Tag Archives: cast-ons

Linkety-link, part 8

This week’s regularly scheduled post isn’t going to happen (due to a confluence of personal events), so it’s a good thing I have a bunch of links saved up!




Until next week!

Mellow long-tail cast-on

Edited to add, as of 27 Jan 2020: This is all very well and good if you want an extra loose bottom edge, but this is an easier method.

(This will work for Tunisian crochet as well as knitting; you’ll want to use a knitting needle alongside the crochet hook.)

I was fiddling around with using the basic long-tail cast on with two needles when I had an inspiration for another way to use two needles to make long-tail cast-ons even more relaxed. There are at least four long-tail cast-ons; the principle should work with all of them. (I haven’t ever seen anyone else use this method, though of course that doesn’t mean that someone else hasn’t thought of it.)

One of the constraints on the tightness of long-tail cast-ons is the size of the loops that are knit into when creating the stitches. The tightness of these loops is usually controlled by how tightly the knitter pulls on the tail when forming the stitches. However, if you insert the second needle into these loops as you go, you can force them to be larger.

I’ve used two needles the same size in this demo, but it’s probably better to use a smaller needle for the second one—in my opinion, the bottom loops look sloppy otherwise.


Holding two needles together, start by working the first pair of stitches of the long-tail cast on as usual, except that it should be worked only on the main needle. (The first stitch on my needles is just wrapped around, as shown in these excellent instructions by TECHknitter; scroll down for the no-slip-knot version.)20130506-135051.jpg

Before starting to make the next stitch, catch the thumb loop on the second needle. Snug everything up as usual, and go on.

Once you have cast on all the stitches required for your work, pull the second needle out of the loops, and continue onward.

Please let me know how this goes for you!

Foundation cast-on


Last week, I was playing around with variations on the foundation base chain, and came up with this two yarn version:


When I looked at that for a while, I started thinking again. The white chain looked like the chain on a bag of pet food. So I unraveled it and stuck the resulting loose stitches on my Tunisian crochet hook. It looked like a cast on.

f5914688-2f5944960-2It was a cast on.

It’s actually nicely stretchy, and you can work it directly onto a knitting needle or afghan hook without the chain across the top!

Continue reading Foundation cast-on

Meditations on the foundation base chain

P4059793-2What’s this fancy edging for this knitted swatch? Well, I started with this:


The crocheters among you will probably recognize that that’s a foundation base chain. (If you’re a crocheter and don’t know about them, they’re a wonderful replacement for a base chain.)

It turns out that it makes an excellent knitting cast on, like a fancy braid at the bottom. Speaking of which, it would also make gorgeous braid for decorating sewing. Work it up in thin shiny silk and I expect it would look really fancy.

(There are some new things in this post for crocheters as well as knitters.)

Continue reading Meditations on the foundation base chain

Scalloped cast on


I saw a link to a phototutorial for making this cast on on Pinterest, so I tried it out for knitting and Tunisian crochet.

Pretty cool, isn’t it? I wish I could credit the original instructions for it; the page linked from Pinterest was using photos that had a watermark for a Russian LJ blog, but I couldn’t find the original there, either.


  1. Using a long-tail cast on, cast ten stitches onto a knitting needle and crochet hook held together.
  2. Yarn over the crochet hook, and pull the loop through those ten stitches, holding the hook against the needle so it doesn’t catch on anything.
  3. Slip all ten stitches off the knitting needle.
  4. Slip the new stitch from the hook to the needle.
  5. Slip the original tenth stitch back onto the needle and pull on the yarn to create a scallop.

This all creates two stitches for now, but you’ll add three more on the next row, so each scallop counts as five stitches cast on. Repeat as desired and turn.

I picked up and knit a stitch from the corner of the end scallop, and liked the effect.

This is as shown in the tutorial: knit one of the cast on stitches, then cast on three stitches. (I like to do three yarn overs and then knit through the back loops on the next row to twist them, as in my blog post about dealing with multiple yarn overs.) Knit the second cast on stitch and repeat to the end.

Since I’d picked up and knit a stitch from the corner of the end stitch, I did the same at this end, so it would match.

I thought I’d try it with Tunisian crochet, and it came out beautifully. Where the knit version has a larger knitting needle and smaller crochet hook, I switched things around for the Tunisian crochet since the stitches needed to end up on the hook.


Each scallop has two loops. Work the first loop you come to as usual, then chain two (where the knit version of this has cast on three) then work the next loop. Work to the end, and voila!


A trick for making long-tail cast on looser

(Good for Tunisian crochet as well as knitting.)

Some people will tell you to do a long-tail cast on with a larger needle or with two regular needles doubled up.


Then pull out the extra needle. But why? Doesn’t that mean you’ll just end up with loose stitches but the bottom part still tight?


Well, have a look at this:


If you stretch the stitches out as far as they’ll go, you might hear a quiet pop-pop-pop! (Don’t worry; nothing broke.)


When you let the stitches relax, look what happens. The bottom part has moved up into the stitches, kind of shortening them, and the whole thing is more relaxed. It will only work up to a point, but it’s a lot better than you might think.

Let’s have a look at the same thing in Tunisian crochet.


I used a knitting needle with my Tunisian hook because it would be harder to pull another hook out.


Here you can see how much less squinchy that first row of looks than in this photo where I didn’t use this technique:

20130317-150821.jpg Ta-dah!

Knitting cast-ons and Tunisian crochet

In my playing around with Tunisian crochet, mostly in the form of swatches, I’ve fallen in love with using knitting cast-ons instead of the usual crocheted base chain. (I really dislike the usual crocheted chain. I have trouble getting a good gauge.)

There are lots and lots of knitting cast-ons in the world. I’m going to show you what Tunisian crochet looks like with three of them, and then I’m going to show you a different experiment. I’m not going to explain how to do them, because there’s a lot of good introductory material out there. I will link to videos elsewhere; just imagine that there’s an afghan hook there instead of a knitting needle.

There are some things I’m not entirely happy with in these swatchlets. However, I learned from my mistakes, and so I’m going to share both the mistakes and my thoughts about them. Learning is never wasted!

First up, the long-tail cast-on (here’s the video at knittinghelp.com):

20130317-150821.jpg(click on the pictures in this post to make them bigger)

This swatch shows two rows of Tunisian crochet, including the cast-on row. That first row looks a little squinchy, doesn’t it? It’s tight and stiff. If I were to do this again, I would use a larger hook for that first row.

I like the way the edge looks like a twisted rope, just as it does in knitting.

Next up, a different kind of long-tail cast-on, often called Twisted German (video at knittinghelp.com):

20130317-150816.jpgAgain, that’s two rows of TSS; a bigger hook would probably help that first row a lot. It works well for me to use a larger needle in casting on that row for knitting when this sort of things happens.

Thirdly, a cable-cast on (video at knittinghelp.com).

20130317-150827.jpgI used a larger hook to help me work the stitches (you’ll need an extra hook or knitting needle to form the stitches on your afghan hook). You can see that this made a huge difference.

I do like the way this looks like a braided edge. This edge would actually be the back of the cast-on row for knitting, and this is an artifact of this not being a long-tail cast-on. The solution to this is to purl the stitches instead of knitting them as you’re casting on. You’ll see this in the next example.

I was reading the Tunisian Crochet group on Ravelry, where I saw someone suggest using a foundation base chain for Tunisian instead of the usual crochet chain. I thought that was an excellent idea. And then, wait a minute, why don’t I try using a knitted cast on for a row of Tunisian and then use that as a base for regular crochet?

Hence this next swatch:

20130317-150833.jpgI used the cable cast-on, only purling instead of knitting my way across. I kept the larger hook for working the stitches, and am I glad I did! It’s not very stretchy compared to the crochet stitches.

I like this a lot, regardless, and might prefer it to a foundation base chain for regular crochet in certain circumstances. I might try making the afghan hook larger as well; I think the return chain is what’s making the cast-on tight.

There you have it! I will probably return to this theme in future posts. I have some ideas for other knitting cast-ons that might be interesting with Tunisian crochet, and therefore interesting as a foundation for regular crochet as well.

I’d also love to see what you come up with!

Picot cast on for Tunisian crochet

I was a knitter before I was a crocheter, and so it made sense to me to use knitting cast ons for my Tunisian crochet. Not that I’ve done all that much in the way of finished objects with Tunisian crochet yet (I keep playing with swatches), but the one I’m proudest of used Judy Becker’s Magic Cast on as the join between a Tunisian crochet sweater yoke and a knitted body. But I digress.


A pretty cast on in knitting is the picot cast on, and I was wondering if it would transfer successfully to Tunisian crochet. The answer is yes, though it doesn’t look quite the same. (One could, of course, do a knitted picot cast on in the traditional way and then use it for Tunisian crochet, and then it would be identical.)

The first step is to cast five stitches onto your hook. I used the knitting on cast on for this swatch, but the cable cast on would also work.

You’ll need an extra crochet hook or knitting needle the same diameter or a smidge larger than your Tunisian hook.

First, put either a backwards loop or a slip knot on your Tunisian hook.


Put your other hook through this stitch


and pull a loop through. Slip this loop onto your Tunisian hook, leaving both hooks in the loop.


Pull a loop through with the extra hook. Place this new stitch on the hook and continue until there are at least five loops on the Tunisian hook.


Now, turn your hook around. If you had come to the end of a normal row of Tunisian stitches, you would work back all the way, right? In this case, you’ll work back so that two stitches are consumed.

Turn the hook around and cast on four more stitches.

Turn your hook and finish off two more stitches.

Repeat as desired. You can space the picots further apart by casting on more stitches between each picot so they’ll line up with a particular stitch pattern, if you like. You can also make the picots shorter or longer by making them take up fewer or more stitches.

Have you used knitting cast-ons for Tunisian crochet? What do you think about them?

Triangle lace cast-on


Sometimes I come up with ideas and then never get around to doing anything with them. I was reminded of one such idea recently, when a friend shared a link to a fantastic scallopy, lacy cast-on posted at Twist Collective, called the Eyelet Cast-on . Go have a look and add it to your repertoire; it’s quite beautiful, and useful for lace, as it will accommodate blocking.

Anyway, back when I was first discovering more than the one or two cast-ons I learned as a beginner, I came up with something related. It has a number of different qualities from the Eyelet Cast-on: one, it’s not very elastic or loose; two, it has only one chain in between each new stitch on the needle, and three, the yarn overs are not twisted. The instructions as given will produce an odd number of stitches. There’s an easy way to make an even number of stitches, but that is left as an exercise for the reader. (Why? Because.)

Aside from your yarn and your knitting needles, you probably also want a crochet hook the same size as your knitting needle (or maybe a titch larger).

Here we go!


First, put a backwards loop (also known as a half hitch) on your needle.


Next, insert your crochet hook into the loop from the left.


Pull a loop through. Now, in ordinary knitted-on cast on, you would put this stitch on the needle. instead…


Pull another loop through. (Chain one, in crochet terms.)

Now put that stitch on the needle, leaving the hook in the stitch.

Pull a loop through and chain one. Put the new stitch on the needle, and repeat as desired, ending with putting a stitch on the needle.

Now what?

Knit the first stitch (no, don’t slip one). Now repeat the following two things to the end of the row: yarn over, knit one.

I now recommend working one plain row or round of stockinette before going on to anything fancier, but you may (as always when it comes to the needle arts) do as you wish, so long as it produces results you like and nobody gets hurt.

As you can see, I’ve added a photo!

the English Cast On, illustrated

I originally posted a different version of this on the Advanced Knitting community on Livejournal. I hope I have learned from my mistakes; I certainly appreciate the commenters over there for making me reformulate my thoughts on the subject!


Sometime in my teens, I learned this cast-on, which has remained my favorite. I might have learned it from my grandmother; I can’t remember, and my grandmother’s memory is unreliable at best at this point, so I’ll never know for sure. I’m a little sad about this, but so be it.

I didn’t know a name for it until recently, when I checked Nancy Bush’s Folk Socks out of the library. It was the first place I had ever seen it described. Armed with a name, I searched on Google, and found only two sets of instructions for it, both text. Here’s the links, just in case they help clarify the instructions I’m providing: Britt Scharringhausen, Lord Gazmuth.

But there’s no illustrated instructions online that I can find, and I’d like to show other people how to do it, as I think this cast-on has a number of advantages:

  • It’s quite stretchy. (I can usually use it for sock cuffs.)
  • Because it’s knit onto the needle, you can cast on in pattern. I only show casting on with knit stitch here, but you can also knit and purl (handy when you’re about to do ribbing), and I imagine you could do the first row of a lace pattern with it.
  • I think it’s attractive.
  • At the end of casting on, you’ll have completed your first row of knitting.

There are some potential disadvantages:

  • If you aren’t comfortable with throwing the yarn around the needle with your right hand when knitting, this isn’t for you. (So if you’re exclusively a Continental-style knitter, this won’t be comfortable.)
  • You need to remember that you’ve completed your first row of knitting after casting on. Note: for some stitch patterns, if knit in the round, you may want to purl your cast-on instead of knitting.
  • If you are using the tail as a marker for something, it might be at the opposite end from where you’re used to.
  • As with the more usual long-tail cast on, you’ll need to allow enough tail for the cast on (or else use a separate length of yarn, in which case you’ll need to weave in extra ends).

This is a long tail cast on. It’s not the usual method that’s called “long tail” by default. There’s an extra twist in each of the loops created by the tail. The result is identical to the Twisted German cast-on; it’s a different method for arriving at the same result.

First, figure out how you’re going to do the tail. I’ve seen suggestions for the long-tail cast on of leaving a tail that’s four times the width of your first row of knitting. I’ve also seen the suggestion of 1″ per stitch in thicker yarn (worsted) and 1/2″ per stitch for things like lace weight. Alternately, you can leave about a yard of tail, cast on 20 stitches, mark the ends of the tail yarn used in the cast on, unravel it, and figure out how much yarn you used per stitch. Also leave some extra for weaving in once you’re done knitting. Or you can use a separate length of yarn* from another ball of the same yarn, a contrast color, or the other end of a center-pull ball.

First, lay the yarn over your palm so that the tail end is trailing off the pinky side of your palm (it’s usually much longer than I show here; I’m just trying to make it clear which end is which) and the ball end is lying over the base of your thumb.

Close your fingers over the yarn. (I usually leave my index finger pointing up, contrary to this picture, but it doesn’t really matter.)

Loop the ball end of the yarn around the tip of your thumb so that the ball yarn is between your index finger and the tail yarn.

With your index finger, reach over the ball yarn and under the tail yarn.

Here’s another, closer view.

Straighten your index finger.

Drop the yarn off your thumb and pull the loop tight around your index fingertip. You now have what is essentially a twisted backward loop on your index finger. I kind of think of my finger as a flexible knitting needle when I do this cast on.

I did a little fiddling with two yarns so that you can see the structure of the loop more clearly.

Pick up your knitting needle, put it knitwise through the loop on your finger, and knit the stitch off your finger, tugging gently on the tail yarn to pull the stitch snug. (Note that the first stitch is a slip knot, so if you’d rather do that as the beginning of your cast-on, you can. Also, you can insert the needle purlwise if you want to cast on a purl stitch.)

Now repeat the procedure. I generally keep the tail yarn held beneath the fingers of my left hand as I cast on. You need to be careful to put the correct yarn under those fingers if you put everything down to do something else.

Here’s several stitches on the needle, after I stopped casting on.

I realized that the fuzzy yarn makes it hard to see the structure of the cast on, so here’s a couple more views with different yarn:

The tail yarn part of the cast on is a series of backward loops twisted an extra time. They lean to one side (from bottom left to top right).

Here’s a video:


*If you want to use a separate strand of yarn instead of a tail, make a slip knot in the end of it and put it on your needle. Don’t count it as a stitch. Cast on the number of stitches you want. When you can, drop the slip knot instead of knitting it.