The Long Tail Cast On

The long tail cast on is probably my favorite go-to cast on. I love the rhythm of it, how quickly my stitches appear on the needles, and how it has a bit of stretch to it while still being sturdy. I also find that when I use the long tail cast on, my next row is always very easy to knit. It is also the cast on I primarily use for most of my projects, unless the pattern specifically states otherwise (and even then, there have been times I turned to my trusty friend – the long tail cast on).

Having had such a good relationship with the long tail cast on, I was shocked when I learned that it wasn’t always the go-to choice for other knitters. Some mentioned it was too finicky, that it looked confusing, or just that it seemed like too many steps for a simple cast on. And being such a big supporter of the long tail cast on, I couldn’t resist making this video tutorial all about the long tail cast on – filled with step-by-step instructions as well as a few tips and tricks.

One of my favorite things about the long tail cast on is its ability to always be just right – it has a nice foundation that creates a sturdy edge but with a bit of elasticity. I also like how when I start the next row, as I move my needle into the first stitch, it doesn’t pull the following stitch too much tighter. This is a problem that I’ve come across in my own knitting adventures when I’ve experimented with the loop cast on.

Another neat thing about the long tail cast on is that it actually created the cast on edge AND a row of knit stitches, at the same time! For example, if you are working back and forth (knitting flat) in stockinette stitch – you would cast on your stitches with the long tail method and then purl the next row. That’s because the first row of knit stitches are built into the cast on – and hey, I’m all about multi-tasking, so I’ll take that extra row!

Another common issue that can tend to happen with the long tail cast on is that you might run out of your yarn tail before you complete the required number of stitches. But! In the video, I talk about a few ways of avoiding that dilemma. I’ve hear some knitters swear by creating the slip knot and leaving three times the width of your project for the yarn tail. Others do even more math while some just try and try again. One thing that has always worked for me (which I mention and show in the tutorial) is that I leave a 6″ tail, then begin to wrap my yarn around my needle for however many number of stitches I need and then I place my slip knot a few inches after that. I always end up with more than enough left on my yarn tail. But my motto is better safe than sorry!

Do you have any helpful tips for the long tail cast on? What is your go-to way of casting on stitches?