CAST ON is a term used to mean the creation of individual stitches on the needle which are the FIRST stitches you will knit into. In the photo above, the needle with the red loops on it has several cast on stitches, ready to knit. There are numerous ways to CAST ON. Perhaps at a later date, I can give tutorials for how to create the long-tail cast on, the crocheted cast on, the e-loop cast on, etc. There are scads of them and they each have their benefits. For now, I’m going to teach you a knitted cast on. This will get you using the first three steps of the knit stitch right from the git-go. Then all you’ll have to do is add the last step when you start knitting your cast on stitches. (If this lingo is new to you, it probably sounds like greek! Hang in there, pretty soon it will make more sense!)
There’s a sweet little rhyme that is used to teach children how to knit at Waldorf Schools all over the world. These children are taught how to knit around age 6 or 7 at the same time they are being taught to read. The idea is to engage both the right and left hemispheres of the brain which allows them to learn to read much more quickly and easily. Cool idea! I’ve used this rhyme to teach adults as well as children…it works great! You will use this rhyme both to cast on, and to knit.
Here’s the rhyme in its entirety. I will break it down for you and show you in photos how each “step” or line of the rhyme should look.
In through the front door
Run around the back
Out through the window
And off jumps Jack!
*But BEFORE you can even cast on any stitches, you will need a SLIP KNOT! Just click on the highlighted word to go to the slip knot tutorial. Then come right back here for Casting On.
Ok. You’re Back! So with your slip knot in the left hand, and other needle ready in your right hand,
Step One: Insert the tip of the right-hand needle, from the left side of the slip knot, through to the back. This is “In through the front door…”
Step Two: Holding both needles with your left hand, take the working yarn that is dangling down the backside of your slip knot, and loop it around the right-hand needle. This loop goes all the way BEHIND the needle and then is draped over the top of it. This is “Run around the back…”
Step Three: Using the right-hand needle as a sort of lever or pick, pull this draped yarn through the slip knot on the left-hand needle. This is “Out through the window…”
Step Four: INSTEAD OF “Off jumps Jack!” you will simply PLACE THE LOOP ONTO THE LEFT-HAND NEEDLE. Give the dangling yarn a little tug to tighten the newly cast on stitch around the needle. BUT NOT TOO TIGHT! You are aiming for these cast on stitches to slide nicely on the needle without being too loose OR too tight. You don’t want to have to use a crow bar to knit into them on the next row!
**You have now created the second cast-on stitch…your slip knot is considered to be the first cast on stitch.**
Now go back to Step One and repeat this process all over again, but instead of working into your first slip knot, work into the last cast on stitch you made. Remember to place the loop created by coming “Out through the window”, back onto the left-hand needle. Cast on as many stitches as you’d like.
Hurray! Hoorah! You are now ready to move ahead to KNITTING these stitches! I’m so proud of you! Just click on the highlighted word, KNITTING, to go to the knitting tutorial.