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How to Knit: Casting On

Updated on September 29, 2016

I have taught many people how to knit, and have found that casting on is always the hardest part for beginners to catch on to. This might be because we usually only need to cast on at the beginning of a project, so knitters don't spend a lot of time casting on. But, practice makes perfect, so feel free to practice casting on for awhile before moving on to knitting stitches.

Every knitting projects begins with a row of foundation stitches. You make a foundation row by casting on. There are as many different ways of casting on as there are knitters, but I'm going to outline the easiest method I've found found for beginners here.

Step One

Make a slip knot on one needle. (Need to learn how to make a slipknot? Check out the video, Hook, Yarn, & Slip Knot). This will be considered your first stitch.

Step Two

Hold the needle with knot in your left hand. Your thumb and index finger should be placed close to the point of the needle. This will help you control the needle.

Step Three

Your right hand will mostly be used to control the yarn coming for the skein. You will also hold the other knitting needle in your right hand. Again, place your fingers close to the point.

Step Four

Insert the point of the right needles, from front to back, into the slip knot. the right needle will rest under the left needle.

Step Five

Hold the left needle in your left hand as you move your left fingers over to hold the right needle. Use your right index finger to pick up the yarn from the skein, bringing the yarn under and over the point of the right needle (from left to right).

Step Six

Return your right fingers to the right needle. Draw the yarn through the existing sticth with the point of your right needle.

Step Seven

Slide the left needle into the new stitch by making the needles parallel to each other.

Step Eight

Remove the right needle from the stitch. Pull the skein yarn gently, so the stitch is snug on the needle. You have now made a stitch. You should have two stitches on the left needle.

Step Nine

Insert the poing of the right needle, from front to back, into the stitch you have just made, and under the left needle.

Repeat!

Repeat steps 5 through 9 for the next stitch. Continue until you have as many stitches cast on as your pattern calls for.

Practicing? It is easy to destroy the cast on stitches. Simply pull the needle out of the stitches. Wind the used yarn back onto the skein.

  • Tip: Beginners tend to knit very tightly, but this makes it difficult to slide the stitches on the needle. Try to relax, keeping the stitches loose.

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    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 4 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      You did a great job at showing a difficult thing to do on your own. When you don't have someone showing you how to cast on, it can be quite challenging. You did an excellent job at showing how to cast on by yourself. Great hub! I hope us knitters can join forces! :) Michele

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Knitting is tougher to learn than I thought, thanks for the tips!

    • profile image

      leanne 5 years ago

      i sort of got the instructions but you lost me with the pictures.

    • profile image

      *sob* 5 years ago

      Ok, question. Where in the yarn am I supposed to start? In the middle,on the end. Do I need to hook with one and use the other for...knitting?

    • profile image

      sara smith 6 years ago

      i was so confused, probibly just a leftie thing though

    • profile image

      taylor 6 years ago

      this is too hard i cant understand the pictures or words

    • profile image

      beginner 6 years ago

      Its kinda CONFUSING to me... I am young and am looking at this with my mom... Can you make one for kids??? I really need help and it is kinda hard to learn. Please reply. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Alyssa 6 years ago

      Im just a teenager and im learning how to knit with a friend

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      this is confusing

    • profile image

      Blank 7 years ago

      i can not see the dim pictures and the directions were complicated. i had a lot of trouble figuring it out.

    • profile image

      blank 7 years ago

      the video is confusing i still don't know how to ,make a stitch knot

    • profile image

      jass 7 years ago

      it was ok

    • Blogging Erika profile image

      E L Danvers 7 years ago from Ventura, CA

      Awesome step-by-step instructions, WITH pictures! Great work!

    • profile image

      Madeleine 7 years ago

      Ihave tried many websites to learn how to knit but im sure you have helped me the the most. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Isabella 8 years ago

      The instructions are to complicated. I almost exploded because it just made knitting more hard. I know how to knitt but I never can remember how to cast on. I have tried videos but the person who is speaking was talking to fast and I was not able to comprehend what she was saying.

    • profile image

      willow 8 years ago

      does anyone have a pattern for grateful dead bears or a steal your face 13 point lightning bolt.. i'm trying to make deadhead gifts?

      willowrose@gmail.com

      much appreciation!

    • wltrallen2 profile image

      wltrallen2 8 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Thanks for the hub. I actually learned a one-needle method for casting on. Someone had mentioned this two-needle method to me when my theatre company was doing Cats (and we were knitting legwarmers like crazy). I didn't have time to learn this method then. I'm hoping that I can take the time now. :)

    • MasonsMom profile image

      MasonsMom 9 years ago from U.S.A.

      I'm looking forward to trying this soon...

    • MM Del Rosario profile image

      MM Del Rosario 9 years ago from NSW, Australia

      I could never learn to knit, my daughter is starting to learn, i told her she could teach me...but with this hub, i might have to get my own knitting needle and learn by myself.

      Regards MM

    • AuraGem profile image

      AuraGem 9 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I am an avid knitter! Love creating my own designs! But it is great to see someone's else' methods! For all I know, some of my methods may just be bad habits developed over time! At one stage, I did have to change my style of knitting because I developed severe RSI. So I was forced to stop clutching the needles as if I was permanently desperate.

      Great hub!

      Smiles and Light

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      How wonderful are the illustrations - much better than the book I had as a kid!

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image
      Author

      Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

      Isabella, I meant to caption the pictures, but forgot--I'll fix that. Stay tuned.

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 9 years ago

      Ok. Video was great. (And you sound exactly like I imagined you would!) But I got lost in the pics, my brain just doesn't work that way. Im sure it will work for everyone else cos most people can follow basic instructions. Not me, however. So. Please make a video of whatever that is?!! I'll send you a granny square. :)

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 9 years ago from Portugal

      Very well done!

      My mate loves to knitting in her spare times and she make all sorts of clothes like that.

      I´ve to agree with Lissie, this hub deserves to have brothers ;-)

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 9 years ago from New Zealand

      I'm expecting a whole series of hubs developing from this one!