How to: work long tail thumb cast on
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Many knitters like this quick cast-on method using just your thumb and one knitting needle. It gives a firm, yet slightly stretchy cast-on edge by working with the long tail end of the yarn.
Use this method with garter stitch or moss stitch patterns, as the slightly ridged edge blends in well with these patterns.
There are lots of ways to cast on, and the thumb cast on is a good all rounder. It’s especially useful for yarns without a lot of natural stretch, such as cotton-based ones, as it adds a certain amount of elasticity to the edge, which also makes it handy for ribbed edges. Be sure to know the width of your section with this method, as you need to allow four times the length for your casting on tail to be on the safe side – it’s just a waste of time to have worked a lot of stitches only to find you can’t cast on the required number, or you leave yourself too short to weave in the end securely. Make a slip knot at the working end of your casting on tail (not the cut end), and put it on your knitting needle, then hold this needle in your right hand with the working yarn tensioned in your right hand as for English knitting. Tension the long tail around your left thumb, so the needle end is behind your thumb and the long end is over the front and held in this hand. Insert the needle under the yarn in front of your thumb, wrap the working yarn anticlockwise around the tip of your needle to form a loop, then slide the wrap on your thumb over the needle tip and off to complete the cast-on stitch. Tighten the stitch on the needle by pulling on the thumb tail. Reposition your thumb under the cut tail and repeat. You can remember this method as ‘thumb under, needle under, yarn round, loop over’ or just ‘under, under, round, over’ It’s easy to get carried away casting on this method, especially if you’re preparing a long edge of a shawl for example, so if you cast on too many, just slip the loops off your needle to unravel them.