How to Knit: Casting On

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 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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Comments 25 comments

Lissie profile image

Lissie 8 years ago from New Zealand

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

funride profile image

funride 8 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 ;-)

Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 8 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. :)

Stacie Naczelnik profile image

Stacie Naczelnik 8 years ago from Seattle Author

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

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

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

AuraGem profile image

AuraGem 8 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

MM Del Rosario profile image

MM Del Rosario 8 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

MasonsMom profile image

MasonsMom 8 years ago from U.S.A.

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

wltrallen2 profile image

wltrallen2 7 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. :)

willow 7 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?

much appreciation!

Isabella 7 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.

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!

Blogging Erika profile image

Blogging Erika 7 years ago

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

jass 6 years ago

it was ok

blank 6 years ago

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

Blank 6 years ago

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

5 years ago

this is confusing

Alyssa 5 years ago

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

beginner 5 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!

taylor 5 years ago

this is too hard i cant understand the pictures or words

sara smith 5 years ago

i was so confused, probibly just a leftie thing though

*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?

leanne 4 years ago

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

Nicole S profile image

Nicole S 3 years ago from Minnesota

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

misslong123 profile image

misslong123 3 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

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