To start a knitting project, the first thing you need to do is to cast on. Choosing the right cast on technique for you project can take your knitting to a whole new level. Here are some of my favorite cast on methods and the situation they applied to. (If you want to know more about cast on and bind off, I highly recommend this book. Cast On, Bind Off by Cape Sease It’s a perfect reference book to look up the cast on and bind off technique for your knitting project. )

1.Cable Cast on


This is always the cast on method I use for obtain knitting gauge. It’s quick and easy to do and creat a firm and neat edge. It works on any number of stitches.
The right side:
tail at the left side of work
Good for:
adding stitches at the end of row
adding stitches at the mid of row
start with garter stitch hem
How to:
1. make a slip knot, leave the tail (long enough to use for sewing the side seam, or short if no sewn needed), place it on the left-hand needle
2. knit into the slip knot, pull the new stitch through and slip back to the left-hand needle knitwise
3. insert the needle between previous 2 stitches and knit, pull the new stitch through and slip back to the left-hand needle knitwise
4. repeat step 3 and continue casting on for the desired number of stitches
5. before slip back the last stitch pass the yarn to the front between the last 2 stitches

2.Long Tail Cast On

This is the very first cast on method I learned when I was a new knitter. It’s easy to learn and fits many types of knitting situation. It works on any number of stitches.
The right side:
tail at the right side of work
Good for:
most of the knitting project
How to:
1. measure out the tail of yarn (for cast on and for sewing the seam). place it on the needle (use 2 needle or larger needle to easier work into the first row)
2. create a slingshot with tail over thumb and working yarn over index finger
3. insert the needle tip under and into the loop on the thumb
4. go over the yarn on index finger and bring that yarn through the thumb loop
5. drop the yarn over thumb and gently tighten the loop on the needle
6. repeat step 3-5 and continue casting on for the desired number of stitches

3. Backward Loop Cast On

This is an easy to learn cast on, but it does not hold up well. It works on any number of stitches.
The right side:
tail at the left side of work
Good for:
adding stitches at the end of row
adding stitches at the mid of row (underarm of a top-down sweater)
How to:
1. make a slip knot, leave the tail (long enough to use for sewing the side seam, or short if no sewn needed), place it on the needle (or make a slip knot)
2. position the working yarn so that it comes from the needle outside and around your finger (I’m using index finger. using any finger works for your)
3. insert the needle tip under and into the loop
4. drop the yarn off and gently tighten the loop on the needle
5. repeat step 3-4 and continue casting on for the desired number of stitches
Note: The loops between stitches is sloppy. So if using this method in the middle of the row, create fewer stitches than desired number of stitches. Then when you knit back to these stitches, make stitches evenly in between the backward loop cast on edge. This could make the edge neater.

4. Tubular Cast on

This cast on method create a stretchy edge and the edge looks rolled over. I suggest using smaller needle size for the ribbing to creat a neat edge. It’s not easy to work on the circular needle. To make it easier, work on the straight needle, and keep stitches from twisting.
The right side:
either side could be the right side, depending on the knitting situation
Good for:
K1, P1 or K2, P2 ribbing
hats, gloves, mittens, socks, cuffs or others needs for a stretchy edge.
How to:  (I use the knotted edge, so the 1st and last stitch will always be knit)
1. measure out the tail of yarn (for cast on and for sewing the seam).
2. create a slingshot with tail over thumb and working yarn over index finger
3. insert the needle to twist into the first stitch (watch video for detail, or make a slip knot)
4. bring the needle tip around the tail (over the thumb) under from outside to inside, then over the top of the working yarn (over the index finger)
5. wrap both strands above the needle from inside to outside (for left-handed, clockwise if see from the needle tip: for right-handed, counterclockwise if see from the needle tip)
6. bring the needle tip around the working yarn (over the index finger) under from outside to inside, then over the top of the tail (over the thumb)
7. wrap both strands  above the needle from outside to inside (for left-handed, counterclockwise if see from the needle tip: for right-handed, clockwise if see from the needle tip)
8. repeat step 4-7 and continue casting on for the desired number of stitches
9. hold the tail and working yarn (or make a knot to make it easier)
10. *knit 1 through the back loop, yarn over, slip 1 stitch purlwise, yarn back, repeat from * to the last stitch, knit 1 through the back loop
11. turn the work, *knit 1, yarn over, slip 1 stitch purlwise, yarn back, repeat from * to the last stitch, knit
12-13. turn the work and repeat step 11 (these 2 steps to make the edge look thicker, not recommend for the heavy weight yarn, but for light weight yarn, like lace or fingering, it works great)
a. 1×1 rib (cast on odd number of stitches)
14a. knit 1, purl 1, to the last stitch, knit 1(this will be the right side if side seam is no sewn needed, and change the edge stitch as needed)
15b. knit 2, *purl 1, knit 1, repeat from * to the last stitch, knit 1(this will be the right side if side seam need to be sewn)
b. 2×2 rib (cast on multipal of 4 +2 stitches)
14b. *knit 1, slip next stitch onto stitch holder and hold at back of work and knit the next stitch on left-hand needle, purl the stitch from stitch holder, purl 1, repeat from * to the last stitch, knit 1 (this will be the right side of work and 1st row of pattern)
15b. knit 1, purl 1, *knit 2, purl 2, repeat from * to the last stitch, knit 1

c. alternating 2×2 rib (cast on multiple of 4 stitches)(this is great for cardigan. since when making the button band, the 1st stitch of rib will be invisable. the left stitches will still be 2×2, which is coordinate with all the edge of sweater)
14c. knit 1, *purl 1, slip next stitch onto stitch holder and hold at the front of work and purl the next stitch on left-hand needle, knit the stitch from stitch holder, knit 1, repeat from * to the last stitch, knit 1
15c. knit 1, *knit 2, purl 2, repeat from *to the last stitch, knit 1(this will be the right side of work and 1st row of pattern)

5. Alternating Chinese Waitress Cast On

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On is from Cap Sease’s book Cast On, Bind Off: 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting. The cast-on has this unique name because a Beijing restaurant waitress showed the author’s friend how to do it. I’m from China. But my way is a little bit different from the original Chinese Waitress Cast On. So I call it Alternating Chinese Waitress Cast On. The cast on method create a reversible double chain on both side. It’s more decorative than the long tail cast on. It works on any number of stitches.
The right side:
either side could be the right side, depending on the knitting situation
Good for:
most of the knitting project
two-sided project, like scarves, blankets
How to: (you’ll need 2 knitting needles or 1 knitting needle with 1 crochet hook)
1. make a slip knot, leave the tail (long enough to use for sewing the side seam, or short if no sewn needed), place it on the left-hand needle
2. (I’m using crochet hook method. It’s much easier for me to pull out the yarn) use the crochet hook knit into the slip knot, pull the new stitch through (don’t slip the new stitch back like the cable cast on)
3. place the crochet hook under the left hand needle and make a X with the knitting needle
4. wrap the working yarn around the knitting needle and crochet hook, then around the crochet hook
5. pull the loop of yarn on the crochet hook through
6. repeat step 3-5 and continue casting on for the desired number of stitches
7. for the last stitch simply slip the loop on the crochet hook back to the knitting needle tip to tip

These are the basic casting on methods for most of my pattern. Updates will be made when new methods are introduced in my projects.

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