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2 Essential Cast-On Knitting Methods

Even if your favorite cast-on in engrained in your muscle memory, that doesn’t mean you should stop learning! There are so many knitting cast-on methods to try! Let’s look at two essential cast-ons: the knitted on cast-on and the cable cast-on, which are very similar and easy to do.

Knitted on cast-on

Eight knitting stitches cast on with knitted cast-on method

This is a great cast-on for beginners learning knitting fundamentals, because you get to teach just one stitch from beginning to end: the knit stitch. For this cast-on, the length of your yarn tail is not important. Just make sure it’s long enough to weave in later.

Step 1:

Slip knit for knitted cast on

Start with a slip knot on the left-hand needle. Keep the tail on the left and the working yarn on your right.

Step 2:

Insert right-hand needle into cast on stitch

Insert your right-hand needle into the stitch from front to back, as if to knit. Then knit the stitch, but don’t drop the stitch off the left hand needle.

Step 3:

Slipping cast-on stitch from right to left needle

Slip the new stitch you just made from your right needle to your left needle.

Knitted Cast-on Stitches

It’s really as simple as those three steps! Repeat the cast-on, working into the last stitch on the left-hand needle, until you have the number desired. As always, make sure to count the slip knot as the first cast on stitch.

Cable cast-on

Cable cast on stitches

The cable cast-on is created similarly to the knitted cast-on — with one variation. As with the knitted method, don’t worry about the tail length just be sure the working yarn is on the right side.

Step 1:

Slip knit for knitted cast on

Start with a slip knot on your left hand needle.

Step 2:

Knitted Cast-on Stitches

Knit on one stitch (work steps 2 and 3 from the knitted cast-on to do this).

Step 3:

Insert needle between two cast-on stitches

Insert your right-hand needle between the two stitches on your needle and knit one stitch.

Cable cast-on tutorial

Don’t drop any stitches from your left-hand needle.

Step 4:

Slip right stitch to left needle

Slip the new stitch from the right needle to the left-hand needle.

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 to cast on the number of stitches desired.

I find that the cable cast-on is a very sturdy way to cast on stitches in the middle of a pattern for places like the underarm of a sweater. Just make sure to turn your work to the wrong side when casting on in this instance.

Have fun trying these new cast-ons! With both methods make sure to cast on loosely — otherwise the stitches can become very difficult to manage and knit into. 

Have you tried either of these methods? Which to you prefer?

40 Ways to Cast On & Bind Off

40 Ways to Cast on and Bind Off

Choose and use the best cast-ons and bind-offs for every knitting need. Learn to start and finish all your knitting with a look you love and the perfect amount of stretch in this video class.Enroll Now »

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and was updated in April 2018.

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