I just started knitting today and I think I, after probably four hours, might have finally understood the knit stitch. The cast-on method I have been doing is called the Slingshot Cast On (From "I Can't Believe I'm Knitting!")
Unfortunetly(sp), I have two problems.
1. It does not specifically say, but are the working yarn and the tail supposed to be on opposite ends?
2. If they are (and even if they aren't) how would I go about bringing the tail into the project so I don't cut it?
The working yarn is going to change ends from opposite the tail end to on the same end as the tail as you work the knitted piece. Don't worry about the tail until later. It will just be woven into the knitting for several sts and then cut. Congrats on understanding your first knitted stitch!
I had an answer for the cast on question but it didn't post for some reason... I think the 'slingshot' CO is also known as Long tail which can be seen at the cast ons page. The tail and working yarn move together and end up on the same edge.
You may be pulling the yarn tight when you make a stitch, you don't have to give it an extra tug after it's on the needle. Making the next st tightens up the previous one.
Also, don't worry so much about tension (tightness or looseness) of sts right now. Concentrate on getting the knit st correct as you move along the rows. Your knitting will even out as you practice the sts.
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As you're casting on, the tail should be in the front and the working yarn in the back. The tail is useful for determining where you are when you're knitting. If the tail is on the right side of your work, you are on the right side row. If the tail is on the left side of your work, you're on a wrong side row. I still use this tip and I've been knitting for many years.
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