What do I do with the tail?

I think I’ve got the knack of the long tail cast on. However, I still have quite a bit of a tail left and the knit videos don’t show any tail at all. Am i doing something wrong? I supposed I can cut it shorter, but wonder if there is something else. Thanks!!!

With the long tail cast on you have to figure out how much to start with in order to not have too long a tail. It takes practice and even then it doesn’t always work out the way we want. There are a few things you can do to up your odds though or deal with it though -

  1. Tie a knot in the tail yarns of two skeins or both ends of a skein (inside and outside piece) and then use them both by putting the yarn from one skein over your thumb and the yarn from the other skein over your fingers. If you normally use a slip knot you can still do that.

  2. You can also measure out about 10 wraps worth and count by tens till you have about the right amount. That’s how I do it. After you’ve been knitting awhile it gets easier.

  3. Just cut the yarn if it’s too long. If it’s too short there is nothing to do, but start over.


Here is a good article on weaving in ends. You weave them in among the stitches on the wrong side of the work so they’re secure.

I think on the videos here, Amy knits the tail in with a couple of stitches at the beginning of the first row. I think that makes the yarn too bulky, so just leave it hanging. After a while you’ll get more experienced at judging how much of a tail you need to cast on and will end up with just 6 or 8" or so. Just don’t cut it too short or you won’t have enough to weave in and it could come out.

If my tail is too short, I start over. If my tail is waaaay too long, I still start over. But if it’s only a little bit too long, then I just cut some off and then weave it in later.

You never, EVER want no tail at all because then the slip knot might unravel. I try to have at least 3 inches of a tail when I’m finished casting on.

I have yet to find the “perfect” method of estimating exactly where to place my slip knot. I just wing it and hope for the best.


I used to have the same problem of ending up with too long of a tail or running out of tail when casting on and then having to frog and start over. Then I found out how to do it via the internet, without any waste or running out and made this video… Hope that helps you. If you check out my other video’s you will also see the braided join, which eliminates all weaving in of ends! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_RY5gILiZE

When you’re casting on 100 stitches or more, there’s nothing more maddening than running short when you only have four stitches to go. When it gets like that, I cheat. If I run a few short with a long tail cast on, I do the rest of the stitches in a cable cast on to finish. The tail isn’t exactly at the end, but it gets woven in anyway and no one will know you did that. Now my secret’s out.

You and other knitters… I think Eunny Jang (the editor of interweave knits) mentioned this in her blog years ago.