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
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.
Start with a slip knot on the left-hand needle. Keep the tail on the left and the working yarn on your right.
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.
Slip the new stitch you just made from your right needle to your left needle.
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.
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.
Start with a slip knot on your left hand needle.
Knit on one stitch (work steps 2 and 3 from the knitted cast-on to do this).
Insert your right-hand needle between the two stitches on your needle and knit one stitch.
Don’t drop any stitches from your left-hand 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
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.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and was updated in April 2018.