techniques: knitted and cable cast on

Nov 16, 2017 :: by Leila Raabe

knitted cast on: what, why, and how

Every knitting project begins with a cast on. The knitted cast on is one of the simplest methods for casting stitches onto a needle. Unlike the long tail cast on, the knitted method uses a single working strand of yarn, and follows the same process as for knitting a plain stitch: you knit the stitch on the left hand needle, drawing a loop through. This loop is then placed on the left needle, next to the stitch it was drawn from—one new stitch cast on.

Suitable for many different project types, the knitted cast on creates a simple edge and is often recommended as a good, basic method for new knitters to start out with. It can also be used to cast on new stitches at the beginning of a row of existing stitches (more on that below).

How to work the knitted cast on

1. Make a slip knot and place onto LH needle:

2. Insert RH needle tip into the stitch as if to knit:

3: Wrap yarn around needle and draw through, but do not slip stitch from needle:

 

4. Draw the yarn out, making a long loop...

...place onto LH needle:

...then snug the loop on the needle:

Repeat Steps 2-4 for desired number of stitches. The slip knot counts as a stitch.

 

When working a knitted cast on with existing stitches on the needle:

Make sure your working yarn is coming from the LH needle. Turn your work, if necessary.

Work Steps 2-4 as above, working your first cast-on stitch into the last stitch from the LH needle instead of from a slipknot:

Repeat Steps 2-4 for desired number of stitches:

Cable cast on: what, why, and how

The cable cast on is similar to the knitted method in that one strand of working yarn is used to create the stitches. The way they differ is that the cable method draws up a loop in between two stitches—rather than from a single stitch—and the loop placed at the end of the left needle.

The cable cast on creates a clean, sturdy edge. This sturdiness is great for edges that benefit from extra stability, or edges from which stitches will be picked up and knitted from. A good example of both of these instances is Gabrielle, which uses the cable cast on for stability in the stitches across front and back neck, and for ease in picking up stitches from the front shoulders to begin working the back.

Like the knitted cast on, the cable cast on is also a great method for casting on stitches at the beginning of a row of existing stitches.

How to work the cable cast on

The cable cast on begins in the same manner as the knitted cast on: Work Steps 1-4 above, just as for the knitted cast on. Then proceed to the next steps below.

5. Insert RH needle tip between the two stitches on LH needle from front to back:

6. Wrap yarn around needle and draw through, but do not slip stitch from needle:

7. Draw the yarn out, making a long loop:

...place onto LH needle:

...then snug the loop on the needle:

Repeat Steps 5-7 for desired number of stitches. The slip knot counts as a stitch.

When working a cabled cast on with existing stitches on the needle:

Make sure your working yarn is coming from the LH needle. Turn your work, if necessary.

Skip Steps 1-4, as they are only necessary when you don't have two stitches on the LH needle.

Work Steps 5-7 as above, working your first cast-on stitch between the last two stitches from the LH needle instead of from a slipknot:

Repeat Steps 5-7 for desired number of stitches: 

Experiment with both types of cast ons to get a feel for which ones are best suited to a given project or type of knitting situation (ribbing, cables, stockinette; neck edges, cuffs, scarf or shawl edges). Little details like these make a big difference in the finished item.

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