Knitting Cast on Methods: A Definition Guide

Find Your Favorite Technique

To start knitting, you must first begin with a cast-on — which creates loops (or stitches) on the needle. There are many different ways to get stitches on the needle so you can knit them, and it may seem like there are more methods than there are because there are so many different names for the same thing.

All You Need to Know About Cast on Methods

This quick guide will run through some of the most popular methods for casting on, as well as some of their more popular names.

  • 01 of 07

    Wrap Cast On

    Wrap Cast On
    Wrap cast on. (c) Sarah White licensed

    The wrap cast on is one of the easiest to execute, but it's not the easiest to perform because it is somewhat difficult to keep an even tension when you knit with it.

    Uses: This method is a good choice for beginners because it is quick and easy. It's also a stretchy cast on, making it good for sweaters and socks. You can also use it on lace projects and with other patterns where you don't want the cast on edge to detract attention from the knitting.

    Also known as: loop cast on, e-wrap cast on, single cast on

  • 02 of 07

    Knit Cast On

    Knit Cast on
    Knit cast on. (c) Sarah White licensed

    The knit cast on is another easy method, and it has the added advantage of teaching the new knitter the knit stitch at the same time.

    Uses: Knit cast on is a good choice for all sorts of projects. It is relatively stretchy and easy to form.

    Also known as: knitted cast on, knitting on

  • 03 of 07

    Cable Cast On

    Cable cast on
    Cable cast on. (c) Sarah White licensed

    Cable cast on is similar to the knit cast on except the needle placement to make the new stitch is slightly different.

    Uses: This cast on method forms a firmer edge that is nice and even and looks like a cable. It isn't stretchy, so don't use it for hats or the bottoms of sweaters if you need them to be able to stretch.

    Also known as: No known aliases.

  • 04 of 07

    Long-Tail Cast On

    Long tail cast on.
    Long-tail cast on. (c) Sarah White licensed

    The long-tail cast on method is probably the most popular among experienced knitters. It does take a bit of practice to get this method down, but once you understand what you're doing it's quick and easy to get stitches on the needle.

    Uses: The long-tail cast on also counts as a row of knitting, which is nice. It is not as stretchy as some methods, but it's not too firm, either. It is a good all-purpose, middle-of-the-road cast on method.

    Also known as: double cast on, continental cast on, sling shot, two-strand, Y cast on

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Provisional Cast On

    provisional cast on
    Tearing out a provisional cast on. © Eileen Casey, licensed

    The provisional cast on is a great way to add stitches that you'll want to knit from again. You start with a bit of crochet, work into it with knitting and then, when you're ready, you can take out the crochet chain and you're left with live knitting stitches.

    Uses: The provisional cast on is useful when knitting the border onto a garment or joining two pieces of knitting to work the rest in the round. 

    Also known as: No known aliases.

  • 06 of 07

    German Twisted Cast On

    German Twisted Cast on.
    German Twisted Cast On. (c) Sarah White licensed

    German twisted cast on is a great choice for socks. It is a similar method to the long-tail cast on but builds in an extra twist that gives the cast on edge more elasticity.

    Uses: I know knitters who rave about this cast on method for socks because it is both stretchy and neat.

    Also known as: twisted German cast on, old Norwegian cast on

  • 07 of 07

    Frilled Cast On

    Eileen Casey shares the cast on she developed to add a frilly edge to a project while casting on.

    Uses: It's great for girly projects like the Little Girl's Sundress, but can easily be added to any project that needs a little something special.

    Also known as: frilled edging cast on, Picot cast on, Picot hem