When I am teaching beginners, I always show them the English Cable Cast On. Not only does it give a firm, stable and even edge, but it also teaches the basics of knitting right from the get-go.
Like many cast ons, it begins with a slip knot. A slip knot is a loop with another loop pulled through it. The benefit of this is, that by pulling on the yarn tail, you can slide the loop and adjust it to fit your needle.
With the end of your yarn hanging off to the right, make a loop by crossing the tail end over the yarn. The yarn tail should be sitting on top of the loop. Now bring the yarn tail under the loop and pull it up, making the second loop. Do not let the end come through or you will lose the second loop. Tighten the knot and adjust the size of the loop by pulling on the yarn tail.
Now let’s cast on some stitches.
Step 1: Put the slip knot on one of your needles and adjust it so that it just touches the needle. Hold this needle in your left hand.
Step 2: Take the second needle in your right hand and put the tip of this needle into the slip knot, entering from the left side of the knot, going underneath the left needle and coming out the back.
Step 3: Bring the yarn down between the two needles, going around the right hand needle in a counter-clockwise direction.
Step 4: Hold the yarn against the right hand needle as you bring the slip knot up and over the tip of the right hand needle, catching the yarn. Bring this new loop of yarn through the slip knot.
Step 5: Draw the new loop forward and place it on the tip of the left hand needle, next to the slip knot. This will be a new stitch. Your slip knot will count as your first stitch.
Step 6: Take the right hand needle and insert it between the slip knot and the new stitch on the left hand needle. Bring the yarn between the two needles, going around the right hand needle in a clockwise direction.
Step 7: Keeping the yarn taught against the right hand needle, bring the left hand needle over the tip of the right hand needle, catching the yarn. Bring up a new loop and place it on the left hand needle.
Step 8: Repeat Steps 6 and 7 until you have the required number of stitches. Note that the stitch closest to the end of the needle is sitting funny. Don’t worry, this is normal. The act of making your first stitch will straighten it. In fact, if it doesn’t look funny, you have done something wrong.
I’ll be adding other ways to cast on so that you can have a well rounded repertoire to tackle any project! Stay tuned.