Cable Cast On Issue


I have a pattern and it wants me to cable cast on 314 stitches. It was very difficult for me to cast on the 25 stitches I needed for the gauge swatch. I knit very tight and I kept having to take them off and recast them cause it was too tight to slide down my 13 needle.

What is the point of cable cast on? Do I have to use it? Can I use long tailed cast on instead?

It’s a lace pattern from French Girl Knits.

Try the knit cast on instead of cable. It’s strechier, as long as you don’t pull the yarn tight, you might need to use a larger needle too. The LT cast might not be as stretchy and it’s hard to figure out how much to use for a tail unless you use 2 ends to CO with.

I would say to try using a larger needle to cast on, then knit with the correct size. You need to practice not pulling the yarn so tightly though, too.

I think using a bigger needle will make the cast on harder to do.

I will try the knitted cast on. If that doesn’t suit my needs then I’ll just have to work very very hard on the cable cast on.

Thank you both for your input.

The idea of the larger needle is to make the cast on looser. If you’re working on circular needles, try casting onto a size larger needle and then slipping the sts onto the smaller needle. That should give you more room in each stitch for your next row.

Just going up one size won’t make the CO any harder to do, but would make the loops a little bigger and easier to knit into.

The idea of the cable cast-on vs. the long-tail cast-on for lace is that there’s more stretch in the CCO, esp. if it’s been performed with some looseness (?), when it comes time to block the lace. The extra yarn in each stitch is invaluable during the blocking; that extra yarn isn’t part of the knitted-on cast-on or the long-tail cast-on. (I’m assuming that the lace piece is being cast on at the outer edge and that you’re working back to the neck edge or similar.)

I have trouble with the CCO, too, and use a crochet hook to help me get through it. Otherwise, I’d probably still be casting on the 88 CCO stitches that I had to do for a class last May!


Oh, I never thought of using a crochet hook!

The difficulty I was having wasn’t the knitting into the stitches, it was getting the stitches from the tip of the needle to the shaft of it.

They would be very tight and I couldn’t move the stitches down the shaft.

I will definatly try using a crochet hook. I won’t have to work at the very tips of the needle, so the stitches won’t have to go back and forth.

I’ll let you know how it works out.

Cable cast on was a challenge for me to get the hang of, I’ve not really used it so it might be when I do it again. One thing I found helpful was to work on the knitted cast on. Keeping the needle in the stitch instead of removing and reinserting it helped me get the tension right (or at least closer to right). Once I could see what the stitch was like on the needle it helped me to be able to adjust the way I worked the stitches to get them loose enough; with that in mind it helped me to not tighten the cable cast on too much. I couldn’t make it work until I knew what I was trying to accomplish. I mention this because you might find something in it helpful or it might help you figure out a way that works for you. Good luck with your cast on. I’m confident that you will get it.

The difficulty I was having wasn’t the knitting into the stitches, it was getting the stitches from the tip of the needle to the shaft of it.

Don’t form the sts on the tip of the needle. Stick the needle past the taper into the space between the sts, wrap the yarn around it loosely, and pull the new stitch through. Then without pulling the yarn any more, make sure the new stitch is up past the tip and onto the shaft of the needle. The key thing here is to not really tension the yarn at all, that’s what keeps enough space between them and not make them tight.

Suzeeq, That’s what I’m doing now with the crochet hook. Problem was that with using a giant needle, (size 15, not 13) I /had/ to move the stitches down to the tip just to fit the other needle between the stitches.

I’m using the crochet hook method, DogCatMom offered. I already have about 120 stitches. I’m using a size D crochet hook and it is working great. I’m not having any issues keeping the stitches lose enough to move up and down the shaft of the needle nor any issues fitting the hook between the stitches.

It takes practice to do it with just needle especially ones that large; they have a very long tip compared to smaller needles and it’s tempting to just work close to the tip. But I’m glad the hook is working for you.

It would help if you could give us a link to the pattern. I’ve found that sometimes pattern designers make it more difficult than it needs to be. We might be able to help you come up with a better solution. I think 314 or whatever the stitch count was seems like an awful lot to cable cast on. Red flags went up for me when I saw that number.

Some shawls that start at the bottom edge and use 300-400 sts, and it’s easier to use a single CO than long tail. But I usually do the knit cast on so it’s looser and stretchier. Some people find cable to be stretchier but you have to do it very very loosely.

On Sunday, I finished casting on 449 sts for the outer edge of the Stora Dimun Faroese-style shawl from Cheryl Oberle’s book, Folk Shawls

Which is why, in my first response to this thread, I inquired whether the OP’s project is starting at the outer edge and working back to the “beginning,” as this Faroese shawl does. I mean, the rows have [B]got[/B] to be smaller than 449 sts!!! Who could wear it otherwise?


Recently there’s been lots of patterns for smaller crescent shaped shawls that start at the lower edge with several inches of lace, then a few decrease rows and short row shaping with decreases so you end up with about half as many sts as you CO. See Annis and other designs by the same person, they’re gorgeous and don’t really take long at all.

Sorry I didn’t realize this thread was still receiving responses.

I can’t give you the link to the pattern, it is in a knitting book, French Girl Knits.

I actually did the 314, got up 5 rows (after several mistakes and having to recast on multiple times) I put it on a string and put it on and it hung down to the floor. I was kind of mad. I undid it again and recast on twice more, subtracting the number each time.

I went to my knit-a-long with my 6 rows at 193 stitches and she said, oh, its supposed to be ginormous. Its a scalloped edge pattern and after you get past the scallops it (supposedly) shrinks down to a reasonable size.

I’m also size 28/30, so 314 stitches is about right for one my size.

On another note, with all that undoing and recasting on, I’ve done over 1000 cable cast on stitches, all using DogCatMom’s suggestion. I do it listening to an audiobook and several times I cable cast on over the amount I needed, using the crochet hook was so easy.

also when you put the new stitch on the needle, make sure it goes past the tip because the tip is thinner than the rest of the needle. then cast on your next stitch.