How to Cast on Knitting: the Knit Cast On

  • 01 of 08

    Learn How to Work the Knit Cast On

    How to Work the Knit Cast-On
    Mollie Johanson

    There are many different methods for casting on knitting, but the knit cast on is perfect for beginners because you learn how to form knit stitches as you add the stitches to the needle. This makes the learning process go a bit faster.

    This cast on isn't just useful for beginners; it's also a great choice for:

    Updated by Mollie Johanson.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Begin With a Slip Knot

    Make a Slip Knot
    Mollie Johanson

    Like most cast on techniques, the knit cast on begins with a slip knot.

    To make a slip knot:

    • Hold the yarn so that the tail of the yarn ball is hanging in front of your hand.
    • Wrap the yarn loosely behind the first two fingers of your left hand. The yarn should loop all the way around your fingers clockwise.
    • Take the part of the yarn that's attached to the ball and slip it back under the loop behind your fingers. 
    • Then slide this off your fingers, pull to tighten slightly, and slip it over the needle.
    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Open the Loop to Make a Stitch

    Insert the Right Needle in the Slip Knot
    Mollie Johanson

    Hold the needle with the slip knot in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand. The photos here show the right-handed method, but you can flip these if you're left-handed.

    To begin the cast on:

    • Slide the right-hand needle into the loop on the left-hand needle, from front to back. This is known as "opening the loop".

    If you're familiar with how to knit, this is exactly how you start making a knit stitch.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Wrapping the Yarn

    Wrap the Yarn Around the Needle
    Mollie Johanson

    The next step is exactly like the next step in forming a knit stitch.

    • Loop the working yarn (the yarn coming from the ball) over the point of the right-hand needle, going counter-clockwise.
    • Be careful not to loop the yarn over both needles.

    Hold the yarn loosely in your right hand. This is known as English knitting, right-hand knitting or "throwing," which is different from Continental knitting, in which you hold the yarn in the left hand. You can, of course, do the same thing continental style if that's the method you want to learn.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Bring the Loop Through to the Front

    Bring the Yarn Through the First Stitch
    Mollie Johanson

    Bring the looped yarn through to the front:

    • Keep holding onto the yarn with your right hand so it doesn't get away from you.
    • Slowly slide the right-hand needle down so the loop gets close to the tip of the needle, without sliding off.
    • In the same movement, bring the right-hand needle out from behind the left-hand needle. 
    • When the right-hand needle barely comes out from behind the left-hand needle, push the needle in front of the left needle.

    The goal of this step is to keep the loop you just made on the right-hand needle while bringing it to the front of the work. The slip knot stays on the left-hand needle.

    Although this can seem a bit awkward at first, with practice it becomes second nature and you will not even have to think about it.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Finish Adding the Stitch

    Slide the New Stitch on the Needle
    Mollie Johanson

    Add the new stitch you just formed to the needle:

    • Slide the loop that's on the right-hand needle onto the left-hand needle, next to the slip knot loop.

    Try to pay attention to the direction of the loop as you add it to the needle, keeping it consistent throughout the cast on. Turning the stitches produces different results.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    A New Stitch on the Needle

    Two Stitches Now on the Needle
    Mollie Johanson

    You now have two stitches on the left-hand needle, and you can continue on.

    Repeat these steps until you have the required number of stitches on your needle.

    Watch Your Tension

    As you cast on stitches, try not to pull too tightly as you wrap or your stitches will be hard to work on the next row. Your loops should be tight enough to stay on the needle, but loose enough to slide the second needle through with ease.

    This is a concept known as tension, and as you become a more experienced knitter, you'll learn what feels like the right amount of tension in your work.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Cast On Stitches and Start Knitting

    Continue Casting On Stitches
    Mollie Johanson

    Now that you have all the knit stitches cast on, you can continue with the rest of your project. 

    Once you feel comfortable with this method, try other ways to cast on stitches so you're ready for any knitting project you want to make!