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40 Comments
  • This is a really handy explanation. Thank you Kate 😀

  • This is very handy, but it doesn’t mention the use for backwards loop I will always remember learning from Kay Knock-Out-One-More-Seamless-Blanket Gardiner: when you will want to pick up the stitches later.

    • Hi, I would love to know what the Seamless Blanket pattern is!

      • I think that might be the No-Sew Mitered Square Blanket in a letter from Kay (2006!) Easiest way to find it is to search by that title (the magnifying glass at the top). Brilliant, but “epic” tutorial.

  • Thank you Kate for such clear concise explanations of each method. I’ve already downloaded the .pdf to keep handy as a reference. Perfect!

  • Ooh please can we have a matching chart for bind offs? Just spent this morning trawling google and learning a new one as the one I knew clashed with the cast on edge (at the end of a buttonhole band). Would be amazing to have such a summary for binding off! As this one is fab, thank you.

  • The loopiness of the knitted cast on can be fixed into a beautiful edge by knitting or pulling through the back loop on the first row. It is my go to cast on.

    • Thanks for this! Knitted on is my favorite cast on, but it does tend to be a bit sloppy. I don’t know why, but I never took to long tail. Tubular is my favorite looks-wise but can be a PITA.

  • I love this and have it bookmarked as well as downloaded for future reference!
    I have one question regarding the long tail cast on:
    “The edge has two distinct sides: a knit side and a purl side. If you work your first row/round in alignment with the edge, then it’s very smooth; if you work opposite to the edge, you get a tidy little purl ridge.”
    I don’t understand what it means to work ‘in alignment’ or ‘opposite’ the edge. Could you explain a bit more for me? Is this just knitting or purling the first row? How does that affect working in the round?
    Thank you!

    • Hello! When I say “in alignment”, I mean knitting on the knit side, and purling on the purl side. For example, if you use the long tail cast on for knitting flat, when you turn to work the first row, the purl side of the cast on is facing. If you knit over that, you’ll get a little ridge; if you purl the first row, the cast on edge will be smoother and tidier. Equally, if you use the long tail method for working in the round, you’ll see the knit side of the cast on facing. Does that help?

      • Thank you for the clarification – I had the same question. Great info, and thanks for the clip & save chart!

      • Thank you, Kate, for taking the extra time to clarify this. That’s very thoughtful and kind of you, and it does help!

  • Great Cheat Sheet! It will definitely come in handy. Thank you!

  • One of my favorite knitting books is Cast On, Bind Off by Cap Sease. Every possible option is in there, along with great pics, descriptions, when to use, and how to match cast on and bind off edges. Highly recommend!

    • This book is the greatest a knitting library essential! I often check it for the details of a favorite CO or BO or to find a new one.

  • Can someone please tell me how to Log in easily? I have a hard time figuring out how to do it? Am I stupid? What am I missing?

    • You have to click on the little person icon at the top of the page and go to my account. Then you have to search again for the article you want to bookmark after logging in.

    • I have this same problem but I have conquered it. Look them up on the internet and then go into your account and there you will see a place to log in. What I dont know is why it keeps logging me out? Anyway, its easy enough to fix it.

  • Oh, so very helpful!!! Thank you!

  • Bookmarked! I always wonder and second guess my decisions: now I have a plan.

  • I recently discovered the I-cord cast on which made a beautiful neckline for my pullover. The neck matched the I-cord bind-offs on the sleeves and bottom edge.

  • I’m such a stick in the mud that I almost always use long tail cast on and purl the first round

  • Concise, brilliant, and a chart! Thanks Kate.

  • This is regally great! What are your thoughts about the Chinese waitress cast on?

  • Please add “ Chinese Waitress Cast-on” https://www.knitfreedom.com/blog/chinese-waitress-cast-on/

  • Your knitted cast is suffering bad tension……my personal favourite is the tubular cast on

  • I’ve never managed to do a tubular cast-on. My stitches at the bottom edge always “do the splits”. I could practise and fiddle about varying needle size and technique, but I really like the long tail method and want to get knitting, so I just go with one I can do neatly. Your tubular cast-on looks lovely!

  • After knitting a shawl which specified it, I’m a total convert to using a crochet cast on in situations where you need to add stitches to an existing piece of knitting. It doesn’t suffer the annoying extra loop of yarn that I always get from backward loop, and makes a neat edge that is easy to pick up from.

  • This is great, thanks so much! I loved Golden Apples/oftroy (blog http://blog.goldenapple.info/) extensive list of cast ones and bind offs. Her YouTube videos are still up but the website is down. Anyone know what’s up? I fear the worst.

  • Very helpful for this new knitter…..thank you!

  • I have been using the Long Tail caston for several years but this spring I determined to learn the Old Norwegian. I took the trouble to find decent directions and it wasn’t difficult to master.
    I now much prefer it to Long Tail and will never go back.
    I used Cable Caston, per instructions, in ribbing and it was the absolute worst. Not only was it difficult and slow – 146 stitches for a pullover sweater – I ended up with a mean, inflexible, skinny edge where each stitch overlapped the other of the pair and was tedious to straighten out in the first row. I know there’s a better way to cast on ribbing. Can anyone remind me what it is?

  • Great tips

  • Thank you!! Printed, Clipped, and Strategically Placed. Any chance you would consider doing something similar for bind-offs? That’s where I get stuck…a shawl edge that doesn’t stretch, a garment edge that gapes. It is an art!

  • Thanks so much for the neat ‘n easy chart. Will have to try the crochet cast-on mentioned.
    But, one thing I learned relatively recently, I’m ashamed to say, is the power of The Back Loop. So many problems can be solved this way, including the mess Backward Loop Cast-on creates, due to No Tension At All. I learned it as my first cast-on and hated it. It almost put me off knitting. But, if you jam the needle into, not the loop created by the thumb, but the back of the loop, it creates just enough tension that one can knit that first row without everything trying to unravel itself.
    Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions.

  • Brilliant Kate. I’m a huge fan of yours! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and creating this incredibly practical guide. Big thanks to MDK with awesome knitterly content week after week!

  • which cast on curls the least?

  • Another useful cast-on: if you need to cast on at the end of a row in garter stitch, use cable cast on in PURL, not the usual knit cable cast on, which ends up with an edge that looks like stockinette.