The Long-tail Cast On
This is my favourite cast-on method. I use this for most cast-on edges, unless the pattern specifies which cast-on to use.
The long-tail cast-on takes practice to consistently control the tension of the yarn. But once you’ve got it, you’ll be casting on like a whizz!
Step 1) Measure Your Long-tail
Start by measuring out the length of your long tail. For this cast on, your long tail needs to be long enough to create the number of stitches you need. To get a rough idea how much you’ll need, wrap the yarn around the needle as many times as you need stitches. Then unravel and start from there. Add another 6 inches (so that you’ll have a 6 in tail leftover).
Another method is to measure out three times the length of your cast-on edge. So, if you know you want your cast-on edge to be 10 inches wide, your long-tail needs to be at least 30 inches long. Add 6 more inches so that you have a short tail left at the end.
Step 2) Create a Slip-Knot
Make a slip knot at this point and place it on your needle. (Note, you only need one needle to create this cast on).
Step 3) Position the needle in the right hand
Hold the needle in your right hand, with your index finger on top of the slip knot. The “long tail” should be on the side closest to you. The working yarn (the strand attached to the rest of the ball) is at the back, furthest from you.
Step 4) Secure the Yarn Strands in Your Left Hand
Pinch your index finger and thumb (of the left hand) together and insert them between the two strands of yarn. Spread your thumb and finger apart so that the long tail hangs over your thumb, and the working yarn hangs over your index finger.
Keeping your index finger and thumb in this position, use your remaining three fingers of your left hand to clasp the strands of yarn in your palm. Don’t let go!
Step 5) Get in the “Launch” Position
Now, pull back the right needle slightly, as if you were going to launch a catapult, and you’ll see loops appear around your thumb and index finger.
Step 6) Create a New Stitch
Insert the needle up through the loop on the thumb, bring the needle over and down through the loop on your index finger, and back through the loop on your thumb.
Step 7) Release the Loop on your Thumb
Let the loop slide off your thumb.
Step 8) Tighten the New loop on the Needle
Put your thumb behind the long tail and use it to tighten the loop. The thickness of your needle determines the width of your stitch. You want to try to make each of your stitches the same. Tighten the yarn around the needle so that it is snug, but not so tight that you can’t move it on the needle easily. As best you can, try to create each stitch the same snugness around the needle.
Step 9: Repeat
Repeat steps 5-8 until there are enough stitches cast on.