Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In Which an Old Dog Learns a New Trick

Looking at the fingerless mitts I wrote about here, it was obvious I needed to learn a good cast on method for a neat, stretchy edge. My grandmother taught me the backwards loop and knitted cast on methods many, many years ago. I "advanced" to the crochet cast on which I now use most of the time, but then quit learning. After lots of searching, it became clear that I needed to learn the Old Norwegian (aka Twisted German) technique. I wish I had a local yarn store or someone I could sit with to learn this, but youtube, some tutorials, and a few books from the library worked well enough.

Hooray! Eight stitches!
I'm still slow and uncoordinated doing this, but I think socks and fingerless gloves will look so much better if I cast on this way. My next project calls for a stretchy cast on of 312 stitches, so I'll get some much-needed practice. I'd love to hear your favorite cast on method(s) for a neat, stretchy edge, especially cast ons that work well with ribbing. Thanks for helping an old dog learn new and better ways!

P.S. Along with her cat hat pattern thoughts, on Monday Janelle posted a link to what looks like it might be the perfect cast on for 2x2 ribbing: Wooly Wormhead's Alternate Cable Cast On for 2x2 Ribbing. Janelle is an experienced knitter, and since this cast on was unknown to her, I'm reposting the link in case it might be useful to others. It's certainly timely and helpful for me!


  1. I tend to do the same cast on for everything unless the pattern calls for something specific. I had to google it to find the name - it's the cable cast on.

  2. I use the Old Norwegian for socks, mitts, or any other project that needs a stretchy edge. Recently, I learned the Tubular cast on and love it for ribbing. The book Cast On, Bind Off by Bestor is full of great tips and tricks.

  3. I found this one ( by searching YouTube for "stretchy cast on". It has become my go-to for nearly everything because it is as fast as the long tail cast on but every bit as stretchy as the knit fabric it begins.

  4. Old Norwegian is what I teach (and use :-) for socks. I use a knitted cast on (very similar to the cable cast on except that the new stitches come from the stitch before, not the gap between two stitches) for casting on lace shawls. It blocks out beautifully.

    I've seen a lot of designers doing tubular cast-ons for ribbed edges. I haven't tried it ... but I think this could be the year!

  5. I just learned (recently) how to do the cable cast on. And tend to use that one the most now.

    Linda in VA

  6. I usually use either the long-tail cast-on (which has other names, too) or the cable cast-on. But, thanks to You Tube, I can do ANYTHING when I need to!!!


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