How to Long-Tail Cast on With 2 Strands of Yarn

  • 01 of 03

    Starting a 2 Strand Cast On

    Two-strand cast on slip knot
    The Spruce / Sarah E. White

    The long-tail cast on is a perennial favorite of a lot of knitters, but it can cause some frustration, particularly when you have to cast on a large number of stitches, and when it comes to estimating how long your long tail should be.

    Some methods can help you estimate, such as wrapping the yarn around the needle as many times as you need stitches or casting on 10 to 20 stitches, ripping them out then multiplying that length over however many stitches you need. We admit you can guess at an amount of yarn. However, you may come to realize you don't have enough yarn for the stitches you need. 

    With that as your alternative, this method of casting on with two strands of yarn is a huge time-saver. It does give you two extra ends to weave in, but we think it's worth it to be able to cast on without worry or measuring.

    To do it you'll need the knitting needle you're casting on to and two balls of the same yarn (or use a center-pull ball and work with both ends).

    To begin, leave a short tail of each yarn and make a slip knot, holding both strands together. This will not count as a stitch and will be removed later.

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Casting on Stitches

    Casting on with two strands of yarn
    The Spruce / Sarah E. White

    Now that you have both strands of yarn attached to the needle, all you have to do is perform the long-tail cast on as you normally would, holding one strand of yarn around your thumb and the other around your index finger.

    As you can see from the picture, the yarn that is around the thumb comes back to the front of the palm, and the yarn around the index finger comes back to the front as well. You can also hold down both strands lightly with your ring finger, but you may find a way to do this that is easier.

    Once you have the yarn in place on your hand, it's a simple matter of putting the needle under the strand on your thumb, going over the strand that's over the index finger and looping back underneath and pulling the stitch through. It doesn't sound simple, but if you're familiar with the long-tail cast on—and you should be before you try it this way—it is.

    Continue in this way, casting on as many stitches as you need for your pattern.

    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    Finishing the Cast On

    Removing a slip knot from cast on
    The Spruce / Sarah E. White

    As mentioned in step one, the slip knot you used to begin this cast on method is not counted as a stitch. Instead, when you are finished (or when you get back to it when you knit the first row if you aren't working on circular needles), slip this stitch off the needle and pull the strands, so it unravels.

    Then you can cut one of the strands of yarn and begin knitting with the other.

    In the end, you will have three strands of yarn to weave in from this cast on, but if you hate estimating or counting and tearing out that so often goes with using the long-tail cast on when you have a lot of stitches, you will find those extra ends well worth the effort.