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Jessica Joy

Knitwear designer and writer

Casting On: A Comparison of Methods

Let’s talk about casting on! Just like the foundations of a building, the cast on is a crucial starting point for your projects and is really important to get right. It seems to me every knitter has their preferred ‘everyday’ cast on, which could be totally different to the next. Even now I’m discovering the benefits of other methods and learning to stray away from my faithful favourites when the need arises. Heyo backwards loop! In the name of science I decided to work up some swatches and compare them.

Jessica Joy: Knitted cast on

1. Knitted

How: Worked with 2 needles, emulates a knit stitch.

Pro: Easy, good beginners choice.

Cons: Can be loose and gappy, slow to work.

Jessica Joy: Backwards loop cast on

2. Backwards loop (Video)

How: Worked with 1 needle creating basic loops with your thumb.

Pros: Quick, great for chunky yarns, discrete. Good for mid-row cast-ons.

Cons: Curls. Unstable so have to work first row carefully to keep it looking even. Best if the first row is a plain knit or purl row.

Jessica Joy: Long Tail Cast on

3. Long tail (Video)

How: Worked with 1 needle creating loops with your thumb, and throwing the long tail end to knit the stitch at the same time.

Pros: Super-strong, stretchy, lies flat, nice to work into.

Cons: Hard to judge how much tail you’ll need – may have too much, or not enough.

Jessica Joy: Cable Cast on

4. Cable

How: Worked with 2 needles, similar to knitted CO but the right needle is inserted between stitches rather than diagonally through the previous stitch.

Pros: Pretty with a really neat ‘corded’ effect to the edge, lies flat. God for mid-row cast-ons.

Cons: Slow to work, chunky, not stretchy.

  1. Name says: 23 January 201911:10 pm

    Super helpful post! Thanks!!

  2. Jane says: 18 March 20197:41 pm

    Can I use a cable cast-on instead of a long tail cast-on? I’m making a baby sweater (cardigan).

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