Knitters--when's the last time you used a cast-on other than your go-to, can do it with your eyes closed cast-on? For me, that would be the long-tail cast-on. I worked damn hard to learn the thing, and I really can do it with my eyes closed, but seriously, is that a good enough reason to start every knitted project with a long-tail cast-on? That's like drinking nothing but chardonnay, no matter what you're eating. Think of how much better that 7-11 burrito would taste with a gutsy Cabernet instead. Branch out, people!
Last year I took a class from Ann Budd. It was all about casting on and binding off, and nothing but. Here's the binder of samples we put together in class:
Some of the cast-ons are pretty intense, and my sampler binder isn't always enough help. In those cases, I resort to Youtube videos, Ravelry, and blogs. I don't even want to think about knitting without them. I know some people think they're a crutch, but I wasn't born with a silver cable needle in my mouth. I'll take help from wherever I can get it. I also have a plethora of books that I really need to make better use of. I don't spend enough time just paging through them, picking up ideas and inspiration.
This is a ribbing that I cast on using a tubular crochet cast-on. I'm not talking about crocheting a chain and picking up the bumps for a provisional cast-on. This one is way more intense, but as you can see, it makes a very tailored edge, and I think well worth the extra time and work.
Here's the best link I've found for this particular cast-on. Romi, you are a genius! I'm promising myself that my next pair of cuff down socks is going to start with this cast-on. Cast-ons like this take your knitting to the next level. There's nothing wrong with the good old long-tail, and there are still plenty of times when it's appropriate, but sometimes you just have to walk on the wild side.