How to Start the First Line of Knitting by Casting On

by Jessica Daniel
Learn how to cast on stitches to begin knitting.

Learn how to cast on stitches to begin knitting.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

When beginning to knit, the first step is to learn how to cast on. While there are many methods of casting on the needed stitches, the knit cast on starts the first row of knitting and introduces the beginner to the steps necessary to learn the knit stitch. The knit cast on creates a neat edge that blends in with the next row of knitting. The knit cast on is a substitute for any other cast on, unless a pattern specifically calls for a particular cast on.

Items you will need

  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles
Step 1

Make a slip knot on one needle. Make the slip knot by wrapping the yarn around your forefinger once and then once again further down your finger from the first wrap. The second wrap should be wrapped over the loose tail of your yarn. Insert the needle under the first loop of yarn, over the second loop of yarn then back down under the second loop of yarn from the back. Remove the yarn from your finger and pull the ends of the yarn to secure the slip knot on the needle. This is your first stitch.

Step 2

Start the knit cast on. Insert the right-hand needle into the slip knot, your first stitch, on the left-hand needle from the bottom front to the top back.

Step 3

Wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle clockwise.

Step 4

Pull the right-hand needle with the wrap on it back down and through the same stitch on the left-hand needle. You will now have one stitch on each needle.

Step 5

Slip the stitch from the right-hand needle onto the left-hand needle, without removing the first stitch from the left-hand needle, by sliding the left-hand needle into the front of the stitch on the right-hand needle horizontally and pulling the stitch off the right-hand needle with the left-hand needle. There are now two stitches on the left-hand needle.

Step 6

Repeat, always knitting into the first stitch on the needle and adding a new stitch to the left-hand needle until the desired number of stitches are cast on.

Tips & Warnings

  • While the knit cast on is similar to the knit stitch, there is one key difference. When knitting, the stitch on the left-hand needle is slipped off the needle after the right-hand needle is wrapped and slid through that stitch. The stitch is then left on the right-hand needle.


  • "Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook"; Debbie Stoller; 2003.
  • "Knitting Workshop"; Elizabeth Zimmermann; 1981.

About the Author

Jessica Daniel has been writing professionally since 2005. She has worked in the arts-and-crafts field, publishing knitting patterns with Lorna's Laces and My Sister's Knits. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and women's studies from St. Xavier University.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images