Any knitting project begins with casting on stitches to form the foundation row. There are many types of cast ons. Some cast ons are better suited to different kinds of projects, so it is a good idea to learn more than one way to cast on stitches.
While there are many cast ons used in knitting, a few basic cast ons that are helpful to learn are the loop cast on, the knitted cast on, and the cable cast on.
* Loop Cast On
Beginning knitters often first learn the loop cast on. It is easy to learn and works well with many different projects, especially those that will have a stretchy edge. However, the loop cast on tends to leave an edge that is loose and uneven. It can also be awkward to knit into the first row.
1. Hold the cut end of the yarn and one needle together in your left hand. Hold the working yarn in your right hand (hold the yarn in a fist with your knuckles facing toward you) pulling the yarn taut.
2. Twist your right thumb under the taut yarn (back to front) looping it around your thumb.
3. Insert the needle through the loop around your right thumb.
4. Slide your thumb out of the loop and pull the yarn, tightening a loop around the needle.
5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 until the desired number of stitches are on the needle.
* Knitted Cast On
The knitted cast on is another great cast on for beginners. The stitches are cast on in the same way you make knit stitches and it is easy to knit into the first row. The knitted cast works well with most knitting projects. It makes a nice, stretchy edge that is more even than the loop cast on.
1. Make a slip knot and put it on your left needle.
2. Insert the right needle through the loop (crossing from left to right through the front of the loop).
3. Wrap the free yarn around the tip of the right needle (counterclockwise) and use the right needle to pull a loop of yarn back through the first loop. There will now be a loop on the left needle and another on the right needle.
4. Slip the left needle through the front of the loop on the right needle and slide it onto the left needle. There are now two loops on the left needle and none on the right needle.
5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 until the desired number of stitches are on the left needle.
* Cable Cast On
The cable cast on is a variation on the knitted cast on. It makes a tighter, non-stretchy edge. However, the cable cast on leaves an obvious ridge that may or may not work with some projects.
1. Make a slip knot and put it on the left needle.
2. Cast on another stitch using the knitted cast on method (above). Keep this stitch loose.
3. Insert the right needle between the two stitches.
4. Wrap the free yarn around the tip of the right needle (counterclockwise) and use the right needle to pull a loop of yarn back through the first loop.
5. Slip the left needle through the front of the loop on the right needle and slide the loop onto the left needle.
6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 until the desired number of stitches are on the left needle.
These basic cast ons are useful for most knitting projects. Try them each out and decide which is the best for your next project.