For the longest time if a pattern didn’t call for a specific cast on I was a long tail girl, every time. After coming up short one too many times, I switched to backward loop cast on. Yes, it’s even more basic than long-tail. Of course the big drawback is it can look a little uneven sometimes because it’s not a particularly sturdy cast on. (OK, not sturdy at all.) On occasion I’d look up a super stretchy cast on, but for the most part, these two options got me by.
Then I met Arthella, and she taught me about the long tail-short tail cast on, which is a really wonderful solution to the “always too short” long-tail problem. (Trudy mentions more about this technique below.)
And that got me wondering what I had been missing.
Since then I’ve explored some interesting techniques, including a slipknot cast on, which was, true to its description, surprisingly stretchy – perhaps even more than I needed. I also discovered Cap Sease’s book, which really opened my eyes to the insane number of ways you can start and end your project. (It’s available in space, of course.)
Since I’ve been on this exploratory cast-on quest, I thought I’d ask my fellow Yarnistas and the Chief Yarnista herself what they prefer. What follows is their responses in conversational order:
“Long tail. Always long tail.”
“Long tail cast on is my go-to. I’ll often use the two ended version – using two separate strands – from inside and outside of the ball, or from two balls. Only disadvantage is that you have an extra end to weave in. I like the German Twisted but I need to look it up every time.
“Cap Sease’s book is a good resource (with) 211 cast on and bind offs.
“I should add that I often use the crochet cast on when I want the cast on to match the bind-off – I’ve used it for cowls.”
“So, I almost invariably use the long tail cast on. I find it stretchy and versatile. I even use it when the pattern calls for something else – unless it wants a provisional cast-on. In which case, I do a Franklin Habit style provisional where you don’t use a crochet chain (mostly because I am simply not good at this style of provisional).”
“I’m also on team long tail. It gives a clean and stretchy edge, and is really easy to memorize. I’ll follow directions for a specific effect (tubular cast ons, for instance), but long tail’s my go-to.”
“Long tail is always my go-to. I love it! I love the stretch, I think it’s really pretty along the bottom, and I kind of enjoy doing it (because, apparently, I’m a nerd). If I’m doing a hat, I do cable cast on a lot just because I hate trying to figure out how much yarn I need. I’m better at getting the right amount now but I still always have a longer tail than I would like so the cable cast on keeps me sane. If I’m making socks, it’s all about Judy’s Magic Cast On since I make them toe up.”
“I love the look and stretchiness of the German Twisted Cast On especially for hats and cuffs. Judy’s Magic Cast On is my favorite cast on for toe-up socks. I recently used it as a provisional cast on and it works well.”