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cast on

  • Learn to Knit Lesson 1: Casting On

    Lesson 1: Casting On

    Casting on, the foundation of knitting.  For beginner knitters, we recommend learning the knitting cast-on first, it's simple and leaves an edge that stretches well. After you learn this method, there are many more to choose from!

    Popular methods include:

    1. Single-stitch cast-on
    2. Long-tail cast-on
    3. Cable cast-on
    4. Double-knitted cast-on
    5. Crochet edge cast-on

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  • How to Knit the Turkish Cast-On

    Turkish cast-on is a great method for creating seamless, even toe-up socks. It’s also useful for making hoods, purses, toys, mittens, and gloves without seams or gaps. With this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll be on your way to making smooth, beautiful pieces in no time!


    To start, you’ll need a skein of yarn and two circular needles of the same size. I used Wool-Ease® in Forest Green Heather and size US 9 needles. The length of the circulars is not important for the sake of learning, but shorter is easier to manage, so both of mine were 16 inches. My needles are made from different materials to make it easier to tell them apart here, but this is not necessary. If you get a vastly different gauge with different types of needles, it would be best to use two of the same kind so your garment is even.


    Hold the needles parallel, with the points toward the right. Needle A will be on top, and needle B is on the bottom, as pictured. Make a slipknot and place it on needle B.


    You will be wrapping the yarn around the back of both needles, and down over the front. You will do this half as many times as the number of stitches you need. In this case, to get 20 total stitches, I wrapped the yarn 10 times.


    Next, pull needle B so that the stitches are on the cable part of the needle, letting the tips hang. You will be working the stitches on needle A first.


    Making sure the working yarn is being brought up from behind, knit across needle A.


    Turn the work so needle B is on top, then slide the stitches onto the left tip of needle B. At the same time, pull needle A until the stitches are on the cable and let it hang. Slide the slipknot off of needle B.


    Knit across needle B.


    Continue working in the round in this manner, sliding the needles with each turn of the work. After several rounds, you should begin to see the shape of the piece emerge. This would be the toe of a sock, the tip of a mitten, or the bottom of a bag.


    Turkish cast-on can also be worked back and forth to make hoods for sweaters. To do this, you will begin as before, but instead of working in the round, when you reach the end of needle B, you will turn and purl back.


    This creates the perfect seamless hood shape, closed in the back and open in the front.

    While this method of casting on may seem complicated at first glance, it is actually quite easy once you get the hang of it. If you prefer not to use two circulars for your entire project, you can switch to different needles, like DPNs or a single long circular for magic loop, once you have the shape established.

    That’s all there is to it! Go forth and create beautiful seamless garments.


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  • Great Beginnings: Start Your Knitting Project Off Right, Pt. 1

    Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay returns to share her expertise on starting your knitting project on the right foot. Join us tomorrow for the second half of this series or click here to check out Kj's earlier blog posts on crochet.

    "Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start." — "Do-Re-Mi" from the Sound of Music.

    When you read you begin with A-B-C. When you knit you begin with casting on. Thankfully to begin knitting, there is no need to learn every one of the huge number of cast on methods. It is wise to begin by learning one general cast on method, and forge ahead with your first few projects. After you have completed some projects about which you are deservedly proud, you may be in the mood to learn some new cast on methods.

    Videos, illustrations and written instructions for a few of the most commonly used cast on methods are available in the Lion Brand Learning Center.

    1. Knitted Cast On
    2. Backwards Loop Cast On
    3. Long-Tail Cast (see below)

    Long-Tail Cast On

    The last of these methods, long-tail cast on, is possibly the favorite method for beginners and experienced knitters alike. This method uses two strands of yarn; a long tail and the strand of working yarn connected to the ball. New stitches are made by drawing loops of the working yarn through loops from the long tail. In this way a foundation of loops and a row of stitches are formed at the same time. There are actual a number of different ways to work a long-tail cast on. The approaches differ in manner in which the strands, and needle(s) are manipulated and can produce slightly different results. The most common approach is demonstrated in this Lion Brand video:

    A long-tail cast on requires more motions than many other methods, but with a little practice it can be performed very quickly and provides a good beginning edge for almost all knitted projects.

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