Monday, November 08, 2010

the long tailed cast on

I just wanted to muse a little today about the long tail cast on, as a few participants in the MKAL have expressed concern about the cast on.

When executed correctly a long-tail cast on should be a stretchy cast on. I've never really considered before now, that some people's LTCO may not be as stretchy as it should.

So here's a couple of photos to highlight how stretchy it should be:

This is the neckline for the smallest sizing at rest, this has been worn and tried on so has stretched a little bit laterally.

Same neckline, stretched out not quite to its widest capacity. See all that stretch there? There's at least a good 5 inches laterally and 10 inches overall.

In testing I tried it on over both my almost 24 month old, who has a bigger than average head for his age,

and myself. There was even a bit of room over my noggin. I've got a 56cm head.

I even tried it on over DK's head, it fit over his head but was a bit tight on his nose hehehehe Obviously not so pretty :P

Anyway, if your LTCO is not as stretchy as mine and you do have issues with the fit, here are a couple of things to try:

1. When you're working your cast on, make sure the stitch you create is not too tight or snug on the needle. Remember the aim is to create a stretchy stitch so you don't want it to be too tight. There does need to be a bit of give and leeway between each stitch.

2. Resist the urge to tighten each stitch to make the stitches more uniform in size. The main issue for many people seems to be with the last movement in creating each stitch. The tension you create with your thumb and the up and over should be just enough, it doesn't need anymore applied. DO NOT tighten the stitch after this movement.

3. If you're still not getting the required stretch, try casting on over two needles. This should force you to cast on more loosely.

For some more advice on achieving the ultimate LTCO see the Techknitter's blog post here. She really is the Knitting Sage, when it comes to all things technical!!!

Go on, try it on over your head too. I know you want to!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. thanks for the insight Georgie. I did have some concerns about the sizing of the neck and you know what? Yep I'm absolutely guilty of casting on nice and tight when as you pointed out it doesn't need to be so! I haven't got around to step 2 yet so I think I may just frog and start again.

  2. Oh, so what we've knitted so far is the neck? I thought it was the eye . . .

  3. well, it may not be the's just that people were trying it on over that part of the body... But Kylie, you may be closer to the truth PMSL

  4. Just last night my boy called me a knitting geek because I was carrying on about how much I love the LTCO. ANd how I think now that I've got the hang of it that the LTCO is my favourite cast on of them all.
    Have a really happy week. X

  5. Thanks for the tips - I'm definitely guilt of casting on too tight! Love this KAL - so great to have help along every step of the way! :)

  6. This idea is great wth all long tail cast. Very perfect stretch for small kids. Simply superb try. Gonna a give a try over it. Thanks for sharing. Great job!!!

  7. Hi, I love your blog, have been following for a long time. Yet to knit one of your patterns though as I am not much of a knitter. love them though. Have you seen my new vintage-inspired swimwear? they would look great on lily. I am having a giveaway at the moment, you should take a squiz:-)

  8. Love the long tail cast on, but as I have a tendancy to snug up my stitches I use a twisted long tail (sometimes called a german twisted long tail) for that extra bit of stretch and desnug my over enthusiastic snugging.

  9. Thank you for that link-what a great site :)


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