Monday, November 22, 2010

Pimp my cast-on!

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.


  1. Very nifty!
    I'm a long-tail cast-on peep, myself. I've ventured out a little for certain projects but I always go back to that one. (I DREAD the backwards-loop one. *shudder* Too loosey-goosy for me - I can NEVER make that one look neat.)

  2. Such talent. I've only taken one knitting class and in awe of anyone with this talent.

  3. You are so right, choosing the right cast on for you project is *almost* as important as choosing the right wine for your convenience store burrito!! You crack me up!!

  4. LOL @ Karen!
    How cool is your sample binder?!

  5. yeah, a tubular cast on rocks.. there are about 6 or 7 ways to get the effect--I use the no waste yarn method.. (i started with a 3 needle method 35 years ago, and learned the crochet method, (2 different ones with crochet/waste yarn before learning the no waste yarn method i use all the time now.
    how ever you do, it.. its great!

  6. Love your sampler binder!
    I use different cast on/bind offs depending on what I am knitting. The German Twisted cast ( on is also stretchy. And I also like Nancy Bush's Estonian cast on for socks (

  7. I am of the long-tail cast-on persuasion myself! I'd love to learn some new ones too. Your blog title = great. Made me laugh. :)

  8. I do long tail cast-on and also knitted cast-on.
    Time to try something new!

    Thanks for the inspiration...

  9. When I was a wee young knitter, all the knitters in the family used the backwards loop method. Now long tail is the one I use the most and it's funny to think that when I first tried it, I thought, "This is too hard! I'll never figure it out." I guess it's time to give a few others a test run.

  10. Hey, thanks for the musings on castons. I think I've tried that tubular at some point, but I would need the youtube videos to attempt it ever again. I certainly am a long-tail caston person, like most of your commenters, it seems. I also tend to use the Magic Cast whereever it is appropriate.


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