How to Long Tail Cast On without Estimating Tail Length

Long Tail CO creates a neat edge but you are often left with too much tail or run out before you have enough stitches. When a pattern requires you to CO 200 stitches, how do you estimate how long a tail to leave? You don’t.


Here’s how to CO without having to estimate the tail length:


Step 1

Use two tails of yarn, either from


two separate balls of yarn, OR


a tail from the inside and a tail from the outside of a center-pull ball.


Step 2

Leave at least 3" on each tail, tie the ends together with a slip knot.


Step 3

Slide the slip knot onto your needle and tighten it up.


Step 4

Now separate the two working strands as if they were one long strand and work long-tail CO as usual.


Step 5

On left hand wrap yarn around finger and thumb (as seen in photo and video).


Step 6

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


Step 7

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


Step 8

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


Step 9

When you have all stitches CO (do NOT count the initial slip knot), cut one of the working strands, leaving a tail that you can later work in.


Step 10

Begin knitting with the uncut strand of yarn and when you come to the other end of your CO, slide the slip knot off the needle and pull out the knot.

If you are casting on fewer stitches, check out the traditional method.



Moltres gràcies per ajudar-nos amb les teves habilitats.


That is great information,and easy to understand! Thank you for sharing!

Kat Spitsen

That is genius! Thank you so much for sharing this great tip!🧶I will do it this way now forever!


Brilliant! This will make a big difference in my knitting!!!

H. Katherine Litchfield

Wow! This is great…and rather easy to follow. Thanks for making my return-to-knitting so nice. I’ve been away from the craft for such a long time that I’ve managed to forget much of the beginning phases. Your instructions are such a boon for me. Again, big bunches of thanks.

Diane Maher

This is great! I am facing a 200+ stitch cast on for a cowl.


Very complicated and makes no sense to me. Thank you anyway


Thank you so much for sharing this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended up with a huge long tail or not enough to finish the cast on.

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