Casting on

Is there a rule of thumb for figuring out how much yarn to pull from the skein prior to starting my casting on? Way too many times I will count my stitches to find I need a few more on my needle, but have run out of yarn to work with, therefore having to pull it all out and start again. Any advice?

This sounds like long tail cast on. You can cast on with two strands of yarn (either from two balls of yarn or pulling from both ends of one ball). When you have the desired number of sts cast on, just cut the extra end, leaving about 6" to weave in later.
Alternativley, you can cast on about 10 or 20 sts, then undo the cast on and measure how many inches it took to do those sts and scale up from there. It’ll give you an estimate of the cast on.

Now why didn’t I think of that?! Guess I thought it was too simple, or i was looking for the “real” way to do it. I’m teaching myself to knit so I’m quite sure my techniques would confuse and amuse all of you who know what you are doing…

Thanks for the reply.

You know, I bet we all have quirky little ways of doing things that may not be the traditional or usual way but they work for us. Enjoy your knitting project and welcome to Knitting Help!

Yep. I could never get long tail cast on to work for me the ‘traditional’ way, but I realized that if I ‘knit’ into the thumb loop with the working yarn in the R hand, it comes out the same.

There are cheater ways of doing it also. If you find that you run out of yarn a few stitches from the end, finish the rest of your long tail cast on off by doing a cable cast on. Your tail won’t be exactly at the end, but it works. If you miscount your cast on and you’re only off by one or two, increase a stitch near the end if you’re one short, decrease one stitch if you’re one over. It beats having to recast on if you have more than 100 stitches. If you’re one over, you can also pull that extra stitch off the needle at the end and just undo it.