How to Long Tail Cast-On

Updated: a day ago

Knitting Technique

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Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool Worsted (not an affiliate, just a fan. I bought mine at Yarnology in Minnestosa).

Needles: US6 (4.00mm)

OK, Ready to get started?

Today we’re talking about the Long Tail Cast On. This is the one cast-on, that if you learn no other cast-on…I recommend you learn this one. Not only is this a fabulously stretchy knit cast-on, but you can also use it for Tunisian crochet! What? 🤯

Today, we’re talking about it in the knit version, but the technique works the same for Tunisian as well (a post for a different day). Oh! And don’t worry, I have a video of the entire process on youtube. I’ll also make sure to post a version on Instagram reels for you to save as well.

OK, so we’re going to start by talking about how to guestimate the amount of yarn you will need. Prior to figuring this technique out it was seriously a blind guess. Sometimes, I didn’t have enough and had to undo and start over. Other times, I had some crazy long tail that I inevitably had to weave in later.

To help you avoid this, I suggest you start by pulling about 2 inches or so of excess yarn.

Then, hold the yarn by your needle and begin wrapping the yarn around. Each full wrap-around is 1 stitch.

Does this add a little extra time and counting? Yes, but…. You will thank me when you’re not recounting for the 4th time because you didn’t guess the right length.

Once you have the length needed to begin, you will make a slip knot onto the needle.

Slide the needle in and tighten (but not too tight). Okay, now to begin the long-tail cast-on process… First, we need to create a “diamond” shape hold of our yarn. You create this by holding your needle (long tail strand in front and ball/cake connected side in the back) above your opposite hand, then take your non-needle holding hand, hold the 2 strands of yarn hanging from the needle with your pinky, 4th finger, and middle finger. Then with your pointer finger and thumb, insert them between the 2 strands and separate them creating a diamond shape (see image below).

OK, now you’re going to take your needle, twisting your hand that is holding the strands, insert your needle into the loop created that is under your thumb (see image).

Next, “grab” the yarn from your index finger with the needle (see image).

pull the yarn through the loop (see image).

Then tighten by “pulling” the yarn in the front with your thumb ( by hand).

Repeat this to the number of stitches you need.

That’s it! For more details check out my YouTube video.

Photographs and videos © 2021 Jenn Smith of Smith Country, LLC unless otherwise noted


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