Newbie question about cast on

I watched the long cast on video today and am getting the hang of it, slowly. I tried to then move on to a knit stitch but what I cast on was so tight, I had trouble getting the needle through what I had cast on (if that makes sense). Am I pulling things too tight? I’m not really sure how much I should tighten the yarn on the knitting needle. Thanks for any help!

Yes, it sounds like you’re just tightening up the cast on stitch too much. Ordinarily the knit cast on is pretty easy to insert the needle into to cast on the next stitch. Try loosening up more than you think you should and see how the cast on goes. It may indeed be too loose but you can practice making it slightly tighter until you have the tension you like. At least it’ll be easier to get the right hand needle into.
(In fact, you don’t even have to withdraw the right hand needle from the cast on stitch, just move it around to the back and pull through yarn to cast on another stitch.)

Keep the yarn loose, don’t worry about it being too loose for now, the right tension will come with practice. It’s the thumb yarn that controls the tightness of the cast on so pay atten there; also, leave a little space between the sts on the needle instead of making them snug up to each other.

I’ve only been knitting since May 2011 (not quite a year yet), and I feel like telling all these experienced knitters to STOP TELLING US that the long-tail cast on is “easy.” Bullfeathers! It is NOT easy; there are too many ways to get it wrong:

–you can pull way too much, or not [I]quite[/I] enough, yarn out for the “long tail”
–you can pull the loops too tight if you’re using only one needle
–you can keep dropping one of the needles if, in trying not to get a tight cast-on, you decided to use both needles together
–you can bring the needle “under” instead of “over”

So…now I use either the knitted-on cast-on or the German Twisted Cast-On. Somehow, it’s much easier to get a looser tension with either of these methods than with the long-tail cast-on. I may permanently banish it from my repertoire, in fact, now that I’ve found a site with over four dozen (!) identified cast-ons. (Can’t remember it right at the moment, but I’ll track it down.)

So: go look at the videos offered here at this site for the knitted-on cast-on and the German Twisted Cast-On. Approach the long-tail again in a few weeks. Try it then with both needles held together, to give yourself extra room when you withdraw the extra needle after all the loops are cast on.

Best wishes!


Yes, I could never get how to do the standard Long tail CO and realized if I used my R hand too, to ‘knit’ the thumb loop, it was exactly the same and much easier to do two handed. I usually show people the knit CO as that’s pretty much the same as knitting a stitch.

Isn’t German Twisted just a variation of Long tail? So if LT is more difficult, how would the GT be easier?

Twisted German is similar to Long Tail. I don’t think it’s easier, just different which make more sense at the time to some people. I always have to look it up before I do it for some reason. It works very well for anything that needs to have stretchier cast on like sock tops or necks. A lot of people use it exclusively.

Try a different cast on if one isn’t working for you. The only one I don’t recommend is backward loop. That may be easy, but it isn’t a good cast on for anything more than a few stitches.

True, what makes sense to one person is gibberish or more awkward for another. It’s a good idea to practice all of the because some may be better for a certain situation than another, so you can try one if your preferred one isn’t working for you.

Thanks for all the responses and advice. I never knew there were so many different ways to cast on.