How to Cast On: Long Tail Cast-On

also known as Continental Cast-on, Double Cast-on

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This is my favorite cast on method, I use it almost exclusively. It creates an even, stretchy edge that works well for stockinette stitch or for ribbing. It’s easy to knit from, easy to pick up stitches from, and is probably the fastest cast-on, once you get the hang of it. It’s even faster than Single Cast-On when you take into account that this method creates an already knitted row (technically, anyway…but patterns don’t count this row).

I usually give myself 12" of tail for every 20 stitches, more generously if it’s bulky yarn. Do what works for your tension: Cast on 20 stitches and unravel it to see how much tail you used.

I specify to dangle the tail from your thumb for two reasons: 1) Your tail length will not fluctuate with the needle size, so it’s easier to estimate yarn. 2) The yarn on the thumb side will tend to “untwist” as you go, but since it’s not attached to the ball end it’s easy to reintroduce the twist as you wish.

Tip: When a pattern calls to “cast on loosely”—important for things like sock cuffs and turtle necks—many people like to go up a couple of needle sizes. I like to cast on over two needles held together as one, which is equivalent to an increase of several needle sizes. Of course, anything in between would also work.


Categories: getting started, cast-on