The first step for many popular cast ons, making a slip knot is super easy. If you have made it correctly, the knot can be tightened by pulling on the ball end of the yarn.

Here’s a video tutorial of how to do this:

Download a 1-page PDF of this photo tutorial here:

Download a 1-page PDF Photo Tutorial here:

Try these patterns:

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Casting on doesn't get easier than this. Just make a series of twisted loops. The advantage is that it is very easy to teach to children. The disadvantage is that it tends to create too much extra yarn between stitches and the gauge is usually unlike the rest of the piece. The stitches usually end up very tight and difficult to knit into, also.

You can use it in a pinch (and I often recommend it as an easy way to cast on one stitch over a thumb gusset or glove finger), but a better basic go-to cast on is probably the Knit Cast On or the Long Tail Cast On.

You may also want to check out my tutorial for How to Make a Slip Knot.

This cast on could be used in the following patterns:

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This is probably the first cast on you learned. If you are just learning, it's the one you should start with. (Optionally, you could start with the Long Tail Cast On.) Make sure to make it loosely, or your cast on edge will be narrower than the rest of your work. This cast on creates a firm, stable edge, so don't use it for edges that need to stretch. (If you are working on a stretchy edge, I recommend the Super Stretchy Cast On.)

(Also see my tutorial for How to Make a Slip Knot.)

This photo tutorial shows Continental/European style (working yarn held in left hand). English/American style uses the same instructions except your working yarn is held in your right hand.

Download a 1-page PDF of this photo tutorial here:

Download a 1-page PDF Photo Tutorial here:

This cast on is used in the following patterns:

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This cast on makes a firm but stretchy edge, but its prime advantage is that it is FAST. It is also very easy to not make it too tight. However, if you still find that your first row is too rigid, cast onto a needle three sizes larger than the pattern calls for or around two needles.

For those that prefer learning from a video, I made you a video tutorial:

(Also see my tutorial for How to Make a Slip Knot.)

Note that the video has you hold your yarn tail over your thumb, the reverse of my instructions. I have tried both ways, and see very little difference. Use the way that seems best to you.

You may want to check out the following pattern:

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The two-colour long-tail cast-on works well for starting 2-colour brioche knitting projects in the round, and more. For brioche projects, either use a needle three sizes larger than your project calls for, or cast on over two of the project-size needles, as shown here.

This variation makes the bottom “nubs” all one colour on one side, and the other colour on the opposite side. To have the colours alternate on both sides, use this same method, EXCEPT: Start with colours reversed. Do Steps 1 & 2, then skip to step 6. After adding each stitch, change the position of the yarns, and ONLY pick up stitches through the loop on your thumb.

(You may also want to see my tutorial for How to Make a Slip Knot.)

You may want to check out the following patterns:

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This is my slip-knot free version of Judy’s Magic Cast On, a provisional cast-on great for starting toe-up socks and more.

You can use two circular needles, or two double-pointed needles (dpns), as I did here.

For a video tutorial, I recommend Cat Bordhi’s:

 

Magic Cast On

You may want to check out the following pattern:

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Provisional Cast On is used when you want to create an edge that can be released to create live stitches later for the purpose of knitting in the opposite direction or for seamlessly joining with your stitches at the top of the work with Kitchener Stitch—for instance, to create a cowl or a hatband. It is typically created by making a crochet chain with scrap yarn around your knitting needle for your cast on stitches, which will be unravelled later when you are ready to put your stitches back on your knitting needle to work.

Photo tutorial below the video (or download PDF from this link):

Provisional Cast On Video Tutorial:

Provisional Cast On Photo Tutorial

How to do Provisional Cast On; photo and video tutorial from My Secret Wish by Talena.

How to do Provisional Cast On; photo and video tutorial from My Secret Wish by Talena.

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You may want to check out the following patterns:

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This  cast on does not work well for nubby or boucle yarns, but is amazing with a smooth yarn on any ribbed edge. (Works best on 1x1 rib, okay on 2x2 rib, not recommended for 3x3 or larger ribs.)

I learned this from the YouTube video Jeny’s Stretchy Slip-Knot Cast On, by Jeny Staiman. In case you prefer learning from a video, enjoy:

And here is the photo tutorial. Check the right column for a downloadable PDF. :-)

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This cast on is recommended for the following patterns:

When you work in the round, most patterns will have you cast on, then “join yarn.” But what does that even mean?

Here’s a video tutorial about how to do it:

But when it comes down to it, joining yarn in the round is as simple as this:

  1. Cast on the required number of stitches.

  2. Distribute stitches over three or four double-pointed needles (or, if you’re using a circular needle, just make sure you have some stitches on both tips).

  3. Place the needle holding your last cast-on stitch in your right hand. Place a marker, then begin Round 1 of your pattern. Work at least one stitch from the first round onto the needle holding the marker.

  4. Congratulations! You’ve joined your yarn in the round!

Joining yarn in the round is as simple as working the first stitch of your first round. Just make sure you keep everything straight. Twister is a party game, and doesn’t work on your needles.

Joining yarn in the round is as simple as working the first stitch of your first round. Just make sure you keep everything straight. Twister is a party game, and doesn’t work on your needles.

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This cast on is recommended for the following patterns:

How to do 3-Needle Bind Off to merge two sets of stitches into one.

How to do 3-Needle Bind Off to merge two sets of stitches into one.

This bind off is often used when you want to create a rolled hem at the bottom edge of a sweater (which I show here with the wrong sides of the fabric together). You could also bind off the new set of live stitches you create simultaneously to create a decorative line of stitches on the top of a shoulder, or, if you bind off on the inside (with right sides together), to close everything off neatly without seaming.

Good for: rolled hems, or, if you combine with Basic Bind Off, finishing shoulders and hoods, and closing hatbands. 

Download a 1-page PDF Photo tutorial here:

Note: See a 4-Needle Bind Off on seed stitch video on the War Bride Beret pattern page.

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This bind off is used in the following patterns:

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The most ubiquitous way to finish a piece, this creates a firm, non-stretchy edge. Be sure to bind off loosely (don’t snug up your stitches too much as you work, and in fact leave a little more yarn in each stitch than you think necessary) so that the edge doesn’t pull in. If your edge is narrower than the work, you will need to pull the bind off out and start again.

Good for: shoulders or other places where structure and stability are required. 

If you are not sure which bind off to use for a project, use this one.

Download a 1-page PDF Photo tutorial here:

This bind off is used in the following patterns:

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This bind off uses a yarn or tapestry needle to create a row of stitches between the stitches on two parallel needles. This is used for the toes of socks, tops of mittens, seamless shoulders, and any other place where you want two sets of live stitches to be seamlessly woven together.

Rules of Formation

At first, Kitchener Stitch can seem daunting, but it is very easy once you understand that if always follows basic principles.

  1. Since you are mimicking worked stitches, remember that the yarn needle must go into each stitch on your knitting needle twice, once in each direction, because there are two “legs” in each loop/stitch.

  2. Analyze the stitch you are about to enter: are you looking at the knit "V" or the purl "bump"? Plan your entry and exit from that stitch based on whether it is a "knit" or "purl" stitch.

  3. The first time through the stitch, enter it the opposite direction that you would work it for the type of stitch.

  4. The second time, enter it the same way you would work it for the type of stitch, then slip it off the needle.

For example, when you are grafting between two pieces of Stockinette Stitch with the wrong sides together, it seems you are looking at a front layer that is ready to be knit and a back layer that is ready to purl. The first time you go into a stitch on the top (knit) layer, enter it purlwise (opposite). The second time, enter it knitwise (same) and slip it off the knitting needle.

For the back (purl) layer, the first time you enter the stitch, enter it knitwise (opposite), and the second time enter it purlwise (same) and slip it off the knitting needle.

(In this video, she has a small difference from my photo tutorial in that she does enter the source stitch for the yarn tail twice. Either way--hers or mine--is fine.)

See right side-bar for a downloadable PDF of the following photo tutorial that you can print off.

This bind off is used in the following patterns:

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This bind off is also known as the Invisible Ribbed Bind Off, Kitchener Bind Off or Grafted Bind Off. You can find it from many sources—here is my step-by-step photo tutorial version.

Using ins-and-outs that will be easily understood by those familiar with Kitchener Stitch (but you don't have to be to do it), this bind off makes a beautiful, stretchy finish for the top of any 1x1 ribbed edging. Cut yarn at about 4 to 5 times the circumference or length of the edge you will be finishing and thread onto a yarn needle.

The finished product looks like this:

This very detailed video includes an extra tip for working this bind-off in the round, plus a couple of "reading your stitches" tips:

The Sewn Rib Bind Off is used in the following patterns:

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This bind off, created by Jeny Staiman, matches the Super Stretchy Cast On, and works great on ribbed edges to maintain stretch without fluttering.

Here is a detailed video of the bind off from Knitting Blooms:

The Super Stretchy Bind Off is used in the following patterns:

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Knit Stitch - Continental or American

Note: This is a compiled version of the Knit Stitch tutorials in my How to Knit series.

After casting on, you are ready to begin working. The design will either ask you to knit (abbreviated "k") or purl ("p") into loops you made in your cast-on row. Since you are just learning, you should practice the knit stitch until you are very comfortable with it before moving on to the purl stitch.

Rules Of Knit Stitch

Choose whether you want to try the Continental or American style of holding your yarn, then get to work learning the knit stitch.

Whether you are working in Continental or American style, the knit stitch has the same rules of formation:

  • Working yarn goes behind the needles

  • Right needle is inserted into first stitch on Left needle from left to right, front to back

  • Yarn goes between the needles from left to right, bottom to top

  • Finished stitch should have the right “leg” of the stitch in front of the needle

How To Do It

Knit Stitch: Continental Style

In Continental Style, the working yarn is held in your left hand. Holding it in such a way as to achieve correct tension is key. Please see Holding the Yarn.

Download a 1-page PDF of this photo tutorial here:

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Knit Stitch: American/English Style

In American (also known as English) style, the working yarn is held in the right hand. Creating proper tension by pulling on the yarn after wrapping is key. Please see Holding the Yarn.

Download a 1-page PDF of this photo tutorial here:

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Download a 1-page PDF Photo Tutorial here:

You may like the following patterns:

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Purl Stitch - Continental or American

Note: This is a compiled version of the Purl Stitch tutorials in my How to Knit series.

Purling is the technique use to create a stitch that reverses the parts of a knit stitch, so the bump faces you and the "V" is on the back. That may not make sense now, but it will after you have worked a few rows of alternating knit and purl stitch and see how each side of the fabric looks.

Rules Of Purl Stitch

Whether you are working in Continental or American style, the purl stitch has the same rules of formation:

  • Working yarn goes in front of the needles

  • Right needle is inserted into the first stitch on the left needle from right to left through front leg of stitch

  • Working yarn goes from right to left, top to bottom between the needles

  • Finished stitch should have the right “leg” of the stitch in front of the needle

How To Do It

Purl Stitch: Continental Style

In Continental Style, the working yarn is held in your left hand. Holding it in such a way as to achieve correct tension is key. Please see Holding the Yarn.

Download a 1-page PDF of this photo tutorial here:

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Purl Stitch: American/English Style

In American (also known as English) style, the working yarn is held in the right hand. Creating proper tension by pulling on the yarn after wrapping is key. Please see Holding the Yarn.

Download a 1-page PDF of this photo tutorial here:

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Download a 1-page PDF Photo Tutorial here:

You may like the following patterns:

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This common increase can be used in a variety of situations, from one side of a thumb gusset, to knitted lace, to top-down raglan shaping, and more.

The mirror image of this increase is the Right-leaning Bar Increase.

This increase is used in the following patterns:

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This common increase can be used in a variety of situations, from one side of a thumb gusset, to knitted lace, to top-down raglan shaping, and more.

The mirror image of this increase is the Left-leaning Bar Increase.

This is the mirror-image increase to the k1fb (knit 1 in the front and back loop of the same stitch) increase. While that increase creates a little bar that wraps around the bottom of the left stitch, allowing the right stitch to continue the column of knit stitches, this increase wraps the bar around the stitch on the right side.

I have not found a common abbreviation for this increase, so I refer to it as the BincR (Bar Increase Right).

This increase is used in the following patterns:

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There may come a time when you want to create a Left-Leaning Barred Increase, which is typically created on the knit side of the fabric using kfb, or k1fb (knit into the front and back of the same loop)--but you're on the purl side.

I was recently asked to figure out how to accomplish this, and voilà, here you go!

What should it look like?

When working a kfb, on the knit side of your fabric, you work to the stitch you want to increase. Usually, this is the stitch after a stitch marker. Then you knit into the front leg and the back leg of the same stitch before slipping it off the left needle. The result is an extra stitch on the left of the original one that has a little bar across its base, like this:

Left-Leaning Bar Increase (kfb/k1fb) worked from knit side of fabric.

How to Make It

To create this exact look from the other side of the fabric, on the purl side:

  1. Work to one stitch before marker. Slip stitch knitwise onto right needle, then slip directly back onto left needle.

  2. Knit into the front leg. Drop stitch from left needle.

  3. Use the left needle to pick up the right loop of the stitch directly below the one you just created from the right side of the yarn. This will create a loop on the left needle with the right leg in front, which extends from the same stitch you just worked into.

  4. Purl into the front leg of this picked up stitch.

That's it! If you check the knit side of your work, it should look like you just made a kfb--except you and I both know better, don't we? *wink, wink.*

Left-Leaning Bar Increase (Reverse BincL or LBinc) worked from the purl side (Except the bottom one.)

Featured Patterns

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Knitting in the round with double-pointed needles is my favourite method, probably because I knit fairly snug and I find it difficult to get my stitches from the cable to the hard point of a circular needle when it's time to work them again.

Double-pointed needles can seem intimidating, but you are only ever working with two needles at a time, just like flat knitting. The other needles' sole job is to hold stitches until it's their turn to be worked (just like the cable of a circular needle.)

Going along with this, you may want to check out my Joining Yarn in the Round tutorial.

This is a great video tutorial from New Stitch a Day.

You can use this method on any pattern for small items knit in the round. Try these:

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Are double-pointed needles a pain in your backside? If so, simplify knitting in the round with two circular needles instead. It is essentially the same as knitting with dpns, except you only have two needles--one is the working needle, the other is just holding stitches.

Check out these great tutorials by Cat Bordhi (and also my Joining Yarn in the Round tutorial):

You can use this method on any pattern knit in the round. Try these:

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This method is really quite simple, and uses the least number of needles of any method for knitting in the round. Simply use a circular needle with a very long cable and work one half of the stitches at a time.

Here is a great tutorial video from Knit Picks:

You can use this method on any pattern for small tubes knit in the round. Try these:

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Gaps around thumb gussets are the bane of any civilized knitter. But what is a knitter to do besides leave a super-long tail and weave them all closed after?

Here is my solution, a stitch that I call the 5-in-1 Pickup in my patterns (or the smaller 3-in-1 pickup, good for bulky yarns, though I sometimes use it for worsted weight, too.)

What should it look like?

Most thumbs are increased from a single stitch, and when you put those thumb stitches "on hold" and cast on to create the rest of the hand, you cast that stitch back on. Then, when you are ready to create your thumb, you pick up your held stitches, including a single stitch where you cast one on. Unfortunately, this method tends to leave gaps on either side of the cast-on stitch.

This technique fills in those gaps with some extra stitches that you quickly decrease to the single stitch originally called for. The result looks like this:

For this one, I used the Double Central Decrease (DCD) instead of the Central Chain Decrease demonstrated in the video. Either one works, it just depends what look you are going for.

For this one, I used the Double Central Decrease (DCD) instead of the Central Chain Decrease demonstrated in the video. Either one works, it just depends what look you are going for.

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How to Make It

Knit thumb stitches to cast-on stitch "gap".

5-in-1 Pickup

Rnd 1: On edge of gap, pick up bar from row below the one you are working. Place on left needle and knit into back loop so it twists. Knit 3 sts across cast-on edge (be sure middle st is in cast-on st). Pick up bar from row below, place on left needle and knit into the back loop so it twists.
Rnd 2: Knit around. When you reach the five picked up sts on next round, ssk, k1, k2tog.  
Rnd 3: Knit.
Rnd 4: CCD. Continue as per pattern.

Location of the bar that you pick up when working the 5-in-1 Pickup.

Location of the bar that you pick up when working the 5-in-1 Pickup.

3-in-1 Pickup

Rnd 1: On edge of gap, pick up three sts across cast-on edge (be sure the middle st is in the cast on st).
Rnd 2: Knit around. When you reach the three stitches you picked up, work a Central Chain Decrease (CCD). Continue as per pattern.

There will be a small gap where you first joined the yarn to begin knitting the thumb, which you can easily close when you weave in your end.

This may also be used between fingers on gloves, though it does add a little extra bulk.

Happy gap-free knitting!

Featured Patterns

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