The Complete Beginner's Guide to Knitting: Part 2
Before you begin knitting, you must learn how to tie a slipknot and how to cast on.
Slipknot- You can tie a slipknot with your hands. Let the “tail” of the yarn, the loose end, hang in front of your palm. You want a fairly long tail for the best results. Loop the yarn around your first two fingers and pull the yarn closest to the ball underneath the loop. Then, pull this yarn through the loop around your fingers. Hold the tail and newly made loop and tighten to create the slipknot. Here’s a great video on making a slipknot.
Casting on- After you make a slipknot, you need to cast on, which is the method by which your foundations stitches are made that you then knit or purl (see definitions below). This is also sometimes referred to as binding on. There are many different ways to cast on including:
- Double Cast-on or Long-Tail Cast-on- This method creates an already knitted row which is NOT counted in the pattern. Each loop is knitted onto the needle and creates a firmer edge for knitting
- Single Cast-on or Back-loop Cast-on- This is the easiest method to learn but is harder to knit from since it creates quite flimsy start.
The back loop method is good for beginners because it only requires the use of one needle and your fingers, but it does create large gaps between stitches. Hold the needle with the newly made slipknot in your right hand and the tail end of the yarn in your left (wrapping around your pinkie finger to hold it taut). Make a loop around your thumb or index finger, leaving a long tail in the yarn. Insert the needle into the loop and bring the right yarn, connected to the ball, around the needle point. Holding tension in the yarn, bring the wrapped yarn through the loop on your thumb or index finger. Pull the ends to tighten around the needle. If you had trouble visualizing this (as I certainly did), here is a video on basic casting on. The pattern instructions should tell you how many stitches you need to cast on.