Too Short? Never* again. March 14, 2013 – Posted in: How to, Thursday This and That

*I know. Never say never.
There is one question I get asked over and over. “Which is the best way to cast on?”
I don’t think that there is the ‘best’ way to cast on, having said that, my preferred method of casting on is the long-tail cast on. It gives you a nice edge, it is stretchy, it does not look sloppy like other methods sometimes do.
There is a small – or rather: tiny – draw back to this method: It is called ‘long-tail’ because you have to leave enough yarn to be able to cast on the amount of stitches you need. I mostly end up with too much yarn left over – which I definitely prefer to not having enough and having to start over!
However, there are some tips and tricks to make sure you have enough yarn to begin with. Let’s say you have to cast on 100 stitches. Take the end of the yarn and start winding it around your needle. No, not a hundred times, ten times is enough. Then measure that length nine times more. Voila, enough yarn to cast on 100 stitches. If you really want to be sure that you have enough, leave an extra 6″ for weaving in.
Remember my post about a looser cast-on? If you are going for a really loose cast-on, you have to leave a longer tail because you are using up more yarn. In this case just use a larger needle (one size larger should do it, when in doubt, two sizes) to measure your ‘tail’.
If you have to cast on a really large number of stitches (I would say anything around 200 or more), there is even a way to never run out of yarn! And I am going to show you how. Right now.
You need two balls of the yarn you want to work with – or if you have wound it with a ball winder, just take the outside end together with the end from the inside. Make a slip knot with both yarns. (For demonstration purposes I am going to use two different colours.)


Then start casting on as you would regularly.


In this case the orange yarn would be your ‘tail’.


The ‘tail’ makes for a nice edge.

After casting on the required amount of stitches (do NOT count the slip knot!) slide the slip knot off the needle and undo it.



Now you cut the orange yarn (in your case the strand that made the edge) and start knitting with the other strand! There will be two more ends to weave in, but that is a low price to pay for never running out of yarn, don’t you think?

I am going now to cast on 200+ stitches for a new Espace Tricot design. Guess which method I am going to use?

Happy knitting, as ever!

– Mona