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How to knit: the basics

To make the very first loops on your needles, you 'cast on' stitches. There are several methods, but all of them require you, in the first place, to create an initial loop on your needle. A commonly used technique is shown here.

All cast-on loops should be made as evenly as possible. Avoid casting on too tightly. The cast-on stitches should slide freely on the needle.


Making the first loop

1. Wrap the yarn around the first and second fingers of one hand.

2. Place the tip of the needle under the front loop and draw the back loop through the front one.
3. Withdraw your fingers from the loop, then tighten it on the needle to form the first stitch.


Casting on with your thumb

This is a common, and easy, method of casting on. The tail end of the yarn is held in the right hand and the ball end of the yarn (also called the working yarn) is held in the left hand. 

1. With the initial loop on the needle, held in the right hand, hold the working yarn in the palm of the left hand, as shown, passing it around the thumb. If necessary to keep the loop on the needle in place, hold the tail end of the yarn with the right hand. Pass the tip of the needle from front to back under the front strand of yarn on the thumb as shown by the arrow.

2. With the strand of yarn around your thumb caught by the needle, gently slip your left thumb out of the loop.

3. Tighten the new loop on the needle, but make sure it will still glide along the needle. You have now made the second cast-on loop.

4. Reinsert your left thumb under the working yarn to begin the next cast-on loop. Continue to cast on stiches by repeating steps 1 through 3.


Last updated: over 3 years ago