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Ask Amanda: What cast on should I use?

When I first learned to knit, I always asked my mom to do the casting on for me. I was still trying to master the difference between knits and purls, and the cast on somehow felt too complicated to even consider doing myself. Whenever I wanted to start a new project, I’d grab my yarn and needles, then chase down my mom and tell her how many stitches I needed. She would patiently oblige, but I think we both secretly knew this system could not last forever.

One day, I was ready to start a new knitting project but Mom wasn’t home. It was the moment of truth. I faced my fears and grabbed a knitting book from Mom’s bookshelf and looked up “knitting cast on methods.” I was shocked when I realized how many different techniques there were! How would a beginner know which one to use? I picked the one that looked easiest at the time and began my education there.

I know I wasn’t the only one to ponder this question – every once in a while, someone using one of our patterns will write in with the same quandary.

In our patterns, we rarely specify what type of cast on to use because our general belief is that you should use whatever cast on YOU like best. Try out a few different kinds and see which ones look best to you. If you could use a refresher on some common cast on techniques, check out our how-to videos:

Classic Cast Ons – This video demonstrates the e-wrap or thumb method, and also the long tail cast on:

Knit & Cable Cast On – This video shows you how to work the knit on method and the cable method:

K1 P1 Cast On – This is a fun version of the cable method that looks nice with K1 P1 rib:

I-Cord Cast On & Bind Off – This cool cast on results in an attached i-cord running along the bottom edge:

After trying out a few different cast ons, you’ll start to get a good idea of which ones you naturally prefer – then you can stop worrying about casting on and start really knitting!

2 thoughts on “Ask Amanda: What cast on should I use?

  1. Well being, um, *slightly* cast on obsessed, I think cast ons CAN make a difference. Not all the time, but certainly for a brim of a hat (Really-Hat’s hang around your face… a perfect edge is a perfect frame for your face!)

    there are 2 new books– and I am not alone in cataloging methods of casting on. My web page list 58–(and most methods have video links–some methods have 2 or 3 videos!)

    There are details in knitted garments that make a difference..and the cast on (and bound off) edges are one of those details.

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