Casting on is the first step in knitting, because it provides the first row of loops, or stitches, on the needle. There are various ways of casting on, each with its own appropriate use, and here we outline the two most popular methods. Also we introduce the intriguing ‘invisible’ European method, which may be new to many experienced knitters.
The Thumb method (using only one needle) is an excellent way to begin most garments since it gives an elastic and therefore hard wearing edge. On the other hand, the Two needle (or English cable) version is necessary when you want to cast on extra stitches during the knitting itself for instance for a buttonhole or pocket.
The ‘invisible’ European method of casting on gives the fashionably flat-hemmed effect of a machine-made garment. It is a flexible strong finish which can hold ribbon or elastic and is very useful for designs which need casings.
The scarf on this page uses the Thumb method, while the waistcoat in Basic Wardrobe Knitting 1 introduces the ‘invisible’ casting on method.
Thumb Method—Using One Needle.
To cast on make a slip loop in the yarn about a yard from the end. (This length varies with the number of stitches to be cast on—l yard will cast on about one hundred stitches. A guide to the length required is—the width of the piece of knitting to be cast on, multiplied by three.)
1. Slip loop on to needle which should be held in the right hand.
2. Working with the short length of yarn in the left hand, pass this round the left thumb.
3. Insert the point of the needle under the loop on the thumb, and hook forward the long end of yarn from the ball.
4. Wind yarn under and over the needle and draw through loop, leaving stitch on needle.
5. Tighten stitch on needle noting that yarn is round thumb ready for next stitch.
6. Repeat action 3-5 for required number of stitches.