Remember my list of knitting resolutions? Number 1 was to learn the Old Norwegian Cast-On. Well I did, and I want you to learn it, too. I also learned some really cool tips for "tail management" when casting on, so keep reading to the bottom of the blog!
Back to the Norwegian: This cast-on forms a sturdy, very elastic foundation row. It's worked with two ends of yarn-one that comes from the working ball of yarn and the other that comes from the tail end of that same yarn (just like the long-tail cast-on).
Here's an illustrated tutorial, and if you want a video demo, there's one that follows. (I like the combo of the video and illustration so I can easily refer back to the illustrations if I need to.)
My friend Mimi showed me how to do this cast-on, and she let me shoot a video of her doing it for you! There's a lot of "twisty-turny" in this cast-on, so watch carefully!
I've had many comments on the Knitting Daily site about how great this cast-on is for top-down socks, so here is a link to our free sock pattern booklet: Knitting Socks with Knitting Daily: 5 Free Sock Knitting Patterns!
The Long Tail (and sometimes the not-long-enough tail!)
One of the questions I get a lot on the message boards is how to estimate the length of tail you need for a long-tail cast-on. I once had to cast on 790 stitches for a circular shawl. Eek! I used two balls of yarn to cast on, one for the tail and one for the working yarn, so I knew I wouldn't run out of yarn (I also placed a marker every 50 stitches so I only had to count to 790 once). See the video below for a demo of this technique.
Normally, though, I just leave an inch or so per stitch if I'm casting on to size 5 or larger needles, and a little less for smaller needles.
The following video shows several cast-on techniques and provides some tips, too. The segment is from Knitting Daily TV season 4 (which starts airing TODAY in Spokane, or get the whole season of DVDs here).
Part 2 of Crazy for Cast-Ons will come to you in February. We'll talk about provisional cast-ons in part 2, and I'll give you a couple of patterns to use to practice, too!