Casting on is essential to all your project because you won't have loops to knit with otherwise. I wish when I had started, that someone would've warned me just how much counting was involved in knitting. I've lost track of the amount of times I wasn't paying enough attention or didn't check to make sure I cast on the right amount of stitches for my projects. You will do much casting on in your knitting life and the better you are at it, the less precious the process becomes. I've been known to tear out new designs several rows into a project cause I don't like the way its coming out. I go back to the drawing board and make the necessary adjustments (Im kind of a control, perfectionist, detail-oriented type). However, my comfort level with various cast on methods has made has made this much less daunting.
There are many different ways to cast on your project and each has a slightly different feel and look to them. As a beginner I will explain 3 relatively easy Cast On Methods from easiest to most complex. I will reserve more advanced cast on methods for future blog posts once you have a handle on these. Enjoy and don't worry! These things take time and practice to get better but entering into something new with an open mind and relaxed approach can make all the difference!
Single Cast On
Single Cast on is probably the quickest and most basic method. It's also known as the backwards loop method or e- loop method. You will see why in a moment. Pay extra attention to the slip knot part as well at the beginning of the tutorial. You will need to know how to make a slip knot for all types of cast on methods.
Benefits: Quick and Easy
Draw Backs: Difficult to keep tension and can create an uneven first row. This is not as much of a concern for beginners but as you progress, other more complex cast on methods will fix this problem.
Long Tail Cast On
Long Tail Cast on is the most popular cast on method and is widely used for a its clean attractive edge. You will only need one needle to achieve this cast on.
Elasticity: Slightly less flexible. You can remedy this by using slightly larger needles to cast on.
Benefits: Quick and Clean Looking
Draw Backs: The only draw back with the long tail cast on is not leaving enough of a tail for the amount of stitches. The rule of thumb is to measure about 1" for each stitch you're casting on. Also be aware of which strand is on what side when casting on. The strand around your pointer finger makes the loops and the strand around your thumb makes the chain underneath the loops.
Knit Cast On
The Knit Cast on is the cast on method I learned first and therefore the one I've used the most. Learning this method is a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone cause you will already to know how to achieve a knit stitch. That being said this method requires 2 needles to achieve.
Benefits: Clean and great Knit Practice.
Draw Backs: I'm a bit biased so I can't think of too many draw backs with this one other than it's a tad more time consuming.