8 Knitting Cast-On Methods to Start Your Next Project

When knitting, the one thing that literally begins your project is the cast-on. There are many ways to cast on depending on what you are knitting, personal preference, and the look you want to create. Here we will show you the eight popular knitting cast-on methods to master.

Try these cast-on knitting tutorials for your next project!

long tail cast on
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Long-Tail Cast-On

This popular cast-on method is used to create an even set of stretchy stitches. This is an easy cast to knit and pick up stitches from. And once you get the hang of it, it can be the fastest to cast on. You can explore more about the long-tail cast-on method here.

knit cast on
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Knit Cast-On (Or Purl Cast-On)

This cast-on is used to form a nice firm edge using a knit or purl stitch. This is a great method for a beginner knitter. Start with a slip knot then knit 1, leaving the stitch on your left needle. Then transfer the new stitch onto your left needle by slipping it knit-wise. Learn more about this cast-on method here.

cable cast on
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Cable Cast-On

A cable cast-on is used when starting projects that have a rib or cable. It’s a great loose and stretchy cast-on. Start with a slip knot and then knit into the slip knot, leaving the stitch on the left needle. Place the new stitch onto the left needle, by slipping it knit-wise. Knit into the gap between the last two stitches on left needle and place the knitted stitch onto left needle by slipping it knit-wise. Head here for pictures and video featuring the cable cast-on.

loop cast on
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Loop Cast-On

Also known as the Backwards Loop Cast-On), this can be used to start your project or to create stitches in the body of your work. It’s great for a beginning knitter as it’s easy and quick to learn. Our pictures and video will help guide you through this cast-on here.

crochet cast on
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Crochet Cast-On

For this cast-on, you’ll use a crochet hook to work to cast on. This method most resembles a bind off and can be used to make it easy to pick up stitches later on. You can use a shorter tail for the cast on and it’s great for those projects where you are using up scraps and aren’t entirely sure of how much yardage you have left. Our photos will guide you through the crochet cast-on.

tubular cast on
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Tubular Cast-On

This cast on is best for creating ribbing. In the tubular cast-on, you’ll cast on both knit and purl stitches, which sets you up for a successful ribbed edge. You’ll need a needle that’s slightly smaller than your main needle for this cast-on. You can watch the tubular cast-on in action with our photo and video tutorials.

provisional cast on
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Provisional Cast-On

If you’re knitting lace, this cast-on might come in handy. It’s used when you need live stitch after you finish your cast-on edge. You’ll need some scrap yarn and a basic crochet skills, but it’s quick and easy to master. Craftsy instructor Laura Nelkin shows you how in this video.

chinese waitress cast on
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Chinese Waitress Cast-On

While this cast-on is less common, it is helpful to have in your cast-on toolbox. With a medium amount of stretch and an equally pretty look in front and back, you’ll find plenty of project to try this on. You can find step-by-step instructions (and a bit about this cast-on’s history and name origins) in our blog post tutorial.

Would you believe there are over 40 ways to cast on and bind off? Don’t let that number overwhelm you! Each technique has its purpose, and learning a variety of cast ons will help improve your pieces. To learn even more cast-on options, join the Craftsy class 40 Ways to Cast On and Bind Off.

Knitting Stitches You Need to Know

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17 Comments

Sarah Punderson

Love the videos, great for teaching. I like that it is repeated in slow motion. I teach knitting so I would refer my students to these for reference materials. I’m not sure that I agree that the cable cast on is stretchy though.

Reply
joy

you are right Sarah – it’s not stretchy at all. the knit cast on gives a similar look to the cable cast on but is stretchier…

Reply
Sidra

My favorite so far has been the crochet hook cast on. What I have found out so far on all the cast ons that I gave tried, being left handed, is my first row of stitches are backwards & I must start knitting or purling into the back on the first row.. Has anyone else had this challenge? And how have you taken care of it

Reply
Sarah J Starkey

I never new you have to knit differently if you are left handed.

Reply
Nancy

You CROCHET left-handed if you are left handed, but do not knit lefthanded. You always work OFF the lefthand needle putting it ON to your righthand needle.

You can knit continental which uses your left hand to wrap your yarn, but don’t try to knit off your left needle. You will start running into a LOT of trouble with patterns and oddly twisted loops.

Reply
Erin S.

Wow…just had an amazing lightbulb moment! I could never figure out why my first row always looks “weird” and its because my stitches are probably backwards too. Thanks for the insight! :)

Reply
Tamara Morgan

I enjoyed learning the Norwegian cast on. I’ve forgotten now what it’s best for, but it was enjoyable to learn (complex)!

Reply
Erin

One of my favorite cast ons in the twisted german cast on! I need practice with the provisional cast on, I find it really challenging since I cannot crochet to save my life.

Reply
Nordyn Anderson

Saw a wonderful knit scarf pattern on Facebook, it fit close to neck and had button closing. A favorite for outdoor activity. I posted it thinking to safe it but when I went back to order, it was gone. Can you help me?

Reply
Shelley

Duh! Hadn’t thought about using crochet as a cast on – have only used it for provisional casting on.
Thanks!

Reply
Shirley

Using the trinity stich What size needle would I use to make a small baby blanket ? also how many should I cast on?

Reply
Maria du Toit

You had a pair of kiddies slippers on facebook yesterday, I so much would like to get the pattern, how do I go about it, please

Reply
Winnifred MacLeod

Looking for a pattern for a dog sweater for a small dog,If someone had a pattern not to hard to do would appreciate it Thanks

Reply
monaliza

Some patterns I’ve come across does not specify which way to cast-on, so how do you determine which cast-on would be best for each project? Thank you!

Reply
Helen (of Troy)

which cast on is best for what? A hard question to answer. MOST often a stretch cast on is needed so the cast on stretches as much as the knitting.. but sometimes not I like a non stretchy cast on for things like pockets, to help them keep there shape. and i like a limited stretch for a cast on for a top down sweater where the cast on is supporting the whole weight of the sweater–and can stretch out.

MY suggestion? get a book or visit my web page, or search YouTube (many of the cast ons on my web page have video links. Learn a few cast ons.. make some swatches or a sampler as you learn. LABEL the swatches (include info on were you found the cast on so you can find it again!)–YOU are the only one who can decide which cast on is best. for you, for your project. You don’t have to learn every cast on, but do try out a few. Cast ons and cast offs are nice details that you can focus on (for scarves there are 15+ cast ons that have matching bind offs…)

Reply
Helen (of Troy)

30 ways to cast on? try doubling that number! I have 60 on my list, on my web page, and i am about to add a few more!

Yes, some are variations (Long tail comes in 2 MAJOR flavors, sling shot or thumb) and many other variations–twisted, (aka Norwegian, or German) and Knit and purl, Braided, double chain (several versions!)and Sturdy, just to name a few. There are two books devoted to cast on methods (that also include bind offs, and selvages) plus my page, https://sites.google.com/site/oftroysgoldenapples/home/tutorials/cast-ons– and there are special cast ons–provisional, eyelet, (aka noose, buttonhole), color, and invisible (aka tubular/ grafted cast ons) Plus special cast ons for special techniques, (like brioche stitch or linen stitch or twice knit stitches. Not to mention cast ons in 2 or more colors!

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