Long tail caston or knitted cast on for making a hat?

I feel like my longtail cast on wastes too much yarn esp since I can never tell how much I need to cast on over 100 stitches. Can anyone recc? using this pattern



I love long-tail especially when I am casting on a ton of stitches, but there are other cast ons…check the cast on section under basic techniques at the top of the page. I don’t think any are as stretchy as long tail, but it may be worth a try.

I’m using long tail for my EMT hats (12 down 10 to go). It makes a very nice clean edge.

I checked it out once - long tail vs knitted cast on. They use almost the same length of yarn, longtail maybe a few inches more. Inches, not feet…

Cinnybuns, I used to feel the very same way about the long tail cast on. However, I loved it so much that I never wanted to use anything else. So it finally dawned on me that I need to figure out how to measure the amount of yarn I needed for a LT cast on. I cast on 10 stitches using a LT cast on and then measured how much yarn that took. Just keep your fingers on the the last stitch that you casted (is that a word??) on and pull the stitches off the needle and then measure that length of yarn with a tape measure. Then multiply that amount by however many multiples of ten you have in your stitch requirement (10X10=100). So if ten stitches used 18 inches of yarn, then I will need 180 inches of a cast on tail. I always tack a foot on to that amount in case I screw up.

I know the way I explained it makes it sound weird and complicated. But honestly, it isn’t nor does it take much time at all. It certainly takes less time than if you were to start casting on, get to stitch #90 and then run out of yarn. ARGHHHHHHHHH! That always makes me crazy! Then I get irritated before I actually start the piece. Not good.

Anyway, this method works for me every time I use it–mostly on huge stitch amounts.

Hope this helps! :waving:


Thanks very much indeed for posting that - a five-star piece of advice!

It will save me endless hassle. :yay::yay::yay::yay::yay:

All the Best

When I have to cast on a lot of stitches I tend to use a knitted cast on. I think it has plenty of stretch and it keeps me from having to start casting on all over again cause I didn’t have enough yarn for my long tail.

I know there’s a formula for how much yarn to use for a long tail cast on so that doesn’t happen but I never remember what it is when I’m casting on.


Couple different ways to determine length of yarn needed for long tail.

  1. wrap your yarn around your needle the number of stitches required, add a couple more inches “just in case”, and you have enough length. The wrap around is what it takes to make a stitch.

  2. my FAVORITE for a LOT of stitches (more than 100)

tie two ends of yarn together from separate balls/skeins. Then do the long tail that way. No guessing…cut one of the yarns from the skein and knit away. (Place stitch markers along the way so you don’t need to keep counting)

I would go with a knitted cast on because it makes a stronger, more sturdy cast on, which is what you want for a hat.

i have never found that my cast ons aren’t strong or sturdy enough with the long tail cast on. i pretty much use it to the exclusion of everything else unless there is a really good reason not to.

now from what i have been told you can switch to knitted on cast on if you get to the end of your rope and find you still haven’t cast on enough stitches. that way you don’t have to pull your work back out again. :thumbsup:


My own particular preference is for a cable cast-on but when I first started knitting hats, I found that the long-tail cast on didn’t spin about as much on the dpns :eyes: as a cable or knitted cast on.

The stitches seemed to stay in place and gave me a hope in hell of making the join without twisting.

Many thanks for all the handy tips.

I use long tail for just about everything; I think it makes a smaller neater looking cast on than knitting on. And I find it’s very sturdy and somewhat stretchy too.

At a recent knitting class the instructor said if you take three times the measurement of what you are casting on plus another foot or so you should be okay with enough yarn to do the long tail cast on. So if your finished hat circumference is 22 in. you would need 66 inches plus another 12-18 inches for the “tail”. It all has to do with mathematics and pi and the circumference of the needle. I’m going to try it the next time when I can’t use my favorite knitted cast-on.

Another I’ve read is to allow 1/2" for each stitch plus a tail. So if you need 80 sts, measure 40" plus about 6 for the tail.

That’s the formula I use and it always seems to work.