Common Knitting Cast on Methods

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There are several skills needed to start knitting. Most importantly, to even begin a project, you must first learn how to cast-on. This is the action that creates loops (or stitches) on the needle. There are many different ways to get stitches on the needle so you can knit them, but while it may seem like there are hundreds of methods, there are actually a variety of different names for some of the same techniques.

Prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed and take a peek at our roundup of methods so you can master cast-ons and feel confident in your skillset. This quick guide will run through some of the most popular techniques for casting on, as well as some of their more popular names.

  • 01 of 07

    Wrap Cast On

    Wrap Cast On

    Sarah White / The Sprue

    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

    Sarah White / The Spruce

    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

    Sarah White / The Spruce

    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.

    Sarah White / The Spruce

    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, slingshot, two-strand, Y cast on
    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Provisional Cast On

    provisional cast on

    Eileen Casey

    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.

    Sarah White / The Spruce

    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: Knitters 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 that 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