Today’s post is a tutorial dedicated to teaching you how to work a perfect long-tail cast-on with no threat of running out of yarn, or having excess length go to waste.
When casting on a large number of stitches for the body of a sweater using the long-tail cast-on (which we recommend for its strength and clean edge), it is incredibly frustrating to either run out of yarn before the cast-on is complete, or finish casting on the correct number of stitches and find yourself with multiple feet – even yards – of extra yarn hanging off the end of the needle.
We use this little trick often, even when casting on a smaller number of stitches for a hat, or even a swatch. It is simple to execute and guarantees the start of your project will be frustration free!
Step 1 / Using your working yarn and needle, beginning at the very end of the yarn, wrap the yarn around your needle, counting the number of wraps. I like to use a multiple of 5 between 20-40 stitches. The larger my cast-on number, the larger number of wraps I will try to fit on the needle.
Step 2 / Unwrap the length of yarn that you just wrapped, making note of the location of the last wrap. This place is marked by the tip of my needle in the photo above.
Step 3 / Divide your cast-on amount by the number of wrapped stitches. The resultant number is the number of times you will multiply the length of yarn that you measured out via the wraps. This will determine the length of your tail.
If my cast on was 175 stitches, and I wrapped 25 stitches, 175/25 = 7. I would then fold the length of yarn seven times. This action is replicating the length of yarn that I would achieve if I had wrapped the yarn 175 times around my needle – but is much faster and easier than wrapping, counting, and then unwrapping 175 wraps!
Step 4 / Make a slip-knot at the end of the length that you just measured out. This will be your first cast-on stitch.
Step 5 / Cast on your required number of stitches. You should end up with the perfect length of yarn, just enough to weave in with no waste! And that’s it!