Sunday, November 21, 2010

Learning to knit - 2 sites (and an excellent cast on)

CASTING ON is the most important step in your project. I don't know why some people continue to teach the simple cast on, where the pointer finger is used. This cast on is sloppy, and its main problem (and if you've used it, you know) is the useless string that occurs between stitches as you knit--the more stitches you have, the longer, more annoying, and in the way this string becomes. The reason it is called "THE FINGER" cast on isn't lost on me. Ha. The finger cast on is particularly awful if you are working in the round on circulars or dpns. Ok...point made.

TADA - LONG TAIL CAST ON to the rescue. I tell my students that the long tail cast on - sometimes referred to as the sling shot cast on - might be the most difficult thing they ever learn in knitting. It isn't that its difficult per se, it is just a little bit awkward at first.
This link will take you directly to the pdf download:

however, if you want to roam around the site a little, try this instead:

........and you may want to treat yourself to a little something from the shop. Marge, the proprietor, is a very nice lady. I asked her for permission to use her tutorial in teaching the long tail cast on (her's is the BEST tutorial out there) and she said yes, certainly. Of course, I give her credit for the tutorial, as I should.

While there are many cast on methods, and some patterns will specify a specialty cast on.....long tail never seems to fail.

So, starting at the beginning, now that the cast on is out of the way, Lion Brand (once again) provides an excellent tutorial on its website, here it is:

When you get to the tutorial page, to the bottom left hand is a link to download in pdf all of the instructions, without having to load/watch page by page.

As with its crochet instructions, Lion Brand, when asked, gave me permission to use its tutorial for my knitting students, so long as its copyright is in place. While the cast on directions are to knit the stitches onto the needles, I still prefer the long tail - overall, Lion Brand's directions are quite good!

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