Knitting Blog

Learn the Crochet Cast-On for Quick, Neat Edges

There are dozens of knitting cast-ons to try. Most of us have a favorite (for me it’s the long-tail) that we use for practically everything. There are some situations, though, when it’s beneficial to have a couple of other cast-ons under your belt, like the crochet cast-on.

One cast-on that’s quick and painless is the crochet cast-on.

If you’re a crocheter and a knitter, you’ll find this cast-on to be a piece of cake. If you’ve never crocheted, though, don’t worry. You don’t need serious crochet skills to master this method.

Crochet cast-on tutorial

When to use the crochet cast-on

When you want the cast-on edge to match the bind-off edge

The crochet cast on creates a nice, neat braid that looks exactly like your bind-off edge. This is perfect for times when you want all the edges to look the same, like when you’re knitting something such as a washcloth or when you just want a really neat-looking edge.

Braided edge of a crochet cast-on

The neat, braided edge of a crochet cast-on.

When you have lots of stitches to cast on

Do you quickly lose count when you’re casting on a large number of stitches? The crochet cast-on is quick, so it’s easier to count.

When you need a provisional cast-on

The crochet cast on works just like a provisional cast-on, which is a temporary cast-on. If you’re using the crochet cast-on as a provisional one, be sure to follow the optional step at the end of the tutorial to chain a few extra stitches.

Crochet cast-on tutorial

What you’ll need:

  • A crochet hook that matches your yarn weight (check the label if you’re not sure what size to use)
  • One knitting needle (the same needle you’re going to use for your project)
  • Yarn

Note: If you’re using this cast-on as a provisional cast-on that will be removed later, you can use scrap yarn. Just try to use scraps that are a similar weight to the yarn you’re using in your project.

Step 1:

Crochet cast-on

Tie a slip knot onto the crochet hook, leaving a yarn tail just long enough to weave in later. Hold the crochet hook in your dominant hand. (For me, that’s my right hand.)

Step 2:

Crochet cast-on Step 1

Hold the knitting needle in your non-dominant hand. (For me, that’s my left hand.) Place the knitting needle on top of the working yarn.

Step 3:

Crochet cast on Step 2

Wrap the working yarn over the hook, above the knitting needle.

As you’re wrapping the yarn for the first cast-on stitch, you might want to hold onto the yarn tail, too, or just give it a little tug after you make the first stitch. This ensures the tension is even.

Step 4:

Crochet cast on Step 4

Pull the working yarn through the loop that’s already on the hook (from your slip knot). This is your first cast-on stitch.

Step 5:

Crochet cast on Step 5

Move the working yarn to the back, again placing the knitting needle on top of the working yarn.

Step 6:

Crochet cast on Step 6

Repeat steps 3-5 until you have cast on the number of stitches called for, minus 1 stitch. So for example, if your pattern asks you to cast on 38 stitches, continue repeating steps 3-5 until you have 37 stitches.

Step 7:

Crochet cast on provisional

Now let’s cast on that final stitch. You’ll notice that you still have a loop around your crochet hook. That’s your last cast-on stitch — just pull it up and slide it onto your knitting needle.

After you add the final stitch, you can put the crochet hook aside and start knitting.

Crochet cast on

Optional: The provisional crochet cast-on

If you’re working the crochet cast-on as a provisional cast-on, skip Step 7 and instead chain stitch a couple of extra stitches. (If you’re not sure how to chain stitch, check out our free beginner crochet guide that includes a chain stitch tutorial.) Cut the yarn, then draw the tail through the final chain stitch. 

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4 Comments

Sewandknit2

I learned the crochet cast-on in Caddy Melville Ledbetter’s class, Learn to Knit: Essential Skills for Beginners. The cast-on felt a bit awkward to do the first 2 times, but I continued to practice it with various cowl patterns and now it’s my favorite cast-on. I like that I don’t need a long tail to do it and it looks polished. So worth my time to learn.

Reply
Louise

I have my own go-to cast-ons, but I seem to see this one referred to everywhere. These are the best photos I’ve seen, and I value the recommendations for options and uses. Thanks!

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Sharon Higgins

I am really learning a lot of new techniques from various places, such as Craftsy and elsewhere. I never knew about this cast-on. Just goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks. 🐩

Reply
Carolyn

Is this what is also called the cable cast on or is it a different one? Photos would be a blessing to have had…maybe they could be added to support the descriptions…Thanks!

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