View Full Version : Debates about COs

04-27-2008, 04:02 PM
As most of my questions lately have pertained to socks, this curiosity about casting on directly relates to socks, yes, but to knitting overall. I read a lot of knitting books (lately Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Knitting Rocks!). This woman understands knitting the way I do and is one of the few books where I have laughed outloud.

Then I got to the sock section. Last time I went to my LYS knit night, I got some help with my socks, as they were a mess. Part of the problem was that my purl stitches were twisted, which caused most of the mess. But then, the woman who asked me how I cast-on, which I answered long-tail (because I've been a lazy snob and have decided it is the best). She, and a few of her older knitting masters, shook their heads at me and said, "Oh, no, no. Way too tight. You should ONLY use the knitted cast-on for socks."

Okay. So I learned knitted cast on. It made a nice corded ridge on the bottom but it was so much slower than long-tail cast on. I missed it dearly but I kept with my knitted cast-on, taking at least twice as long to cast-on my 64 stitches.

Like I said, I was reading the Yarn Harlot's wit and I got to the sock section. Here, she talked about casting on. She directly says to NOT use knitted cast-on, unless I'd like to cut off circulation. While knitted cast-on was loose, it lacks the elasticity of a long-tail. I reached for another sock book and it also said to use long-tail, especially if I was starting with ribbing.

Is my sensei at the LYS, and her fellow masters, a little uppity about casting on? Can long-tail work for about any project to start? To find a comprimise, I decided to use long-tail cast-on on a set of needles two sizes bigger than what I will use for my very generic socks and then just slip them on to the smaller needles, to save this headache about tightness.

What do you guys think? Which should I believe? :??

04-27-2008, 04:19 PM
I use the long tail cast on for socks ALL the time. I have never used anything else and my socks are fine. Sometimes people have pre-conceived notions about what is "right" in knitting. There is always another way to do something, don't be afraid to try out something new just because someone says it's wrong.
The long-tail method produces a nice stretchy cast-on, which is why it's great for socks- Stephanie is right!

04-27-2008, 04:22 PM
You can use long tail for socks...if it is to tight then you can CO a needle larger or 2 needles held together and then slip one out...Now I use knitted cast on for my socks but this is the CO I use for everything as I like it the best...unless the pattern states otherwise like provisional or toe up socks...so I hear the opposite most of the time how I should do the long tail...I did try it and just didn't care for it...it's all in what your comfy with I feel...:hug:

04-27-2008, 05:00 PM
Everyone's CO is a little different, even when using the same one. I found cable CO, which people swear is stretchier than long tail, tighter; though I think I've now figured out how to keep it from being so tight. Use whatever method gives you good results.

04-27-2008, 05:17 PM
I agree, use whichever works best for you. I've always used long tail, but I learned to knit socks with a 30 yr old sock pattern book and that's all it called for and it works great for me.

04-27-2008, 05:35 PM
I've done a pair of socks each way and see no difference. I am set to start another pair here in a little while and will most likely use long tail. I think it all depends on who teaches you

04-27-2008, 05:38 PM
I use long tail cast on for socks but I cast onto two needles at the time so that I KNOW it won't be too tight. Then, using DPNs, slip the sts. onto the other two needles and knit away. They are kinda loose on the first round but all in all it works out great.

04-27-2008, 06:06 PM
I agree, use whatever is best for YOU! I use the cable cast on for everything (I have never done the long tail cast on in my life can you imagine?) and I've never had any problems. I think CO has to do with habit and comfort more than anything - for the rest, it's always possible to tweak things a bit and make it work for what you need. :thumbsup:

04-27-2008, 08:12 PM
I've never used any CO other than the longtail, and I've made at least 9 pairs. I also CO ono two needles, the size I'll be using and another smaller. Never had any problem, because it is stretchy!

of troy
04-27-2008, 10:22 PM
there are lots of cast ons.. learn a few.. make a sampler of cast ons. (search for cast on sampler, i've posted directions and image this month on this site!)

I think (MY OPINION) long tail is OK for socks,
but it can be tight depending on how you work it.

Norwegian Long tail (aka N Twist, twist , german and german twist!)
which is a long tail variation, is better,

open and closed (an other long tail variation) is better too

Channel island is VERY GOOD..

slow (way slower than a plain knit) is Knit Picot (cast on 5, bind off 2, (so cast on count is back to 3) cast on 5, bind off 2 (cast on count is up to 6) is stretchy too.

a tubular cast on (there at at least 5 ways to do a tubular cast on.. 3 needle, provisional 1, provisonal 2, italian 1, italian 2) is both attractive and stretchy.. much more than long tail...

(and then there are a nother dozen cast ons to use with toe up socks...)

in the end, what is best is whats best for you..
if you don't want to learn any cast on's, and are happy with long tail.. then don't change!

04-27-2008, 11:26 PM
They're just being snobbish. The long tail cast on works for socks just fine, but you do need to make it a little looser cast on.

04-28-2008, 01:20 AM
What I ended up doing today is using long-tail and casting on two needles. It made the cast on way easier and they were even a bit looser than I would like. It ended up being very sturdy and very stretchy!

What the woman had taught me, aside from the cast-on argument, had been useful. Instead of ribbing the first round, she had me only knit the entire first round, to get a nice seem and make joining a bit easier on my fumble fingers. But other things she had me do made no sense: purling through the back of the loop, instead of the front, for instance.

I find it difficult to say to someone who is trying to help: "I don't want to do it that way." I even asked for the advice, but when it's too conflicting, I feel like what everyone else said: I want to do things my way. If I've learned anything with knitting, it's that it is personalized to taste; there is not one way to do anything.

I appreciate your thoughts and it settled a lot for me!