• When it's time to get some stitches on your needles, make sure you have the long tail cast-on on speed dial. This versatile cast-on works great for lots of projects, and has a clean, smooth edge — you're essentially casting on AND knitting the first row as you go! If you only learn one cast-on, make it this one.

  • Pro Tip

    • Leave yourself a long tail (hence the name!) when you're casting on. The length of your tail should be about 3 times as long as the width of your cast-on edge. You can also get the approximate length by wrapping the yarn around the needle as many times as stitches you'll need to cast on.

    1. 1. Make a slip knot and slide it on your needle. Pull on the loose end to gently tighten the knot around your needle. This counts as your first stitch.

      Pro Tip

    2. 2. Hold the needle in your right hand, and arrange your yarn so that that loose tail is closest to your body, and the working yarn (the yarn attached to the ball) is further away.

    3. 3. Grab both ends with the bottom three fingers of your left hand, and insert your thumb and pointer fingers between the two strands. You've made something that looks a bit like a heart shape.

    4. 4. Move the tip of your knitting needle under and through the loop wrapped around your thumb.

    5. 5. Then, reach over and scoop the strand of yarn on your pointer finger.

    6. 6. Pull the strand from your pointer finger through the loop on your thumb.

    7. 8. Drop the loop from your thumb and gently pull on the yarn to tighten up your stitch.

      Pro Tip

      • Don't pull too tightly on your stitches — you want to be able to slide them comfortably back and forth on your needles. If you pull too tight, you'll have trouble getting your needle into the stitch when it's time to start knitting.

    8. 9. Repeat these steps until you have the number of stitches you need on your needle.

      Pro Tip

      • When you get in a groove, try rocking your hands back and forth instead of moving the needle around to grab the loops.

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    Long Tail Cast-On