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Cast On Thumb Method Long-Tail for Beginning Knitters

This Cast On Thumb Method helps you easily begin your knitting stitches. This is a variation on the basic Long-Tail technique, without the need to learn the traditional slingshot hold.

In just basic 5 steps, see exactly how to begin casting on any knitting project with this thumb version, giving you attractive edges with a bit of stretch.

This knitting tutorial gives written and video help for both right and left-handed knitters!

Love Knitting Help? Visit my entire Cast On Knitting Techniques section for more great tips!

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Casting on the thumb method with yarn and a knitting needle held by two hands.

Knitting Preparation to Cast On

  • Decide how long of a yarn tail you need for your knitting project.
  • Create a Slip Knot and place it on your knitting needle.
  • RIGHT-HANDED KNITTERS: Make certain that your yarn tail is on the left side, while your working yarn (attached to the ball) is on your right.
  • LEFT-HANDED KNITTERS: Make certain that your yarn tail is on the right side, while your working yarn (attached to the ball) is on your left.
Yarn, knitting needles, and hands preparing to cast on stitches with yarn tail on the left and ball on the right, then make a slip knot.

Video Tutorial of the Cast On Thumb Method Step-by-Step

LEFT-HANDED KNITTERS: Watch Cast On Thumb Method for Left-Handed Knitters on my YouTube Channel.

NEW: Web Story to Cast on with the Thumb Method.


5 Steps to Cast On with the Thumb Method

Step 1: Wrap Yarn Around Thumb

RIGHT-HANDED KNITTERS: Grasp the yarn tail with the fingers of your left hand.

LEFT-HANDED KNITTERS: Grasp the yarn tail with the fingers of your right hand.

EVERYONE: Wrap the yarn around your thumb by bringing your thumb over the top of the yarn strand and down around. You will have the yarn originating from the knitting needle to inside your thumb. It then wraps around to the outside of your thumb.

Demonstration of wrapping yarn around left-hand thumb for the Cast On method with yarn and knitting needles.

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Step 2: Pick Up Yarn Tail

EVERYONE: Insert the tip of your knitting needle under the thumb loop to pick up the yarn.

Inserting the tip of a knitting needle under the thumb loop to pick up the yarn to Cast On stitches.

_____

Step 3: Wrap Working Yarn

RIGHT-HANDED KNITTERS: Hold the needle with your left hand and wrap the working yarn around the needle counter-clockwise with your right hand.

LEFT-HANDED KNITTERS: Hold the needle with your right hand and wrap the working yarn around the needle clockwise with your left hand.

Holding the needle with your left hand and wrapping the working yarn around the needle counter-clockwise with your right hand for the cast on thumb method.

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Step 4: Pass Thumb Loop Over

RIGHT-HANDED KNITTERS: Holding the thumb loop with your left fingers, pass it over and around the needle tip.

LEFT-HANDED KNITTERS: Holding the thumb loop with your right fingers, pass it over and around the needle tip.

Passing yarn loop over the tip of the knitting needle to cast on with the thumb method.

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Step 5: Pull Strands to Finish

EVERYONE: Pull the yarn strands taut to tighten the stitch as needed. Be careful with your knitting tension! Tighten the stitch lightly so it simply hugs the needle.

Tightening the Cast On Thumb Method of yarn around knitting needle.

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Learn More About the Cast On Thumb Method for Knitters

Which Cast On Method is best in knitting?

The Long-Tail Cast On is the standard knitting choice for most projects. The edge is clean, has a little bit of stretch, but is also firm. It is a popular choice for most blanket, hat, and scarf knitting patterns.

Is the Thumb Method the same as the Long-Tail Cast On?

Yes! The result from the Thumb Method is identical to the Long-Tail Cast On. This technique uses your left thumb to more easily wrap your yarn than the traditional Slingshot hold.

What side of my knitted piece is the finished Cast On Row?

When you are casting stitches onto your stitches, you are doing so on the Wrong side of the work. Once you turn your needles and begin your knitting project, you are knitting on the Right Side.

Does the Cast On row count as the first row of knitting?

No, the row of stitches cast onto your knitting needle in preparation of knitting is not counted as a row. Your pattern will have the first stitches on the right side of your work counted as the first row.

How to Cast On Knitting Stitches Left Handed?

The technique is the same for right handed knitters, it is simply the mirror image for left handed knitters. Both the written and video tutorial instructions are available in this Studio Knit tutorial to Cast On with the Thumb Method for right- and left-handed knitters.


Cast On Thumb Method Knitting Technique

Cast On Thumb Method Knitting Technique

Yield: Cast On Stitches with Thumb Method
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner

This Cast On Thumb Method helps you easily begin your knitting stitches. This is a variation on the basic Long-Tail technique, without the need to learn the traditional slingshot hold.

Materials

  • Yarn - Any Gauge

Tools

  • Knitting Needles - Appropriate Size for Yarn

Instructions

RIGHT-HANDED VERSION

Knitting Preparation to Cast On

Decide how long of a yarn tail you need for your knitting project.

Create a Slip Knot and place it on your knitting needle.

Make certain that your yarn tail is on the left side, while your working yarn (attached to the ball) is on your right.

__________

5 Steps to Cast On with the Thumb Method

Step 1: Wrap Yarn Around Thumb

Now that you have your first stitch on your knitting needle, grasp the yarn tail with the fingers of your left hand.

Wrap the yarn around your thumb by bringing your thumb over the top of the yarn strand and down around.

You will have the yarn originating from the knitting needle to inside your thumb. It then wraps around to the outside of your thumb.

_____

Step 2: Pick Up Yarn Tail

Insert the tip of your knitting needle under the thumb loop to pick up the yarn.

_____

Step 3: Wrap Working Yarn

Hold the needle with your left hand and wrap the working yarn around the needle counter-clockwise with your right hand.

_____

Step 4: Pass Thumb Loop Over

Pass your thumb loop over the needle tip.

_____

Step 5: Pull Strands to Finish

Pull the yarn strands taut to tighten the stitch as needed. Be careful with your knitting tension! Tighten the stitch lightly so it simply hugs the needle.

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LEFT-HANDED VERSION

Knitting Preparation to Cast On

Decide how long of a yarn tail you need for your knitting project.

Create a Slip Knot and place it on your knitting needle.

Make certain that your yarn tail is on the right side, while your working yarn (attached to the ball) is on your left.

__________

5 Steps to Cast On with the Thumb Method

Step 1: Wrap Yarn Around Thumb

Now that you have your first stitch on your knitting needle, grasp the yarn tail with the fingers of your right hand.

Wrap the yarn around your thumb by bringing your thumb over the top of the yarn strand and down around.

You will have the yarn originating from the knitting needle to inside your thumb. It then wraps around to the outside of your thumb.

_____

Step 2: Pick Up Yarn Tail

Insert the tip of your knitting needle under the thumb loop to pick up the yarn.

_____

Step 3: Wrap Working Yarn

Hold the needle with your right hand and wrap the working yarn around the needle clockwise with your left hand.

_____

Step 4: Pass Thumb Loop Over

Pass your thumb loop over the needle tip.

_____

Step 5: Pull Strands to Finish

Pull the yarn strands taut to tighten the stitch as needed. Be careful with your knitting tension! Tighten the stitch lightly so it simply hugs the needle.

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THANK YOU FOR VISITING STUDIO KNIT

I hope you are inspired to give this Cast On Thumb Method a try in your next knitting project. Check out my entire library of free knitting techniques! If you’d like even more great knitting ideas, please make sure you join my mailing list. Subscribing to my YouTube channel Studio Knit is another easy way for us to stay connected and help support my work for free.

Happy Knitting to You!

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