Knitting is a popular craft that allows you to create beautiful and functional items, such as scarves, sweaters, and blankets. If you’re just starting out, one of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to cast on, which is the process of creating the first row of stitches on your needles. One popular method is the long tail cast on, which creates a neat and versatile edge. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to cast on using the long tail method.
To start, you’ll need a pair of knitting needles and some yarn. The long tail cast on requires you to estimate the length of yarn needed for your project, so make sure you have enough yarn on your ball or skein. You’ll also need some extra yarn for the tail, which will be used to create the stitches.
Begin by making a slipknot with the yarn. To do this, create a loop with the yarn and insert the tail end through the loop. Pull the loop tight, but not too tight. Place the slipknot on one of the knitting needles, making sure that the tail end is hanging down and the working yarn is at the back.
Hold the knitting needle with the slipknot in your right hand, and the other knitting needle in your left hand. With your left thumb and forefinger, hold the tail end and the working yarn together, creating a V shape. Insert the right needle into the loop of the slipknot from right to left, going under the left-hand needle.
Pro tip: Keep the loops on the right needle loose, but not too loose. This will make it easier to knit the first row.
With your right hand, bring the yarn under the right-hand needle and over the left-hand needle, creating a new loop. This loop will be your first cast on stitch. Slip the loop off the left-hand needle and onto the right-hand needle. Repeat this process until you have cast on the desired number of stitches for your project.
Once you’ve cast on all your stitches, you’re ready to start knitting! With the working yarn and the tail end held in your right hand, insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left-hand needle. Knit or purl the stitch as directed by your pattern, and continue working your project.
By learning the long tail cast on method, you’ll have a versatile and professional-looking edge to your knitting projects. Practice this technique and soon you’ll be casting on with confidence!
What is Long Tail Knitting?
Long tail knitting is a technique used in knitting to cast on stitches. It is called “long tail” because it involves using a long strand of yarn to create the foundation row of stitches.
The long tail cast on is a popular method among knitters because it creates a neat and flexible edge. The technique is versatile and can be used for a variety of projects, including scarves, hats, sweaters, and more.
Here’s how the long tail knitting technique works:
- Start by making a slipknot, leaving a long tail of yarn.
- Hold the slipknot in your left hand.
- With your right hand, position the needle through the slipknot, holding it below the left thumb and index finger.
- Using your right hand, wrap the long tail of yarn around the needle from back to front, creating a loop.
- Pull the loop through the slipknot, creating a new stitch on the needle.
- Repeat steps 3-5 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches.
Long tail knitting is a fundamental skill for knitters and is often one of the first techniques learned. It is a versatile method that can be used for a variety of projects and creates a professional-looking edge.
Why Learn to Cast on Long Tail Knitting?
Long tail knitting is a popular method for casting on stitches in knitting projects. It offers several advantages over other casting on techniques, making it a valuable skill to learn for both beginner and experienced knitters. Here are some reasons why you should consider learning to cast on using the long tail method:
- Efficiency: When casting on using the long tail method, you create multiple stitches at once, saving time compared to casting on each stitch individually. This makes it a faster and more efficient technique, especially for larger projects.
- Stability: The long tail cast-on creates a secure and stable edge for your knitting project. The stitches are firmly anchored to the needle, reducing the chances of them coming loose or unraveling during the knitting process.
- Flexibility: Long tail knitting allows for flexibility in the tension of your stitches. You can adjust the tightness or looseness of your cast-on stitches to achieve the desired effect for your project. This flexibility is particularly useful when working with different yarn weights or stitch patterns.
- Versatility: The long tail cast-on method works well for a wide range of knitting projects, including scarves, sweaters, hats, and blankets. It creates a neat and professional-looking edge that complements various knitting patterns and designs.
- Widely Used: Long tail knitting is a widely used and recognized technique in the knitting community. By learning this method, you will be able to follow knitting patterns more easily and expand your knitting repertoire.
Overall, learning to cast on using the long tail method is a valuable skill that will enhance your knitting experience. It offers efficiency, stability, flexibility, and versatility, making it a preferred casting on technique for many knitters. So, take the time to master this technique, and you’ll be ready to tackle a variety of knitting projects with confidence!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Before you begin casting on using the long tail method for knitting, you will need to gather the necessary materials:
- Yarn: Choose a yarn of your choice. Make sure it is appropriate for your knitting project and that the color and thickness suit your preference.
- Knitting needles: Select a pair of knitting needles that are suitable for the yarn you have chosen. The size of the needles will depend on the desired gauge of your project.
- Tape measure: This will be useful for measuring the length of yarn needed for the long tail cast on.
- Scissors: You will need a pair of scissors to cut the yarn once you have determined the appropriate length for the long tail.
- Stitch markers (optional): If you are working on a knitting project that requires stitch markers, have a few handy to mark specific stitches or sections.
- Row counter (optional): A row counter can be helpful for keeping track of the number of rows or repeats in your pattern.
Once you have gathered all of these materials, you will be ready to move on to the next step of the long tail cast on process.
What You’ll Need
To learn how to cast on using the long tail knitting method, you will need the following supplies:
- Yarn: Choose a yarn that is appropriate for your project. A medium-weight or worsted-weight yarn is usually a good choice for beginners.
- Knitting Needles: Select a pair of knitting needles that are suitable for your yarn. The size of the needles will depend on the thickness of your yarn and the tension you want to achieve in your knitting.
- Tape Measure: Having a tape measure handy can be useful for measuring the length of your long tail and for checking the size of your project as you knit.
- Scissors: A pair of scissors is essential for cutting the yarn at the end of your project or if you need to change colors.
- Tail Yarn: The long tail knitting method requires a tail yarn that is longer than the width of your project. This can be a different color or the same color as your working yarn.
- Stitch Marker: While not strictly necessary, a stitch marker can be helpful for marking the beginning of your round or the location of a specific stitch.
With these basic supplies, you will be well-equipped to learn how to cast on using the long tail knitting method. Once you have gathered everything you need, you can move on to the next steps in the process.
Tips for Choosing Yarn and Needles
Choosing the right yarn and needles for your knitting project is essential to achieve the desired results. Here are some tips to help you make the best choices:
Consider the Project
First, consider the type of project you are going to knit. Different projects require different yarn weights and needle sizes. For example, a scarf may require a thicker yarn and larger needles, while a delicate lace shawl may require a finer yarn and smaller needles. Think about the end use of the project and the type of fabric you want to create.
Yarn weight refers to the thickness and size of the yarn. Yarns are categorized into different weights, ranging from lace weight to super bulky. The yarn weight will determine the size of the stitches and the overall drape of your project. Make sure to choose a yarn weight that is suitable for your project and the desired outcome.
Needle size is also an important consideration. The size of the needle will determine the gauge of your knitting, which affects the size and tension of your stitches. You can find recommended needle sizes on the yarn label or in the pattern instructions. It is always a good idea to make a gauge swatch before starting your project to ensure the correct needle size is used.
Consider the fiber content of the yarn you choose. Different fibers have different properties and characteristics. For example, wool is warm and elastic, while cotton is cool and breathable. Some fibers may also require special care when washing and blocking. Read the yarn label to understand the fiber content and choose a yarn that is suitable for your project and preferences.
Color and Texture
Lastly, consider the color and texture of the yarn. Yarn comes in a wide range of colors and textures, which can greatly enhance the visual appeal of your project. Think about the color palette and the overall look you want to achieve. Consider how the yarn texture will affect the stitch definition and the finished fabric.
By considering these tips when choosing yarn and needles, you can ensure a successful knitting project that meets your expectations and creates beautiful results.
Step 2: Measure Your Tail
Before starting the long tail cast-on, you will need to measure the length of the tail yarn that you will use to create your cast-on stitches.
To determine the appropriate length for the tail, you can use a general rule of thumb, which suggests that the tail should be roughly three times the width of the finished project. This extra length is needed to ensure that you have enough yarn to comfortably create all the necessary stitches.
To measure your tail, take the end of your yarn and hold it in your hand. Extend your arm and measure the distance from your fingertips to your shoulder. This will provide you with an estimate of the length of yarn you will need.
Alternatively, you can use a measuring tape or ruler to measure the desired length directly. Simply wrap the yarn around the measuring device until you reach the desired length, and then cut the yarn.
It is better to have a slightly longer tail than a shorter one, as it is easier to work with more yarn than to run out of yarn in the middle of your cast-on.
Once you have measured your tail, you are now ready to proceed to the next step of the long tail cast-on process.
How to Determine Tail Length
When casting on using the long tail method, it’s important to determine the appropriate length of the tail before you begin. The tail length will vary depending on the number of stitches you need to cast on and the thickness of your yarn. Here’s how you can determine the tail length:
- Estimate the length: As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need approximately 3 inches of tail for each stitch you cast on. This estimation works well for medium-weight yarns and average-sized projects. For example, if you need to cast on 20 stitches, you’ll want to start with a tail that’s at least 60 inches long.
- Measure a sample: If you’re unsure about the recommended estimation, you can always cast on a few sample stitches to determine how much yarn is used per stitch. Measure the length of yarn used for each stitch and calculate the average. Multiply the average length by the number of stitches needed to get the tail length. This method is more accurate and suitable for projects that require a specific length.
Keep in mind that it’s better to have a slightly longer tail than a shorter one. You can always trim the excess yarn once you’ve finished casting on. Having a longer tail ensures that you won’t run out of yarn in the middle of casting on and will give you extra flexibility in your knitting.
In summary, when determining the tail length for the long tail cast on, you can either estimate based on the number of stitches or measure a sample to calculate the exact length. It’s always a good practice to have a slightly longer tail to avoid running out of yarn during the casting on process.
Adjusting Tail Length for Different Stitches
When casting on with the long tail method, the length of the tail will vary depending on the type of stitch you are using. Different stitches have different yarn requirements, so it’s important to adjust the length of your tail accordingly.
Here are some general guidelines for adjusting the tail length for different stitches:
- Knit Stitch: For the basic knit stitch, you will generally need about 1 inch of tail for every stitch you plan to cast on. This means that if you are casting on 20 stitches, you will need at least a 20-inch tail.
- Purl Stitch: The purl stitch also requires about 1 inch of tail per stitch. So, if you are casting on 20 stitches in the purl stitch, you will need a 20-inch tail.
- Ribbing: Ribbing is a combination of knit and purl stitches. To determine the tail length for ribbing, you can use the average of the tail lengths needed for the knit and purl stitches. For example, if you are casting on 20 stitches for ribbing, you may need a tail that is around 20 inches long.
- Lace Stitches: Lace stitches typically require more yarn than basic knit or purl stitches. Depending on the complexity of the lace pattern, you may need to add extra length to your tail. It’s always a good idea to check the pattern instructions for specific recommendations.
Keep in mind that these guidelines are just general recommendations and may vary depending on your knitting tension, yarn weight, and personal preference. It’s always a good idea to make a practice swatch before starting your project to ensure that you have enough tail length for your desired stitch count.
By adjusting the tail length for different stitches, you can ensure that you have enough yarn to complete your project without running out or having excess yarn leftover.
Step 3: Make a Slip Knot
A slip knot is the first step in casting on using the long tail knitting method. It is a loop that will be used to secure the yarn to the knitting needle and create a foundation for the rest of your stitches.
Follow these steps to make a slip knot:
- Take the end of your yarn and form a loop by crossing the longer tail over the shorter tail.
- Hold the crossed point of the yarn with your non-dominant hand, using your thumb and index finger.
- Take the longer tail of the yarn and loop it under the shorter tail, pulling it through the middle of the loop you created in step 1. This will form a knot.
- Hold onto the knot with your non-dominant hand and use your dominant hand to adjust the size of the loop. The loop should be big enough to easily slide onto your knitting needle, but not too loose.
Once you have made your slip knot, you are ready to move on to the next step in casting on using the long tail method.
How to Make a Slip Knot
A slip knot is the first step in casting on long tail knitting. It creates a loop that will be used to start the knitting process. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a slip knot:
- Start by leaving a long tail of yarn, approximately 6-8 inches, at the end of the yarn skein.
- Mentally divide the tail and the end of the yarn into two separate strands.
- Take the tail end of the yarn in your left hand and hold it in a “U” shape, with the longer end hanging down.
- Using your right hand, reach through the loop created by the “U” shape and grab the longer end of the yarn.
- Pull the longer end of the yarn through the loop and tighten the knot by pulling both ends in opposite directions.
- You have now created a slip knot. It should be snug, but not too tight.
Remember to practice making a slip knot a few times to get comfortable with the technique. Once you have mastered this step, you will be ready to move on to casting on for your long tail knitting project.
What is long tail knitting cast on?
Long tail knitting cast on is a popular method of starting a knitting project. It creates a neat and stretchy edge and is often used for ribbing or other projects that require a little bit of stretch.
How do you do a long tail cast on in knitting?
To do a long tail cast on in knitting, you will need a long tail of yarn. Start by making a slipknot near the end of your yarn, leaving a long tail. Then, insert your needle through the slipknot and tighten it. Hold the needle with the slipknot in your right hand, and wrap the long tail of yarn around your thumb and index finger of your left hand. Use your right hand needle to pick up the yarn and make stitches on your left hand needle. Continue this process until you have the desired number of stitches.
Can you use any type of yarn for long tail cast on?
You can use any type of yarn for long tail cast on, but some yarns work better than others. Thinner yarns may be a bit trickier to work with, as the stitches can easily slip off the needle. Thicker yarns may create a bulkier edge. It’s best to experiment with different yarns to see what works best for your project.
Can you use long tail cast on for all knitting projects?
Long tail cast on can be used for most knitting projects, especially those that require a neat and stretchy edge. It is commonly used for ribbing, as it provides the perfect amount of stretch. However, for projects that require a firmer edge, such as some lace patterns, other cast on methods may be more suitable.
Is long tail cast on the only way to start a knitting project?
No, long tail cast on is not the only way to start a knitting project. There are many different cast on methods, each with their own unique characteristics. Some other common cast on methods include the knitted cast on, cable cast on, and the provisional cast on. It’s helpful to learn a few different cast on methods so you can choose the one that best suits your project.