Cheating on Casting On

September 12, 2012

Us, the “Phenomenal Knitters” circle, meet on weekly basis. It is a cozy, friendly and fun knitting group. We have a bite to eat, show off our new or finished projects and of course at times; we knit together. In our recent circle; we had a little chat about casting on large number of stitches.

One of the members was starting a new project and she had to cast on a considerable number of stitches. Being of a human nature, she of course was dreading it. I suggested a technique that met with her approval. I thought it was a pretty well known technique; but there are so many knitting techniques out there that none of us could possibly be familiar with every single one. With that in mind, I wanted to share this cast on method. It would be very useful for projects calling for large number of cast-on stitches. If not already in your “Knitting Techniques” repertoire; it is definitely worth adding on.

The Technique:


  • It takes half as long to cast on required number of stitches and also reduces tension on the wrist and fingers.
  • It minimizes the counting and re-counting of stitches.
  • Better tension- I do think the cast on edge is more even using this method when a project involves a large number of stitches to cast on.

As a general practice and for most projects; I use the “long tail” method of casting on. To prevent a tight cast-on edge; I always use two (preferably straight) needles with one of them being the project’s needle and the other 1 to 2 sizes larger. I then proceed to cast on holding both needles together. Once I have required number of stitches; I remove (pull out) the larger needle. This way you would be assured to have a neat cast-on edge.

Remember, when using the “long tail” cast on and dividing the yarn/s length/s between the thumb and index finger; shorter length of yarn/s is/are necessary for the section which wraps around the thumb. I find that leaving about 20% less length for the thumb-section does the job well and avoids wasting yarn.

You can use this technique for various cast-on methods. Steps below are given for the “long tail” cast on.

The Steps:

     1. Use 2 balls of working yarn. Alternatively, cut a length of working yarn sufficient for casting on the required number of stitches.
     2. Divide the number of cast-on stitches in half.  For example; if the pattern calls for 220 stitches to start with; you would only need to cast-on 110 stitches. For odd number of stitches; cast on the last stitch using one strand of yarn.
     3. Hold the 2 strands of yarn together and start casting on. Each cast-on loop would yield 2 working stitches.

     4. Once you have reached the required number of stitches; cut one of the strands while leaving 4-6 inches tail. At this point; you would have 3 tail ends.

     5. Continue following your pattern and weave in the tail ends.

© 2012, livingamused. All rights reserved.

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