Sunday, May 12, 2013

Long Tail vs. Knitted Cast On

I'm currently on the third sleeve of the cap sleeved t-shirt I'm knitting.  The third, of course, because I had to rip out the first one and reknit it.  Why? Because I realized after I finished it that I'd used a knitted cast on and since there's no ribbing at the beginning (it starts with 2 purl rows before going into stockinette), it had zero give.  It would be tight around my bicep and probably cut into my arm if I dared to move my arm at all (You know, because of my huge muscles.  Yeah.)  Grr!  I broke the cardinal rule of casting on. Which is, of course, to match the cast on to the project!  I started the second one with long-tail and am reknitting the first one the same way.  These sleeves have give, the cast on edge doesn't draw in AND, I know I'll get even a bit more room once I block.  Just what I wanted!

So, a refresher for anyone out there who is wondering about different cast ons:  The knitted cast on is a great all purpose cast on.  You can use it for just about anything.  BUT, if you want your cast on edge to be super stretchy, like for the edge of a hat or sock cuffs or, in my case, a ribless sleeve edge, you want to go with something more like the long tail

Now, there are tons more cast ons out there, and everyone has their favourite, but the key thing to remember is to take a moment to consider which one is best for your project. Pattern writers rarely recommend a cast on. They leave it up to you to figure out which one to use. And, trust me on this, there is nothing more frustrating than to get to the end of your project and realize it is all wrong because of how you started! was a fantastic resource for me in my earlier years of knitting, and I still go there first when I have a knitting related problem.  She has a long list of cast ons, descriptions of them and videos teaching you how to do them.  AND she records all her techniques in continental AND English.  (If only she also did them in mirror!) It's just one in a huge array of websites offering knitting help (you know, apart from Ravelry, which is the be all, end all of everything knitting), so if you have questions about cast ons, want to try a new one just for kicks or want to make sure you're picking the right one for your next project, I encourage you to do a bit or research.  Learn from my mistake!

May all your cast ons be the right ones,


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