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Knitting Tips


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Knitting Tips

Is there a way to cast on without measuring out a long tail?

There are many, many ways to cast on.

You can knit the stitches onto your needle starting from the beginning of the yarn. Make a slip knot and place it on the left needle. With the right needle, knit one st into the slip knot but LEAVE THE SLIP KNOT ON THE LEFT NEEDLE. Slip the new knitted st onto the left needle. Now you have 2 stitches on the left needle and the right one is empty. Knit the first st, leaving it on the left needle, and slip this new st back onto the left needle. Now you have 3 stitches on the left needle and the right needle is empty. Keep on adding stitches to the left needle until you have the number you need. This is usually called the "knitted" cast on.

There is a variant of this that I prefer, called the "cabled" cast on, because it makes a nice even rope-like edge. Start with a slip knot on your left needle. Knit into it and place the new st on the left needle. Now, instead of knitting into the new st, put the tip of your right needle into the space between the two stitches on the left needle, and hook your yarn for the new st through that space. Place the new st on the left needle. Continue knitting BETWEEN the last two stitches to form new stitches until you have cast on the desired number.

My cast on is too tight.

If you need to loosen up your cast on, there are two ways to do this. First, as you cast on, space your stitches out along the needle, don't jam them up tight against each other. Second, use a single needle one or two sizes larger than the one one plan to use for your project.

My cast on stitches are too tall.

This happens when your cast on stitches are too loose. The knitting above them keeps them from spreading wider, so the looseness ends up as extra length. You may be using two needles or a larger needle to prevent your cast on from being too tight. Try using a smaller needle, until your cast on pleases you.

After casting on, am I on the right side or the wrong side?

When you use the long-tail, or Y cast on, you are actually working the first row of knit stitches at the same time that you cast on. This cast on produces two rows of stitches that are the equivalent of 1) using half hitches to cast on and then 2) knitting a row. This means that when you've completed the cast on, you've already worked the first right-side row, and should assume that your next row is row 2.

When you use the knitted or cabled cast on, you are on the wrong, or purl, side of the fabric when you begin the next row.

Of course, if you prefer the way that one side of your cast on looks more than the other, that is the "right" side.

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All text and images copyright © 1998, 2001, 2002 Margaret K.K. Radcliffe