As a child, I learned to knit.

My knitting was a mixture of: what my mother taught me, what I learned from a knitting pamphlet, and my own invention. Amazingly enough, it worked. Actually, it worked quite well. That is, until I attempted circular knitting and lace. 😯

They were much less forgiving than knitting, purling, and even cables.

Over the past few years I’ve been seeking new ways (for me) to cast on. In retrospect my original cast-on either never made it to the knitting manuals or I remembered it wrong. Which is probably why it was so difficult challenging. 😕

When I learned a two needle cast on by knitting the stitches on, my heart leaped. Now I could cast-on by simply knitting stitches on the needle. How cool is that? 8)

Recently, I found the long-tail cast-on in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Workshop. Not only is it fast, it’s almost effortless to keep the stitches consistent and even. Once again, I’m in awe of Elizabeth’s knitting expertise.  Of course, she may not have invented this cast-on.

Its added bonus: with the cast-on, your first row of knitting is complete. Now that’s really clever!!

Knit side row 1 long-tail cast-on

Purl side long-tail cast-on

The pictures are a bit blurry, so the completed row may not be obvious. It’s there, though!

Here’s a picture of a simple afghan square I made with the long-tail cast on:

Here’s the link for this simple afghan square’s free knitting instructions.

So, why are the long-tail cast-on knitting instructions popular?

  • You can cast-on quickly.
  • The stitches slip on and can be adjusted so all stitches are even without hours of practice!
  • Once you finish your cast-on row, your first row is knit. So you can start with row 2: a real time saver!
  • It can be started without the first stitch being a slip knot. Combined with the even stitches, this makes a very straight border.
  • It’s easy to learn.

And yes, it’s already one of my favorite cast-on methods! My only question: Why didn’t I know about it before now?

Oh, and here’s my completed Log Cabin Afghan Square, and a second version.  It’s definitely faster to piece them for a quilt! 😀

Completed Log Cabin Afghan Square

Log Cabin Version 2

And these edges are all bind-offs, because the cast-on is for the center square.

If Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Workshop isn’t part of your knitting library, you should seriously consider it. See if you also find this small book a treasure of knitting information.


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