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Knitting Hints on Casting On

Updated on July 24, 2019
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Denise was taught to knit by her grandmother, age10. She has been knitting and creating her own patterns ever since, and loving it.

Happily Knitting a Fair Isle Baby Blanket for my grandchild.
Happily Knitting a Fair Isle Baby Blanket for my grandchild. | Source


I learned to knit and crochet from my mother and grandmother who were both talented and creative ladies. It is a shame that so many have turned from the traditional fiber arts in favor of store-bought goods. A time will come when girls will want to know how to knit but the grandmothers who knew how will be gone and the art will be all but lost. Even my own girls, though they learned from me, have little time or inkling to engage in such an old-fashioned art form.

I have written many things in knitting and the basics of knitting and this is just another listing of the many resources and background knowledge I have learned about the craft.

Baby Blanket and bootie set.
Baby Blanket and bootie set. | Source

Where to Go For Needles

You can pay full price for these needles and accessories in places like JoAnn’s Fabrics, Michaels, Walmart or other yarn and specialty shops, but you don’t usually need to. You could shop the thrift stores and yard sales to get used needles and yarns for pennies. People are always starting projects, getting tired of them and giving them to the thrift stores just to get them out of the house. Try Goodwill, American Veterans, or Salvation Army Thrift Stores to start. I get most of my needles and accessories there. The bamboo sets are very affordable here when you can find them.

Bamboo Vs. Aluminum

I also highly recommend bamboo or wooden needles. There are several reasons for this. The plastic and metal needles are very smooth. This is no real problem for experienced knitters but beginners find it hard to juggle the needles, new skill, yarn and try to keep the stitches from sliding off the needles too soon, without the extra problem of extra smooth needles. The metal needles especially will drop stitches quicker than you realize. Bamboo needles have a natural texture that holds the stitches onto the needles better.

The second reason is that the bamboo needles have a soft subtle sound when they are clicking together. This doesn’t sound like a very big deal unless you have family who will be sitting in the room with you as you knit. The click-clack of the metal and plastic needles send my husband right out of the room. He finds the noise annoying. But the bamboo needles have a much softer, more pleasant sound.

The main problem against the bamboo needles is the sheer cost. The stores seem to be very proud of their bamboo needles as they are priced at sometimes 3 times the cost of the metal and plastic needles. This could also be one more reason in praise of the bamboo needles since you get what you pay for, and these are obviously the best. However, I have been short on funds, as I am sure most people are from time to time and bought the plastic instead of the more pricy bamboo. They work. They are just not as nice.

One of my students happily knitting
One of my students happily knitting | Source

The Easy Cast On Method

When you are a beginner you probably used the easy cast-on method. It is basically just twisting the yarn loops so they slide on in one long string. This is the best fallback for ease but not the best method of casting on because it isn’t smooth and it can often cause a stiff immovable first row instead of the soft elastic stretchiness that knit is known for. I think the best method is the Knit Cast On Method.


Tech Knitting

Tech Knitting for any technical problems you may be having, this is the best blog ever. This lady is out of Wisconsin and has a wide following. She has the best ever diagrams and illustrations for problems facing any knitter. Also if she doesn’t have the answers, her followers will also answer questions. Very helpful blog site.


Knit Cast On Method

The best place to start is at the beginning. To start, make a loop/slip knot. Insert your needle through the loop. With the loop and needle in the left hand, insert the right needle into the front edge of the lop and grab the loose yarn. Pull the loose yarn through. This is the first part to a knit stitch, but instead of dropping the old stitch off the left needle, you put the new stitch onto the left needle. Now you have two stitches on the left needle. Again insert the right needle into the new loop in the left needle, grab the yarn and pull it through. Then again, instead of completing the stitch by dropping the old stitch, you insert the new stitch on the left needle. This is so much like the knitting stitch that it is called the “knit cast on” method.

Knit cast on first stitch
Knit cast on first stitch | Source

Knitting not only relaxes me, it also brings a feeling of being at home.

— Magdalena Neuner

Long Tail Method

There is one more method called the Long Tail Method. Since this is the most difficult method to master I won’t get into it here but I will show a video if you are interested. I find the knit method is smooth and easy to perform and easy to remember, so it is my favorite. This long-tail method is the one my grandmother taught me but is difficult to master.

My handmade buttons for knitted sweaters
My handmade buttons for knitted sweaters | Source

Knitting Novels

The Blossom Street series by Debbie Macomber, begins with The Shop on Blossom Street, all about the yarn shop called A Good Yarn opened by Lydia Hoffman. The series takes many twists following several shops that open on Blossom Street, not just the yarn shop. However, the books featuring Lydia’s yarn shop include knitting patterns, good for beginners, as she is teaching a class for beginner knitters throughout the story. It also is a lovely story knitting hearts and lives together as they learn to knit. In the first book, they knit a prayer shawl, the next one is a baby blanket and the one following they learn to knit socks. Once you read the first one you will be hooked and want to read the whole series.

My grandson's knitted sweater set
My grandson's knitted sweater set | Source

Final Thoughts

I love the feel and look of knitted garments. I have knitted since I was 10 years old and I imagine I will knit until I can no longer hold the needles. If you have any questions or thoughts I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.


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