Knitting is a fun and relaxing hobby. Unfortunately, many people are plagued with knitting anxiety, intimidated by the many kinds of stitches, yarns, and loops they’ve heard and read about. Fortunately, knitting really isn’t all that hard to learn once you have a few of the basics down. One of the first things you need to know how to do is cast on. Though the phrase may sound technical and slightly intimidating, it’s merely the knitters term for the first stitch on the needle. There are several kinds of ways to cast on, but the easiest is known as the knitted cast on, which is the kind that will be discussed here.

hands knitting with ball of yarn

But first things first: the slip-knot.


Making a slip knot is the first step to knitting. Here’s how to do it:

So you have your yarn on hand, right? (If not, this is going to be just a tad difficult).

1. First, make sure you pull enough of the yarn so that you have a “tail” at the end.

2. After that, fold the tail over the yarn so that you have a loop. (It should look like an X with a circle on top).

3. Next, take the end of the tail, bring it behind the loop and pull it through. (But don’t pull it completely tight; it may sound silly, but that’s what I did my first time).


4. Lastly, pull the new loop through the old one and stick your needle through it. Voila–your first slip knot!

Knitted Cast On

This is the easiest kind of cast on, which is why it’s the one I recommend to beginners. Here’s how to do it:

1. So you have 2 needles: one with a slip-knot, one with out. Slide the “empty needle” into the loop, front to back, opening the loop to make room for a stitch.

2. Next, loop the yarn over the “empty needle” (even though it’s not technically empty anymore) going counter-clockwise. The loops should be tight but not too tight–the loops should stay on the needle, but the needles should have room to move. As you become more experienced, you’ll get a feel for how much “tension” there should be.

3. Next, slide the “empty needle” out in front of the other needle while keeping the loop intact. This is key, and can be a bit tricky. Hold the yarn with your hand to get a better grip.

4. Last, slide the loop on the “empty needle” onto the other needle, above the slip knot. You should have your first knitted cast on.

If you’re still confused, check out this video for some visual help:

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