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Long Tail Cast On Knitting Tutorial

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Learn how to cast on with the long tail method. This popular cast on is a neat and easy cast on for beginning knitters.

For this tutorial I’m knitting with my cable or circular needles. You can use straight needles or circulars for casting on.

While I am a continental knitter, it doesn’t matter for cast on methods. Although this one has been called the continental cast on also since you hold the yarn in your left hand, which is the biggest difference between knitting continental and English.

For this tutorial I include written instructions with step by step photos, plus there is a video.

Stitches cast on to knitting needle.

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For this tutorial I’m knitting with Lion Brand’s Wool Ease Thick and Quick.* This #6 superbulky yarn knits up so fast.

The blend of wool and acrylic creates my favorite yarn to squish. You can use any yarn for this technique if you’re just practicing.

If you love WET&Q then you might like the Bella Vita Blanket too.


For this tutorial I’m knitting on my 8mm US 11 fixed cable needles. These Clover Takumi* are great for beginners.

The wood makes them less slippery than metal needles, which helps as you get used to keeping the stitches on your needles.

Again you can make this cast on with any needles, straight or circular, of any size. Just be sure your needles and yarn match, or reference you pattern for specifics.

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Giana Knit Pocket Shawl is a squishy garter stitch rectangle shawl, a total beginner project.

The Nocca Knit Blanket knits up quick in superbulky yarn and is a simple four row repeat.

The Bianca Bookmark is a quick knit that makes a sweet gift for a favorite reader.

Stitches/Abbreviations (US Terms)

BO-bind off 

CO-Cast On You might also check out how to cast on with a crochet hook or this short tail cast on.





Pia from StitchesNScraps has a really nice tutorial for an alternating cable cast on, or seed stitch cast on that works well for hat ribbing.

Pin It

Stitches cast on knitting needle.

Watch the Video

Check out the long tail cast on in action in my Tangi Video.

Cast On Tutorial

Stitches cast on to knitting needle.

How to Long Tail Cast On For Knitting

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $10

Learn the long tail cast on method and get ready to knit.


  • Any weight yarn, I'm using a #6 superbulky weight yarn.


  • Needle compatible to your yarn, I'm using 8mm US size 11 circular (or cable) needles. You can also use straight needles for this technique, unless your pattern says otherwise.


  1. Start by leaving a long tail, this will be used up as you cast on so make sure it's long enough for the number of stitches you need.
  2. Make a slip knot on your needle. Slip knot on needle, working yarn on left, long tail on right.
  3. Keep the long tail on your right, and the working yarn on your left.
  4. With the slip knot on the needle, scoop the two lengths of yarn with your left hand. The tail will come from the needle and drape over your first finger. The working yarn will come from the needle and drape over your thumb.
  5. Now hold both lengths of yarn with your last three fingers. We're ready and in position here.
  6. Now bring the needle down below your thumb. Notice how I'm holding my slip knot on with my first finger and thumb during this motion.
  7. Slide needle up under the yarn.Slide needle under yarn.
  8. Continue across to the yarn coming from the needle to the first finger, bring the needle over it and then draw it back towards you
  9. Keep scooping that yarn back through the working yarn that's over your thumb.
  10. Let the yarn drop from your thumb and tight the stitch on to the needle by pulling the needle away from your hand.
  11. You have cast on. There are two stitches-1 from the slip knot and then 1 you just cast on
  12. Now you are ready to re-position your hands to cast on again.
  13. Follow step 3-10 to cast on for number of stitches needed.


Tip-dont' tighten the cast on stitches too much, as you will need to insert the needle in them to knit.

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Copyright © 2021 ChristaCoDesign/Crystal Marin. This pattern is for personal use only. Please feel free to sell and/or gift items you personally make from this pattern. You may not distribute this pattern and/or photos in any form, including scanning, emailing, photocopying, or posting photos of this pattern online, or elsewhere. To share please use this link

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