"Casting On" is how you begin your knitting. In a knitting pattern is will often be abbreviated "CO" and then the number of stitches needed to begin. Although there are many different ways to cast on, we are going to learn a very basic cast on, often referred to as the "long tail cast on". Depending on the number of stitches needed for your project, estimate a length of yarn needed and then make a slip knot with your needle.
Tip: An easy way to estimate is to knit a few stitches then pull apart to see how much yarn you've used...then add a little more length to that for good measure.
Hold the yarn with your left hand as shown below: tail is around your thumb, yarn that is connected to the ball is around your index finger. Use your middle finger and other fingers to hold yarn and to keep tension on the yarn. Tighten the knot on your needle. This counts as your first stitch.
Now that your holding the yarn on your left hand, take the needle in your right hand and go under the loop around your thumb,
and up through it.
Now go around to the loop on your index finder and through that loop.
After you come through the loop, it will look something like this...
Now you can drop the yarn from your thumb and tighten it up around the needle...and look! Another stitch has appeared on the needle!
Keep repeating until you have the desired number of stitches on your needle. Now you're ready to begin knitting your first row!
Tip: Be sure to keep things loose when casting on, if you're like me and tend to cast on too tightly, try casting on with a larger needle size then switching back to the correct needle size for the first row.
Click below to watch a video on the long tail cast on:
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