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.

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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, this one from Knit Picks is very detailed:

(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. If you do the yarn tail over your thumb, you can make it slightly shorter.

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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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:

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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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.)

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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.)

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:

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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