Finding the right cast on

A visitor to the UK Hand Knitting stand at a recent craft show asked what the best cast on to use is.

This is something that instantly starts a lot of debate because there are so many ways to start knitting, and many of us have a favourite cast on we will usually choose. And some knitters get better results from one approach and others from another.

So the answer to our visitor’s question is probably: “One that you get consistent results from and which gives you an edge you like.”

However, it is useful to know about more than one cast on, so with this in mind here is a quick look at some common types.

Knit on cast on


knitted cast on

This is a cast on that you may have been introduced to when you were learning to knit because it uses the same actions as the knit stitch up to the last step, which means a very new knitter has less to get to grips with.

It is a very quick cast on but it can be a little loose, as above where the bottom of the swatch flares a little. This means it can be useful for starting projects where you need some extra give such as a shawl.

Cable cast on

cable cast on knitting

In the cable cast on, stitches are created by inserting the right hand needle behind the last stitch on the left hand one. It gives a firmer edge than the knitted on version and is quite elastic, making it a good choice for lots of projects, especially if you like the look of the edging.

Long-tail cast-on

long tal cast on knitting

When you see the long tail cast on being worked for the first time, it can look quite complicated and you will come across variations of the technique. But it is worth trying out. It gives a very good edge for ribbing in particular and is very useful for socks for example

If you only use one type of cast on at the moment, why not click on the headings above to learn a new one. Until you are confident using it on a full project, you could practice by casting on tension squares and see how your new cast on behaves in different yarns.

Once you have mastered a few different cast ons, you can try some of the more unusual and decorative versions. For example the one pictured below uses four strands of yarn.

cast on 4

What cast on do you prefer? Tell us below



1 thought on “Finding the right cast on”

  1. For anything needing a stretchy edge I prefer long tail. I find cable too tight, and keep it for occasions where I need something more rigid. If I need a provisional cast on, I use the crochet method, creating the chain round the needle rather than picking up stitches afterwards.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s