Casting-On 1: Backwards Loop, Knitted, Cable

There are many ways of casting on, each with a different effect that compliments the position of the cast-on (c/o) and type of garment intended. By learning many and becoming familiar with their qualities you can improve the finished look of your knits for a more satisfying outcome.  These are the most basic:

The Backwards Loop
– simple, fast, loose, useful for adding additional stitches, such as over buttonholes, can be worked in either direction but not the neatest of edges.

1.Hold the waste end yarn tail in either hand close with the needle.

Right hand hold

Hold yarn and needle together

2.Hold the working yarn in your other hand so that it is taught.

Make loop 1

Hold yarn taught

Make loop 2

Push thumb down and under yarn

Make loop 3

Pull thumb up to complete loop

3.Using the thumb of the working yarn hand as a pivot push down on the yarn, hook your thumb underneath it and back up so that a loop is formed around your thumb (above = left thumb; below = right thumb).

Make left loop

Hold yarn taught

Make left loop 2

Push right thumb down and hook under

Make left loop 3

Pull thumb up to complete loop

4.Keeping tight hold of both ends of the yarn place the needle tip into the loop held on your thumb moving the needle from left to right and front to back.

Right needle loop

Slip loop onto needle held in right hand

Slip left loop

Slip loop onto needle held in left hand

5.Slip the loop from your thumb to the needle and pull tight on the working yarn.

1st right hand stitch

Slip thumb from loop and pull tight

1st left needle stitch

Slip thumb from loop and pull tight

6.Repeat steps 3-5 until the desired number of stitches (st) are formed on the needle.

Row of backwards loop cast-on stitches on left hand needle

Row of backwards loop cast-on stitches on left hand needle

Row of backwards loop cast-on stitches on right hand needle

Row of backwards loop cast-on stitches on left hand needle

7.IF you held the needle in your RIGHT hand at the start you will need to turn it and transfer to your left hand keeping the waste yarn held tight at all times. Purl into these st to produce the first wrong-side (WS) row of the piece. On the right side (RS), signified by the waste tail being on the right, you will have a row of twisted st.   This method is best used when a loose cast-on is required, curling up is not a significant issue to the finished look, or where the finishing instructions include picking up and embellishing the hem later.

Backwards loop cast-on (R) edge

Backwards loop cast-on (R) edge

8.IF you held the needle in your LEFT hand to start then you can immediately knit into these stitches to produce or row of twisted st on the RS, signified this time by the waste tail being on the left.  This is particularly useful when a number of additional stitches are required to be c/o at the beginning of a row.

Backwards loop cast-on (L) edge

Backwards loop cast-on (L) edge

Knitted Cast-on
– basic, quick, easy to learn, more sparing of the yarn than fancier cast-ons, a little untidy and prone to curling up.

1.Make a slip-knot (SK) and place onto the left-hand (LH) needle.

Slip knot

Make slip knot and slide onto needle

2.Holding the working yarn at the back, place the tip of the right-hand (RH) needle through the loop of the SK from left to right and front to back.

Place right-hand needle

Place right-hand needle in loop from left to right and front to back

3.Wrap the working yarn clockwise (over-under if yarn held in LH/ under-over if yarn held in RH) around the tip of the RH needle and pull it through forming a new loop.

Make loop

Wrap yarn to make loop and pull through

4.Place the new loop onto the LH needle to form a new stitch (st) such that the RH needle tip is positioned again from  left to right and front to back within the st.

Slide onto needle

Slide the loop onto left hand needle ready to knit next stitch

5.Repeat steps 3 & 4 until the desired number of cast-on st are positioned on the LH needle.

Row of knitted cast-on stitches

Row of knitted cast-on stitches

6.The RS is signified by the waste-yarn tail being on the left.

Knitted cast-on

Knitted cast-on edge

Cable Cast-on
– easy to do, quick, very neat, does not curl up, elasticated but can be a little tight, a good solid hem.

1.Follow steps 1-4 from the knitted cast-on OR form two backwards loops on the LH needle.
2.Remove the RH needle tip from the loop of the second st and insert it instead between the first and second st.

Position needle

Slide right hand needle between 1st two stitches on left hand needle

3.Wrap the yarn clockwise around the RH needle, draw the yarn through and place the new loop on the LH needle as above.

Make loop

Wrap yarn and pull loop through

4.Repeat steps 2-3 until the desired number of st have been cast-on.

Row of cable cast-on stitches

Row of cable cast-on stitches

5.Purl these st to produce the first wrong-side (WS) row of the piece. The RS is signified by the waste-yarn tail being on the right.

Cabled cast-on edge

Cabled cast-on edge

Photographs and text copyright (c)onehandknits 2010. Not for redistribution.

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About Onehandknits

I am a former doctor now designing knitwear and teaching in SE London.
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