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How to Do the Long Tail Cast On

July 31st, 2013

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Also known as the slingshot cast on, this technique is fast and creates a neater look than your basic cast on. If you’ve ever seen it done by somebody else it looks very complex (I was super intimidated when I first saw it!), but it actually isn’t. Once you get the hang of it, you can quickly produce a beautiful and even cast on row!

how to do a long tail cast on

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  • Becky

    I teach this method to children by reminding them to make their “duck quack” — works like a charm.

  • jburke

    I used to cast on this way – then switched to the knitting on method.

  • Erin Smith

    I have always done a ‘long tail’ cast on. How do you do anything different?

    • Zontee

      Hi Erin, there are many different cast-on methods. In fact, there are several books just of cast-ons and bind-offs! The method jburke mentions below (the knitted cast on) can be seen in our video here:

      Personally, I also like the cable cast-on and the Norwegian cast-on. Try your favorite search engine (Google, Bing, etc.) to find others!

      • Erin Smith

        Oh, Thank you!! that looks SO much easier! I always have to guess, and take out and try again with the long tail cast on. THANK YOU!

        • Zontee

          You’re welcome! The knitted cast-on is my favorite to teach people, since it’s the exact motion as knitting (except you put the stitches on the needle left instead of taking them off).

      • Pia Thadani

        wow….see, I think that looks much harder…the long tail cast on goes so quickly! although I’ve always done it with the yarns switched, so the loop that gets left on the needle at the end is from the working yarn, not from the tail. That makes the length needed for the tail much easier to judge. Is that called something different?

  • nancy

    This is the way I cast on, but sometimes I have a problem in how long of a piece of yarn I need to cast on my stitches. I am glad to learn to wrap the yarn around my needle 10 times to check, sure will try this on my next project. Thanks!

  • Andrea

    I’ve always done the long tail cast-on but I do it on 2 needles because with only one needle either it is too tight or, if I don’t tighten it, the stitches come out unequal. The problem is, with two needles the cast on can be too loose… What do you recommend?

    • Zontee

      Tip from our Studio director and head teacher Patty Lyons: It’s the spacing of the stitches as you cast on that makes them looser or tighter. That’s why she uses her finger to space the cast-on stitches (see the bottom photo above) and to keep the stitches a finger apart from each other. Hope that helps!

  • Nancy Roe

    This is the method that finally broke open the door to knitting for me. I had never been able to grasp the cast on until I bought a book called “Teach Your Kid to Knit”. My kid wasn’t interested but it taught the long-tail method in such a way that it finally clicked.