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Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

Learn how to cast on in knitting with this helpful tutorial and you'll be ready to tackle any pattern you desire with ease.

By: M. E. Harrington for
Updated November 27, 2017
Knitting Tutorial How to Cast On

Learning how to knit is an exciting process, but some patience is required. Getting your needles prepped and ready for knitting is a vital.

In order to start knitting, you'll need to know how to cast on. Casting on is much like making a slip knot.

If you know how to make a slip knot, you're already half way there! Learn how to cast on in this easy knitting tutorial by M. E. Harrington.

Take a look at the steps below to learn how to do the knit on method.

Decorative Cast On Video Tutorial

Step One

Before you cast on, you'll have to know how to make a slip knot.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Make a Slip Knot

Step Two

The most simple method of casting on is to use your thumb. In order to do this, however, you must leave a long tail of yarn, to use in the casting on process. This photo shows a slip knot made approximately 18 inches away from the end of the yarn.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

Step Three

(The instructions are for right handed persons). Hold the knitting needle in your right hand. Grasp the yarn end between your thumb and finger of the left hand as shown in the photo below.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

Step Four

Wrap your thumb around the yarn, by passing your thumb over the yarn, then bringing your thumb under the yarn and toward you.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

Step Five

Pass the knitting needle through the loop on your thumb, from front to back.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

Step Six

Keep your thumb in the loop, holding it open.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

Step Seven

Grasp the yarn end that is still attached to the ball of yarn, and bring the yarn between your thumb, and the knitting needle.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

Step Eight

Use your thumb to slip the loop over the end of the knitting needle, leaving the yarn end on the needle.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

Step Nine

This is how the stitch looks after slipping the loop over.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

Step Ten

Tighten up the stitch by tugging on both ends of the yarn.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

Step Eleven

Repeat steps 9 to 15, to add as many stitches as your project will require.

Knitting Tutorial: How to Cast On

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My Italian sewing friend and knitter was trying to teach me the European way of casting on..i would love to knit..but the casting on has stopped me...unfortunately my friend is knitting for the Angels...if u have a vidie on this ...maybe I can learn??

Takes a little more time, but worth it because you are doing 2 rows at once. And it is more even than the way I used to cast on.

What's the rule of thumb on how much yarn to use to cast on?

I believe with chunky yarn use 1" per stitch, and with worsted weight use 1/2" per stitch. That's the way I do it.

I have forgotten how to cast on using double pointed needles for socks. Can anyone help me find an answer?

@ bjordan5 6040055: Check out this video on our AllFreeKnitting YouTube channel: This should show you how to do the long-tail cast on method. Hope this helps! - Editors of AllFreeKnitting

What my problem is how to cast on stitches with a long tail, using both strands at the same time. Thank you. Barbara Jordan

I'm sorry, but this HAS to be the slowest, most difficult way to cast on I've ever seen!

beauchampjill 1647235, I've updated the article. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

The steps are clear, except that the picture under #7 is not the correct picture and I had to rely on my past knowledge of knitting to figure that step out.


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