Introduction: How to Cast On

There are some things I constantly find myself going back to my knitting books for a refresher on, and casting on is one of them. I’ve built it into my muscle memory now, but for years I’d need to consult some reference or another to remind me how to start every new project.

If you’re anything like me, you can use a reminder on occasion about even some of the most basic knitting techniques. If so, I hope you find this little tutorial helpful. It also might be useful for any beginners out there who are trying to tease out the meat from the illustrations in knitting books that often don’t speak very well from themselves.

There are, of course, many different ways to cast on, but once I learned this one, I never bothered to learn another. Anyway, here’s how I do it.

Step 1: Start the Slipknot

To begin the slipknot that will become the first cast-on stitch, make a loop with the yarn, leaving about an inch of tail for each stitch you plan to cast on (in this example, we’ll use 10+ inches for 10 stitches) and a few extra inches, just to be safe.

Step 2: Finish the Slipknot

Loop a section of the tail and pull it through your first loop. The slipknot formed by second loop will be your first stitch, while the first loop will provide the tension.

Step 3: Finish First Stitch

Insert the needle through the slipknot and pull it tight. You’ve cast on your first stitch.

Step 4: Start Second Stitch

Hold the needle in your right hand, with the knot of the first stitch facing away from you. Loop the tail around your left thumb (as shown here), and insert your needle into the front of the loop.

Step 5: Knit Second Stitch

Wrap the skein-side yarn around the tip of your needle, just as you do when knitting.

Step 6: Finish Second Stitch

Fold the loop in your left hand over the tip of the needle and pull taut. You’ve just cast on your second stitch and are ready to do the rest just like this one.

Step 7: Finish Up

Once you’re done casting on, your 10 stitches should look like this.

And that’s basically it. Works every time.