I've just learned the long tail cast on. I've been knitting for years but only use the backward cast on (at least that's what I think it's called-I've taught myself how to knit so who knows-.
So what's the purpose of the long tail- what does one do with it after the cast on?
You weave it in later on. The long tail has a stretch to it. When knitting in rounds I also use it as a marker. this type of cast on helps the fabric look the same on both ends after you bind off loosely.
You can also use the tail to seam your knit garment if that's what you're making just as you could use the tail from the backward loop for seams.
thanks for the info all. I thought you were suppose to knit it in the first row after cast on but that really makes for a bunchy row.