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Cast On Tips and Tricks
We all hit a snag sometimes when casting on a new project. Either the cast on is too tight, you run out of yarn, or you just lose count! Here are some tips and tricks to make starting a new project more enjoyable!
When casting on, make sure your stitches are snug but not strangling the needle. This makes for an even cast on edge while allowing you to easily work into those cast on stitches. Making them too tight will cause your cast on to be smaller that the rest of the work, and will make that first row of work frustrating.
Find that your cast on is still too tight? Cast on with a size larger needle, or try a different cast on that adds more yarn into the cast on. For example, I use the Twisted German Cast On which is a variation of the long-tail cast on. The book "Cast On Bind Off" by Leslie Ann Bestor is a great resource for trying new cast on techniques!
When casting on a large number of stitches, you can place stitch markers after every 10-20 stitches. That way if you lose count, it's easy to know how many stitches you have on the needle without having to count every single stitch!
Find yourself accidentally knitting with the tail of your cast on? Me too! To avoid this, I like to either tie my tail in a loose knot or use these Sheep-End Minders from Crafty Flutterby Creations.
Do you run out of yarn when casting on with the long tail cast on? Estimate how much yarn to use by wrapping your yarn ten times around your cast on needle. This is roughly the length you need per 10 cast on stitches. To be even more accurate, you can cast on ten stitches to see how much yarn it takes per 10 stitches. Always add an additional 4 inches or so for safety, or add about 8 inches more if doing the before mentioned Twisted German Cast On since it uses more yarn. Example: you need to cast on 50 stitches. Wrap the yarn around your needle ten times. Take this length times 5 and add 4 inches. Place your slip knot at this point in your yarn.
If you want to skip this estimating yarn thing, you can always use the two-strand method. This involves using both the inside and outside tail of your ball of yarn. Put the two ends together and place a slip knot about 4 inches from the end (pictured below using two different colors). Place this on your needle. Use the two separate strands to cast on like you would normally for a long tail cast on. Cast on your required number of stitches not counting the slip knot. Cut one strand of yarn (this creates one more end to weave in later), and remove the slip knot from the needle. You are ready to continue knitting!
I hope these cast on tips will make your next cast on a pleasant one!
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