Perhaps the most straightforward method, in which a new loop is
drawn through the previous loop and then added to the needle.
However, this method is deprecated for giving an untidy edge. It can
also be done in a purl version, or even a rib version.
A closely related technique, in which a new loop is drawn through
the space between the two previous loops and then added to the
needle. This edge is firm and has a neat, corded look; although it
may be too bulky with thick yarns.
An even simpler method, also called the simple cast-on or "backward
loop cast-on," which involves adding a series of half hitches to the
needle. This creates a very stretchy, flexible edge. It is a common
approach for adding several stitches to the edge in the middle of a
knitted fabric, but it is difficult to knit from and make even. A
variation is the twisted simple cast on, where you twist the new
loop around your thumb, with the yarn going around the back of your
thumb to the front as in the simple cast-on, but picking up the new
loop from the back side of the loop. This is tighter and neater, but
has less elasticity.
A common method, in which all the loops are made with one yarn,
while the other end (the dangling end from the original slip knot)
is used to secure the base of each loop. This method is also called
the "knit half-hitch cast on" or the "long-tail cast on." Although
popular, this method requires that the knitter estimate the length
of the dangling yarn before the stitches are cast on; if the
dangling yarn is too short, the knitter will run out of yarn with
which to secure the stitches before the full number of stitches have
been cast on. In that case, the knitter will have to pull everything
out, re-position the slip knot to give a longer tail, and begin anew.
Despite this shortcoming, it's a good all-around method for casting
on. Another variation for this method is to use two different yarns,
one the main yarns that you are using for your project, and the
second a piece of contrasting waste yarn. You attach the two with a
slip knot, and then using the waste or contrast yarn as your long
tail, start your row. This is useful if you need to pick up stitches
on your cast on edge in order to knit in the opposite direction. You
can also use it decoratively, making the contrast or waste yarn a
part of your pattern design.
To execute it, you start by figuring out how much yarn you expect
your cast-on row to require and pulling out that amount of yarn.
Once you have that, put a slip knot on the needle (this is not
absolutely necessary, since the first cast-on stitch will create a
slip knot for you in the process, but it is generally more secure to
start with a slip knot). Hold the needle in your right hand and the
yarn in your left, with the long tail pulled around your thumb and
hanging in front, and the yarn from ball around your first or second
finger, with the ball tail heading toward the back. Once you have
that, take the needle under the front of the long tail, picking up a
half hitch, then back to the yarn over your finger from the top side
of the yarn, pulling the loop through the half hitch you had formed.
This cast on can also be done in a purl and a twisted stitch version
Involves knitting onto a cast on row knitted in a contrasting yarn
with half as many stitches. Each knit stitch into the contrasting
stitches is followed by a yarn-over to double the number of stitches.
After several rows, a tuck is formed by knitting together the first
and third rows, forming a tube through which elastic can be pulled.
A neat edge, nicely suited for 1x1 ribbing.
Provisional cast-on (standard)
Also known as an "invisible cast-on," since the waste yarn used can
be pulled out later to allow the knitter to continue the knitting in
the opposite direction. This cast-on is also the best method for
double-knit fabrics, since the knitting has no boundary; the
knitting is continuous from one side of the fabric to the other.
Holding the ends of a waste yarn and the knitting yarn, make an
overhand knot. Place a needle held in the left hand between the two
yarns, with the knot below, the waste yarn held underneath and
parallel to the needle out to the right, and the knitting yarn up and
in front of the needle. Bring the knitting yarn down behind the
needle and in front of the waste yarn; up behind the waste yarn and
over-and-up then down in front of the needle; down behind the waste
yarn; then up in front of the needle. Repeat for each two stitches.
When desired number of stitches is reached, loosely fasten the waste
yarn and knit as usual with the knitting yarn. To take out the
provisional cast-on, unfasten the end of the waste yarn and
carefully pull it out, picking up the now loose loops on a needle
and knitting from the opposite direction of previous knit.
Double needle cast-on Braided cast-on
Frequently used in mitten edges ...
Uses a crochet hook or two knitting needles. To execute, hold a
knitting needle in left hand and crochet hook or second knitting
needle in right hand. Make a slip-knot in yarn and put it on the
crochet hook or right-hand needle. Wrap the yarn from the back of
the left-hand needle and over to the front, over the crochet hook or
right needle, pass the slip-knot loop over the wrap, leaving the new
loop on the crochet hook or right needle. Repeat, wrapping the yarn
over the left-hand needle before passing it over the crochet hook or
right needle to make a new loop, until you have one less stitch than
required. Place the last loop on the left-hand needle as the first
stitch that will be knitted. This cast-on creates an edge that mimics
a standard bind-off edge.
Crochet chain cast-on
For this you need to know how to do a simple crochet chain. Once you
have chained enough to equal the number of stitches you need, plus a
few extra, turn the chain over so that you see the bumps that were
forming as you pulled the yarn through the hole. Put your knitting
needle through those bumps and knit through it as normal. This
produces the same edge as knitting on.
Provisional chain cast-on
Simply the crochet chain cast-on using waste yarn; this is also an
"invisible cast-on" that can be pulled out later to allow knitting
in the opposite direction. knit a crochet chain in waste yarn,
loosely fastening the tail end. With knitting yarn, pick up the
chain-bumps, as for the crochet chain cast-on, to create the knitting
stitches. To take out the cast-on, simply pull out the tail of the
waste yarn at the fastened end and "zip off" the crochet chain. Pick
up the now loose loops and knit from the opposite direction of
previous knit. This is done in toe-up socks and shawls or scarves
with directional patterns that need to start from a center edge.
Used for circular beginnings, often for the toes of socks made
toe-up. It is fairly complicated, but is also invisible (as with the
provisional cast-on). You begin with two circular needles held one
above the other as you look at them (Upper called A, lower called
B). Place a slip-knot on B, and wrap the yarn up behind A. Then
begin wrapping it around both needles, down in front and up in back,
until the number of wraps equals half the number of stitches needed.
Slide B along, through the wraps, until they sit on the cable, and
the ends dangle on either side. Then bring the other, loose, end of
A up, and knit into the wraps still on A. Once you've knit all of
those wraps, pull A until the wraps are on the cable, and pull B so
that the tip of the needle holds the wraps, pointed to the end with
the knitting yarn. Bring up the other end of B and knit across the
wraps again. This completes one round. From here, you can continue
to knit around the stitches on the two circular needles, increasing
as desired, or switch to double pointed needles or a single circular
needle for the Magic Loop method of knitting circularly.