How to Knit The Long Tail Cast On

Example of the Long Tail Thumb Cast On

Before you can begin knitting you must first cast on. There are many ways to do this, each with its own unique look and feel. Casting on is the foundation of any knitting project so choosing the right method is key.

The Long Tail Cast On is one of the most commonly used methods to cast on and a good general choice for most patterns. It creates an even, stretchy edge that is well suited for the stockinette stitch and for ribbing. It’s easy to knit from and (with a little practice) is also the fastest cast-on because of its fluid motion.

Also Known as: Continental Cast On
Skill: Easy
Worked over 4 stitches on a reverse stockinette background.

Pattern Instructions:

Step 1: Take a length of yarn from your ball of yarn.
Tip –  For the long tail measure about one inch per stitch. How many stitches will be dependent on your pattern
Warning! – If you do not measure enough yarn to begin with you may run out will have to start over.You can always cut off extra yarn when you finish casting on.
Step 2: Make a slip knot and insert the needle into the loop. Tighten slip knot onto needle.
Warning!– When casting on a lot of stitches the yarn has a tendency to untwist. Make sure the long tail is closest to you so you can easily retwist the yarn as you go.
Step 3: With your bottom three fingers grab both pieces of yarn and hold them in your palm.
Step 4: Take your index finger and thumb and push them through the two pieces of yarn.
Step 5: Shift your thumb and forefinger backwards to pull the yarn tight.
Step 6: Take the tip of your needle and pick up the bottom piece of yarn closest to your body.
Step 7: Swing the needle around and under the yarn wrapped around your index finger.
Step 8: Pull the needle through the loop of yarn on your thumb.
Step 9: Release the yarn around the thumb.
Step 10: Pull the yarn closest to your body tight on the needle.
Repeat steps 6-10 until you have reached the desired amount of stitches on your needle.
Tip – If your pattern calls for a loose cast on use two needles together to cast on instead of one.

Example of the Long Tail Cast On
Example of the Long Tail Cast On

Music in video is from demo 2008 by Latche Swing (Latch\xe9 Swing) / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

1 thoughts on “How to Knit The Long Tail Cast On

  1. Mary says:

    I just learned the long tail cast on from a book, but let go of the yarn after every stitch to pull it tight. Now that I see how you pull it with your thumb, I'm going to give that a try. Thanks for the video.

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