sorry I don’t sell any wool or other yarn, only the knitting patterns and crochet patterns.
      Thanks,
      Louise