How to Long Tail Cast On (traditional)

There are many ways to cast on and because you will usually be picking up along or seaming this edge at the top of the back neck, any of them is really fine. My go-to is the long-tail method, so I’ve included it here.

If you are casting on a lot of stitches, check out this tutorial!




I don’t start with a slipknot as is common; rather, I hold the yarn with my left hand wrapped around finger and thumb and loop it over my right needle. I then secure the loop of yarn to the right needle with my right finger and start the cast-on.


Step 1

With right needle, come under thumb loop of left hand.


Step 2

Then come over finger loop and draw a loop of yarn from the finger loop through thumb loop.


Step 3

Release, tighten up that stitch, and reposition fingers/hands for next cast-on stitch.



Hi Judy, We do have it on our list, but we’ve found great video tutorials about this technique on YouTube, we hope you do too! And perhaps thinking of it this way would help: with everything as you normally have it for long-tail CO except the slip knot, drape your yarn across your needle where your slip knot would be, hold yarn with right forefinger, then cast on the next stitch. The new stitch will hold the first loop in place. Good luck!


Yes, I’m totally lost, need a video.


Hi Jenness, we’ll add this to our list – in the meantime you can definitely use a slip knot. Or you can give it another try with this tip: this loop is just like step 1 but the tail of the yarn starts at your right and moves to your left, then you need to secure the loop with your right finger before creating the second cast on stitch. Hope that helps!

Jenness Weldon

Could you please do a video tutorial on how you start the traditional long tail cast on without using a slip knot. I just cannot seem to get it from the picture tutorial.

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