Today’s Knitting 101 is all about how to long tail cast on in knitting.
Of all the knitting cast on methods, the long tail cast on is the easiest to learn. It is also the one knitters use most.
Well, it’s a stretchy cast on, which creates a clean, neat edge. This makes it so useful for all kinds of projects. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
First, let’s talk about some knitting terms.
Before we discuss the long tail cast on method, a quick word on some knitting terms.
Below are some knitting phrases you’re bound to come across at one point or another. I just want to call them out for clarification in case you’re not yet familiar.
- Active Yarn / Working Yarn - This is the yarn you’re knitting with. It relates to the yarn coming from the skein or ball, not the yarn tail.
- Turning Your Work - When you knit to the end of a row, the worked row will be in your right hand. To turn your work, return this needle to your left hand and work the next row, etc.
- Knitting Tension - This is how tightly or loosely you work your yarn. Too tightly leads to smaller stitches and denser fabric. Too loose leads to large, uneven stitches. Both make your knitting look sloppy and unprofessional.
Try for a smooth, even knitting rhythm for beautiful stitches.
Other Names for the Long Tail Cast On
Also, depending on where you live or knit, you may hear the long tail cast on called by different names. It is also known as:
- Double Cast On
- Continental Knitting Cast On
- Slingshot Cast On
- Two Strand Cast On
There’s really no difference in how to do the long tail cast on itself, just a different name.
Now, let’s talk about what a long tail cast on is.
What is a Long Tail Cast On?
When you cast on stitches in knitting, you’re knitting the first row. This first row of stitches will be what anchors the knitted piece together.
This is why it’s important to learn the long tail cast on correctly.
This easy cast on in knitting creates a stretchy edge which is necessary to your project. Think sock cuffs, mittens, hat brims. It's what gives you an elastic edge.
Okay, ready to learn this stretchy cast on method? Let’s learn how to long tail cast on.
For this knitting tutorial, I am using:
- Cascade 220 worsted weight yarn (100% merino wool)
- Chiaogoo interchangeable knitting needles, 5" tips.
These are just some of the knitting supplies I keep on hand. Learn what you need in your knitting kit here.
How to Long Tail Cast On for Beginners
First, measure out how much yarn for long tail cast on.
Now, make your slip knot and cinch it onto your knitting needle in your right hand.
Second, lift the yarn tail over your left thumb and the working yarn over your left index finger. It should be in the shape of a Y or a slingshot.
To keep the slip knot in place, hold it on the knitting needle with your right index finger.
Third, swing the knitting needle to the left and insert it under and through the loop. Your knitting needle is moving towards your right index finger.
Fourth, continue this motion from left to right over and under the loop on your index finger.
The motion is now moving back to the left and through the loop on your thumb.
Fifth, drop your thumb and allow the yarn to slip off your finger. Now, gently tug the strands of yarn to cinch it on the needle.
You have now cast on your second stitch.
Remember, the slip knot is your first stitch in the long tail cast on. Don’t forget to count it.
Finally, repeat this process until you have cast on the desired number of stitches you need to begin your project.
A few things you should remember about your knitting tension:
- Don’t cast on too tightly. This will make it difficult to insert your needle to work the stitch. You will also end up with a puckered edge to your knitting. Not pretty.
- Don’t cast on too loosely. This will create gaps between your knitting and your stitches will be uneven.
You’ve done it! You’ve learned how to cast on knitting stitches by learning how to long tail cast on.
When you turn your cast on row to knit, this is what your stitches will look like. The yarn tail will be in the back. Your active yarn / working yarn will be in the front.
You can learn more ways to cast on and bind off with this handy resource. Take a look.
Did you find this knitting tutorial helpful? We’d love to know! Share a comment with us below.