Beginner knitters often learn the strings of the craft from an experienced knitter or an online source. They are basically taught to hold knitting needles properly before being taught to make stitches. To cast on stitches on your needles is the first step in starting a knitting project that creates the foundation row of your pattern. But, even then this step is introduced only after you have the basic understanding of knit and purl stitches. There are many ways to cast stitches, each unique and different for beginners. The method to cast stitches is chosen according to a pattern or the skills of the knitter.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to cast on stitches for beginners using the long-tail cast-on method, which is commonly used and versatile:
Leave a tail of yarn of about 10-15 cm and make a loop. The tail end should be on top, and the working yarn (attached to the ball of yarn) should be underneath.
Insert the knitting needle through the loop from front to back, catching the working yarn.
Tighten the loop around the needle, creating a slip knot. Adjust the loop's size as needed, keeping in mind that the slip knot counts as your first stitch.
Step 2: Hold the yarn
Hold the knitting needle with the slip knot in your right hand (if you're right-handed) and the other needle in your left hand.
Place the tail end of the yarn over your left thumb, and hold the working yarn (attached to the ball of yarn) over your left index finger. This forms a slingshot position for the yarn.
Step 3: Make the first stitch
Insert the right-hand needle into the loop on your left thumb, going from front to back.
Step 4: Wrap the yarn
With your right index finger, bring the working yarn under and then over the right-hand needle (from left to right). This action wraps the yarn around the needle.
Step 5: Pull through the loop
Still holding the yarn with your left index finger, pull the right-hand needle gently and smoothly to the right, pulling the loop on your thumb off. As you do this, the new stitch will form on the right-hand needle.
Step 6: Tighten the stitch
Carefully pull the tail end of the yarn to tighten the stitch you just made. Be cautious not to pull it too tight; you want the stitch to be snug but still able to move along the needle smoothly.
Step 7: Repeat
Repeat the steps until you have cast on the desired number of stitches for your project. Each time you create a new stitch, make sure to maintain an even tension to keep the stitches consistent in size. Count the stitches on your knitting needle to ensure you have the correct number for your pattern.
congratulations! You've successfully cast on your stitches using the long-tail cast-on method. From here, you can start working on your chosen knitting project, following the pattern instructions. It is always important to start right with your knitting project so make sure to have uniform yarn tension while making the loops. If you are not confident with tension, you can opt for bigger needle sizes to cast stitches and then move them to the right size to continue with the knitting project.
Besides the long tail cast on method, there are many other techniques to cast stitches. You can cast on stitches with two knitting needles with the knitted cast on. A variation of the long tail, you can also cast stitches with your thumb which is known as the thumb cast on. As you advance in your knitting skills, you can add more and more methods to your knitting repertoire.