The first step in learning how to knit is learning how to Cast On the Stitches. This post shares text and video to explain the Knitted Cast on Method.

In our last post, we saw how to style a garter stitch scarf. The Garter Stitch Scarf project  is the project I personally have all my real life students knit first. I think it’s important to start with something that can be successful and fun while learning some valuable foundational skills in knitting. Today’s post is about learning how to knit by seeing How to Cast on Knitting. This post features the first technique in a list of four that we need to make the scarf.

Not to be a downer but…..

if you can’t do these four things, hang up your needles. You simply cannot knit until you learn how to do these four steps.

But don’t worry, because we are going to go step-by-step through each technique. By the end of this series, you’ll be ready to conquer the Scarf Knitting World!

What are the four foundational knitting techniques?

  1. Casting On (the subject of this post)
  2. Knit Stitch
  3. Joining New Yarn
  4. Binding Off

You can learn these four techniques and happily knit Garter Stitch scarves for the rest of your life. Some people do! Every time you change yarn and/or needles, your scarf will be completely different. Don’t believe me? Stick around, because in a couple of  weeks we are going to explore that idea further.

What’s Garter Stitch? It’s a stitch pattern, and all it means is that we knit every stitch. It yields a very distinct and recognizable knitted fabric.

Today we are going to get down to the brass tacks of what it takes to get yourself knitting. I know I have readers who want to knit or used to knit but haven’t in a long time. Consider today’s update Part Two in a Seven Part Mini Course on getting yourself going or getting restarted as the case may be. If you already knit, then I hope you can still enjoy the free pattern and the new videos I made for this project. This is my first time making technique videos, and I’m pretty excited about it. (PS: Part one was the post on how to style your scarf. You’ll have to visit that post to get the pattern, but trust me. Soooooo worth it.)

Today’s lesson is all about Casting On.

Casting On

What is Casting On, and why do we do it?

We have to get the yarn from the attached ball (or skein, or cake as the case may be) to the knitting needle so we can start making stitches. To get the yarn from it’s long string form to something that holds onto the needle so we can work with it, we have to Cast On the the stitches. The abbreviation for this term in knitting patterns is CO.

There are as many ways to get yarn from string to CO as there are stars in the sky, and there are so many reasons for using the different methods. The one we are going to work on in this post is called the Knitted CO. It’s a good CO to know for several reasons.

  • This CO closely resembles making the Knit Stitch, so for someone starting out, I like this one. You’re learning similar movements to making the Knit Stitch when you CO so it’s less confusing.
  • If you are making a project with a ton of CO stitches, using the Knitted CO means you won’t run out of yarn before you complete the CO. Believe me, there’s nothing more aggravating than getting to CO stitch number 490 of 500 and running out of yarn tail for the CO. What happens if you run out of tail?  You have to pull all your work off the needle and start over. So aggravating! By Knitting the CO of a project that calls for a ton of CO stitches this will never happen.
  • It’s kind of a fun way to get the stitches onto the needle!

Here’s how to do this technique:

Watch that video a few times. More than a few if you have to. Then get out your yarn and needles and practice. Try to do what I’m doing with your yarn. The video is shot to resemble how the yarn and needles will look in front of you, so try to hold your work like I’m doing in the video.

Work on just this part for a couple of days. I only casted on six stitches in the video, but you can try your hand at 10 or 20! Cast on and pull it all off and do it again and again.

The important part is to just do this over and over and get yourself to where you feel comfortable with this step. If you get frustrated, walk away from it for a while. Your brain will work on it in the background and chances are when you pick it back up later, it won’t be as hard to figure out.

Be patient with yourself if this is totally new to you! Really!! Chill and give yourself permission to make a mess. It’s part of the process! And totally ok. If you are really stuck, drop me a note on the Facebook page. But I think if you have a clear table to work on, and take your time, you’ll pick this right up.

Join me here in the next update for how to actually a knit once our stitches are in place! Can’t wait to see you there.

Don’t forget to grab your free pattern from the Style Your Scarf Update so you have the free pattern AND shopping list for the first scarf!

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Author: Pattymac

Patty loves figuring out new ways to use pom poms, where to stash more yarn and is always wondering what to bake next...chocolate or lemon? When not dreaming up new things to knit (or bake), she loves riding her beach cruiser on the Boardwalk, escaping to mid week movie matinees, and planting new things in her container garden.