Cast Away …

image by Nadin Trautzsch
image by Nadin Trautzsch

Over the  years I have often been asked about my favoured casting-on method. Rather embarrassingly,  for a large number of those years, I truthfully believed there was only the one method; The Cable Cast-On.

Thus everything I made, began in this way. When I first started knitting, my tension was so tight my needles squeaked rather than clicked and liberal sprinklings of baby talc were regularly required. Every sweater had a button plaque so it would go over the head and socks were in definite danger of cutting off the blood supply. As I got better, I learnt to cast-on with needles a size or two larger than those used for the body of the pattern. But even then, I was never completely content with the finish…neat, yes, stretchy? Not really. When making my first pair of gloves, I compensated by knitting a ridiculously loose edge. Slipped on great. Then promptly flew off again with the first wave. A strap and popper affair solved the issue but I vowed to never knit mittens again.

Mine weren't quite as silly as these ...
Mine weren’t quite as silly as these 

Then, the marvel of the Internet appeared and my world of wooliness was transformed. Fabulously generous knitters, from all over the globe, began to share their knowledge and ‘recipes’. It was like a whole hardware store of light-bulbs had popped above my head all at once. All those ideas for patterns that had been scrawled down on bits of paper now became a possibility. All those gloves and hats and socks I longed to design could become a reality.

That was 10 years ago now, and although it took me another 8 years to properly throw myself into the ‘designing game’, my love for all things yarny stemmed from that realisation that there were other ways of casting-on.

I thought I would share my favourites with apologies to those lovely folks I taught in the past, I do so hope they quickly discovered internet tutorials too…


Most Useful, Long-Tail Cast-On:


Perfect For Toe-Up Socks/Crown Down Hats/Bags, Judy’s Magic Cast-On:


Best for Double-Knitting & Brioche, Italian Cast-On:


Best Method for Adding Stitches at ends of work or in the centre over the top of Button-holes, Grandma’s Easy Thumb Cast-On:


I am well aware I am most probably preaching to the converted but I promise I am not trying to teach ‘grandmothers to suck eggs’, I just hope to inspire newbies to explore new horizons and not waste as much time as I did; wallowing in frustration… lol

Happy Casting…

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4 thoughts on “Cast Away …

  1. My favourite at the mo is the tubular cast-on. It gives such a perfect rolled edge for 1×1 rib, that everything I make has a ribbed edge now!

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    1. lol..I have used this in the past and the 2×2 rib version too, great for most things but I do like the ‘unrolled’ appearance of the long-tail, so tend to use that more often. However, the tubular cast-on is especially nice for kiddies cuffs etc as it is very soft. 😀

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