Online Knitting Class

Sunday, 7 December 2014

How to cast on stitches

Casting on for Beginners: Learning to Knit

garter stitch

The first step to a successful knitting project is casting on or binding on if you are in the US. If you do this sloppily, the work will not sit properly, so it is worth taking time to learn a method that suits you. Here I'll show you how to make your first slip stitch, how to cast on using the thumb method and how to cast on using two needles.

Whichever method you do choose, ensure you make it tight and even, every stitch the same as the one next to it and with no loops hanging.

Casting on with one needle and your thumb

I have always been a 'loose' knitter, which makes it hard to ensure the size and gauge will work out as per the pattern. The following method was one taught to me by father. It is easy and fool proof.
This one uses only one needle for casting on. Make a slip knot leaving enough yarn hanging to make the number of stitches needed. That is sometimes the hardest thing to estimate.
One easy way to measure it is to start at the tail end of your yarn, wrap it round your thumb once, drop it and move up, repeat for the number of stitches needed.

  1. First - make a slip knot - How to make a slip knot - your first stitch is a slip knot - make a loop, pull wool though loop and pull tight. 
    make a loop

    pull yarn through loop

    pull tight to make a knot

    slip onto knitting needle

  2. Place the knot on a knitting needle with the tail end on your right. 
  3. Make a loop or yarn on your left thumb. 
    make a loop with your left thumb
  4. Slip the needle through the loop. 
    slip needle through the loop
  5. Hold the yarn from the ball in your right hand. The yarn should slide between you index and middle finger, the yarn over the top of the index finger. With the right hand, wrap the yarn around the tip of the needle in a looping motion. 
    yarn over needle to make a new stitch
  6. Slip the first knot that is already on the needle, over this one and pull tight by pulling on the tail of wool in your left hand. 
    slip first loop over this second yarn over thread to make a new stitch
  7. Repeat until you have the number of stitches required.
    stitches on knitting needle
This method gives a good base on which to build . To make it even more smooth, knit the first row even when it tells you in the pattern to knit and purl the first row. If you also knit into the back of the stitch on each stitch, you will have an even, tight and very professional start to you work.

How to Cast on with Two Needles

  1. Make a slip knot plus one more stitch using the thumb method.
  2. Hold the knitting needle in your left hand.
  3. Slip the right hand needle tip between the two stitches.
    slip right-hand needle between the two stitches
  4. Yarn over right needle and pull through the resulting loop. 
    yarn over needle
  5. Pull through to make a new loop. 
    pull through to make a new stitch
  6. Transfer to the left needle.
  7. Slip the needle between the last two needles and repeat for however many stitches you need.
I don't think it makes as neat an edge, it seems to be harder to keep the size of the stitches uniform with this method. 

Now we have casted on - let's move on to knitting. 

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