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How to Cast On for Knitting Beginners

knitting techniques

Casting on creates the first rows of stitches for your project. There are lots of methods to cast on, here we've shown you the Cable Method, which uses two needles and the Thumb method, which uses one needle.


Casting on (cable method)


casting on step 1

1. Make a slip knot – you can see a tutorial for how to make a slip knot in our other blog. Put the needle with the slip knot into your left hand. Insert the point of your other needle into the front of the slip knot and under the left needle. Wind the yarn from the ball of yarn around the tip of the right needle.


casting on step 2

2. Using the tip of your needle, draw the yarn through the slip knot to form a loop. This loop is your new stitch. Slip the loop from the right needle on to the left needle.


casting on step 3

3. To make the next stitch, insert the tip of your right needle between the two stitches. Wind the yarn over the right needle, from left to right, then draw the yarn through to form a loop. Transfer this loop to your left needle. Repeat until you have cast on the right number of stitches for your project.


Thumb cast on

This method creates a cast-on row with a bit of stretch in it. Because you are working with the tail end (the cut end) of the yarn as well as the ball end, you need to estimate the length of yarn needed to cast on all the stitches required: allowing 3/4 in (2cm) per stitch is a safe amount.


thumb cast on step 1

1. Measure out the required length of yarn and make a slip knot at that point. Hold the knitting needle in your right hand. *From front to back, wrap the tail end of the yarn around your left thumb.


thumb cast on step 2

2. Using your right hand, slip the point of the knitting needle under the yarn wrapped around your thumb, as shown. Wrap the ball end of the yarn around the point of the needle.


thumb cast on step 3

3. Pull the needle, and the yarn around it, through the loop around your thumb. Slip your left thumb out of the loop. Pull gently on the tail end of the yarn to tighten the stitch. Repeat from * until you have cast on the required number of stitches.


For more basic knitting techniques, check out our tutorial videos with Fiona Goble.


Now you've mastered the basics, check out the easy beginner projects in Learn to Knit by Fiona Goble.


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