Long Tail Cast On
Method #2 For Casting On
The long tail cast on method is the one that I personally use for nearly all of my projects.
I find it gives me a neat edge with enough stretch, and most importantly for me (since I'm impatient); it's quick!
Beginner's advice: If you try both this method and the knitted cast on method, you can then pick your favourite and you'll likely be able to stick to it for most items you knit.
Summary of the long tail cast on technique:
You will need just one needle (any type) for this method.
The first step is to tie a slip knot in your yarn. As the name suggests, you must leave a long tail of yarn on one side of this knot.
I give a guide of 12" of tail for every 20 stitches you want to cast on. So for example, if you want to cast on 30 stitches, leave a tail of about 18".
This measurement doesn't need to be accurate and this guide is an overestimation; it's better to overestimate than underestimate after all!
Tie this slip knot onto your needle and tighten.
With the needle in your right hand, keep the tail end of yarn towards you throughout this process, and the working yarn away from you.
Feel free to use the index finger of your right hand to keep the slip knot where you want it on the needle.
Then take the bottom 3 fingers of your left hand and wrap them lightly around both strands of yarn. Take the index finger and thumb of the same hand, push them through the centre of the 2 strands of yarn, then move them outwards and upwards to give you the 'slingshot' style positioning.
It may feel a bit of an awkward position to get into at first, but after some practice it will be second nature, honest!
You will then need to guide the needle tip under the strand of yarn in front of your thumb, from front to back, and then lift up.
Next, take the needle tip over the strand of yarn in front of your index finger, then behind and under it, before lifting up again.
The needle tip should then be lowered down through the centre of the loop of yarn around your thumb, before being guided towards you and upwards.
Release the loop of yarn from your thumb and use your now-free thumb to tighten the formed stitch onto the needle.
You have now cast on a stitch. Repeat this process until you have cast on the number of stitches you want.
It seems like there are a lot of steps but once you have practiced, it's a very efficient and fast method.
At the end of the video I have also included instructions on how to start this method without a slip knot, in case you want to shave a few seconds off your casting on time!