Casting on Choice

RareSteek's picture

Hi guys. I am showing a fairly new knitter how to do a scarf 'sideways' in order to show off a couple of great homespun yarns he has. He will be casting on somewhere betwen 200 to 250 stiches on a long circular. My question is, if you were doing that, which type of cast-on would you recommend? I want something flexible but substantial enough to hold the weight without a tight uncomfortable edge. What would you say are the merits and demerits of long-tail, cable, and knitted casts on? This is a newish guy so I don't want to give him some hugely complicated method with a lot of transferring back and forth, especially since over 200 stiches will be involved. Of the 3 which I named how do they rank in order of flexibility? Why would you choose one over the other? (Or something else?) Thanks for you help.


Jerry Moore's picture

More "question" than

More "question" than "recommendation": I read a while back that The. Only. Way. To. Cast. On. for anything anywhere anytime is that whatever-they-call-it simple little loop twist over the needle cast-on -- the way one might add some sts at the end of a needle or in making buttonholes, say. A heathen's idea targeting the very heart of democracy, thought I.

That notwithstanding, has anybody tried/used/fallen in love with this method?

And wouldn't the tail of a 250-stitch cast on end up somewhere around Bakersfield?

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I use the over the thumb

I use the over the thumb cast on for lots of things, but use a variation where I add a twist as I cast onto the needle. I find it gives a lot of stretch - especially over 2 needles - for sock tops, hat edges, etc. However, for socks I may change that so I get a better wearing edge that's less prone to fraying. The best cast off I've found for over the thumb involves a sewn cast off which may be a bit tough on a newbie. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

thairapist's picture

I recommend the long tail

I recommend the long tail cast on for a few reasons.
1) it is very basic.
2) it is pretty simple to learn.
3) it is stable and creates a good edge.
4) it offers the ability to learn to cast on loosely.

I would recommend that the person possibly use a larger needle for cast on so that the second row is easier to knit and the edge is not tight.

Stan Stansbury's picture

I like the idea of

I like the idea of encouraging experimentation and letting the new knitter choose. I'd add one more option to the mix of things to try: the Twisted German. I use it for all long edges.

albert's picture

I dated a twisted German

I dated a twisted German once- didn't turn out well.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I'm afraid to ask for

I'm afraid to ask for details. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

cashmere knight's picture

Here's a little something

Here's a little something more to add with the cast on of your choice...I had read somewhere that a knitter used a provisional cast on with a scarf project (knit lengthwise as you have in mind) so that both edges would be the same when bound off. Something to consider. Personally, I like the longtail cast on. It's more relaxed, whereas the knitted cast on I found to be tighter than I wanted. Boy! That newbie is 'lucky' to have someone supporting and helping him. Have fun!

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution." --Albert Einstein

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I'd recommend either crochet

I'd recommend either crochet cast on or cable. Mainly for the reasons everybody else suggested. However, a sample piece might be the best way to go so your friend can decide what looks best for him. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

negativitysucks's picture

I use a crochet cast on for

I use a crochet cast on for most everything because it's flexible, comfortable, easy, and it looks exactly the same as the bind off edge. I learned how to do it when making The Einstein Coat from "The Knit Stitch" by Sally Melville. Since then, I've used it for socks, scarves, hats, sweaters...everything.

purlyman's picture

Not sure if you have access

Not sure if you have access to EZ's Glossary DVD - but there are about a dozen or so examples of casting on and they talk about what the pros, cons, and attributes for each are.

QueerJoe's picture

I find long-tail cast on is

I find long-tail cast on is the most versatile and smartest looking. When I use long-tail cast on with so many stitches, my yarn begins to twist and/or unply, but I still usually prefer it.

New York Built's picture

Why not make a simple sample

Why not make a simple sample of, say, 10 to 20 stitches COMBINED on a swatch for him to decide on his own? Empowering and teaches him from the get-go to be the editor of his own knitting and not a slave to someone else's vision. I know I would rather be the hunter, not the victim. Wouldn't you?
Chained or cable cast off would be my recommendation if forced to choose.

Why? I don't know what stitch you will use for the body of the scarf. But no matter what stitch used, this cast on is:

1. One of the easiest cast-ons to match with a cast-off.
2. It is a simple, low learning curve, easy to do, and handsome edge.
3. Offers a flexible edge suitable for scarves.
4. Can be used almost universally in most projects without worry.

Long tail and knitted cast on can be more daunting for a beginner, but if you steer this newbie away from "perfection" and more to "exploration", he will probably enjoy the experience more.