Learn the Crochet Cast-On for Quick, Neat Edges

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There are dozens of knitting cast-ons to try. Most of us have a favorite (for me it's the long-tail ) that we use for practically everything. There are some situations, though, when it's beneficial to have a couple of other cast-ons under your belt, like the crochet cast-on.

One cast-on that's quick and painless is the crochet cast-on.

If you're a crocheter and a knitter, you'll find this cast-on to be a piece of cake. If you've never crocheted, though, don't worry. You don't need serious crochet skills to master this method.

When to use the crochet cast-on

When you want the cast-on edge to match the bind-off edge

The crochet cast on creates a nice, neat braid that looks exactly like your bind-off edge. This is perfect for times when you want all the edges to look the same, like when you're knitting something such as a washcloth or when you just want a really neat-looking edge.

When you have lots of stitches to cast on

Do you quickly lose count when you're casting on a large number of stitches? The crochet cast-on is quick, so it's easier to count.

When you need a provisional cast-on

The crochet cast on works just like a provisional cast-on , which is a temporary cast-on. If you're using the crochet cast-on as a provisional one, be sure to follow the optional step at the end of the tutorial to chain a few extra stitches.

Crochet cast-on tutorial

What you'll need:

  • A crochet hook that matches your yarn weight (check the label if you're not sure what size to use)
  • One knitting needle (the same needle you're going to use for your project)
  • Yarn

Note: If you're using this cast-on as a provisional cast-on that will be removed later, you can use scrap yarn. Just try to use scraps that are a similar weight to the yarn you're using in your project.

Step 1:

Tie a slip knot onto the crochet hook, leaving a yarn tail just long enough to weave in later. Hold the crochet hook in your dominant hand. (For me, that's my right hand.)

Step 2:

Hold the knitting needle in your non-dominant hand. (For me, that's my left hand.) Place the knitting needle on top of the working yarn.

Step 3:

Wrap the working yarn over the hook, above the knitting needle.

As you're wrapping the yarn for the first cast-on stitch, you might want to hold onto the yarn tail, too, or just give it a little tug after you make the first stitch. This ensures the tension is even.

Step 4:

Pull the working yarn through the loop that's already on the hook (from your slip knot). This is your first cast-on stitch.

Step 5:

Move the working yarn to the back, again placing the knitting needle on top of the working yarn.

Step 6:

Repeat steps 3-5 until you have cast on the number of stitches called for, minus 1 stitch. So for example, if your pattern asks you to cast on 38 stitches, continue repeating steps 3-5 until you have 37 stitches.

Step 7:

Now let's cast on that final stitch. You'll notice that you still have a loop around your crochet hook. That's your last cast-on stitch — just pull it up and slide it onto your knitting needle.

After you add the final stitch, you can put the crochet hook aside and start knitting.

Optional: The provisional crochet cast-on

If you're working the crochet cast-on as a provisional cast-on, skip Step 7 and instead chain stitch a couple of extra stitches. (If you're not sure how to chain stitch, check out our free beginner crochet guide  that includes a chain stitch tutorial.) Cut the yarn, then draw the tail through the final chain stitch. 

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in February 2017 and was updated in January 2018.
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Learn the Crochet Cast-On for Quick, Neat Edges