Sunday, April 21, 2013

How to Cast On Using the Long Tail Method

Back to Basics :: Day Three

Getting down to the real (k)nitty-gritty basics of knitting, here are instructions for the long tail cast on. I love this cast on method because it is a never-fail method that can be done very quickly with practice. For new knitters, the motions might seem a bit awkward at first or you may not leave enough of a tail to work with, but just practice-- it will get better (I promise!) This is my favorite go-to for casting on.

Ok, you caught me, I'm using the super cheap
Red Heart yarn... so what?!

Step 1: Make a slip knot.
(Yep, that Girl Scout badge on knot tying is
finally coming in handy!)

NOTE: When creating the slip knot, leave enough yarn at the tail end to use for casting on. An easy way to estimate this is to wrap the tail around your needle 1.5x the number of stitches you need to cast on.

Step 2: Slip the knot onto your needle, pulling to secure it
 (should be tight so there aren't any gaps, but not so
tight that it can't move along the needle).

Step 3: Grab the tail end (end not attached to ball of yarn)
with left hand and wrap around thumb and pointer finger,
holding tail in palm of hand.

Step 4: Lower left hand and angle fingers toward the floor,
swinging needle in right hand under loop in left hand (see arrow.)
So it looks like this...

Step 5: Still keeping left fingers around original loop, grab
working yarn (attached to ball) and wrap clockwise
around needle, passing over original loop.

Step 6: Slide left fingers out of loop and slip the original loop up and
over the needle (and over the new wrap you did in step 5).

Step 7: Pull on tail of yarn until the loop is secured around the needle.
Again, there shouldn't be any gaps around the loop and needle, but the casted
 on stitches should be able to easily move on needle. Repeat these 7 steps
until your desired number of stitches

This method for casting on is widely accepted and used, and I use it for all my projects unless otherwise instructed. Enjoy!


  1. This is such a great idea for a blog series, Margaret. I really want to learn to knit and I think you're doing a great job simplifying the basic steps.

    1. Thank you :) When I first starting knitting I had to look through tons of videos and websites to find exact definitions/examples of knitting techniques and I remember being soo frustrated when I couldn't find clear examples. I hope making a list and explaining basic concepts here will help future knitters! Let me know how your knitting comes!


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