Learn the Cable Cast On, Step-by-Step

The cable cast on is a great all-purpose way to begin many knitting projects. It’s tidy, simple to work and is similar enough to the knit stitch that it’s easy to remember. It’s also nice and stable for knitting your first row, and won’t leave you with weird gaps in your cast on edge. I’ve put together a comprehensive photo tutorial that will get you right on your way with a new knitting project! Learning the cable cast on [box type=”shadow”] You can explore two quick and easy ways to cast on in this blog tutorial. But, if you’re looking for even more in depth instruction, then sign up for 40 Ways to Cast On & Bind OffAurora Sisneros’ Bluprint class, where you’ll learn cast ons (and bind offs) throughout HD video lessons! [/box]

The slipknot

How to make a slipknot

All photos via Laura Chau

A slipknot is a type of knot that can be tightened or loosened easily, and it’s used to begin many types of cast ons.

  • To begin, make a loop about 6″from the end of the yarn, with the short end crossing over the ball end (1).
  • Insert your thumb and index finger into this loop and grab the short end of the yarn (2).
  • Bring the short end halfway through the loop (3 and 4) — not all the way through or you’ll just be making a knot!
  • Once you’ve got your loop, grab the two ends of the yarn and pull gently to tighten the loop (5 and 6). Place the loop on your needle and snug it up until it won’t fall off (7 and 8), but not so tightly that you can’t insert your other needle into the slipknot.

This slipknot counts as the first stitch of your cast-on.

The second stitch

Learning the cast on stitch The second stitch is worked a little differently than the rest of the cast-on stitches.

  • Insert your right needle tip through the slipknot from front to back, as if you were knitting (1).
  • Grab your working yarn (2) — make sure you’re not using the short tail end!
  • Wrap the yarn counter-clockwise around the back needle, from under to over the needle, again as if you were knitting (3).
  • Here’s the tricky part! Bring the right needle down (towards you) and bring this new stitch through the slipknot (4 and 5).
  • Pull on the right needle to elongate this new stitch a little bit (6).
  • Then place it on the left needle (7) — the loop should be placed straight on, not twisted.
  • Gently pull on your working yarn to snug up the second stitch (8), but again, not too tightly!

The remaining stitches

The remaining stitches Once you’ve got your slipknot and second stitch, all remaining cast on stitches are worked the same. Getting a consistent tension across all your cast-on stitches is a bit tricky, and comes with practice, but here’s a tip – insert your right needle tip between the two stitches, then pull on your working yarn to snug up the second stitch. This will ensure that the space between each stitch is the same, and keeps you from having to really jam the needle in there!

  • You’ll always insert your right needle tip between the two stitches closest to the tip of the left needle (10).
  • Wrap the yarn counter-clockwise around the back needle, from under to over the needle, again as if you were knitting (11).
  • Bring your right needle down (towards you) and under the left needle from back to front, bringing the new stitch with you (12 and 13)
  • Pull on the right needle to elongate this new stitch a little bit (14)
  • Then place it on the left needle (15).
  • Snug up the stitch a bit, but leave enough room to insert your needle between the stitches (16).

Repeat from step 10 until you have all your stitches cast on. The cable cast on Congratulations! You’ve created a beautiful cable cast on, and you’re ready to keep on knitting.

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