Why Your Cast-On Is Too Tight… And How To Fix It

Tighten thumb yarn, not index finger!If your cast-on is too tight, you are probably pulling the wrong yarn.

When you are doing a long-tail cast-on and you snug up the stitches as you cast on, tug with your thumb, not your index finger.

Why? This will tighten the knot and not the stitch itself.

If you’ve cast on with good tension, you’ll be able to slide the stitches around on the needle, but they should not be so loose that they slide by themselves.

Also, make sure that you are using the fingers of your right hand to stabilize the new stitches as you cast them on. I show you why in the video below:

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Why Your Cast-On Is Too Tight - You're Pulling The Wrong Yarn

One trick you can use if you find yourself continually casting on too tight is to cast onto both your needles at once.

Then, remove one needle and you will see that your stitches are bigger, but still nice and even:

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Use Two Needles To Fix A Tight Cast-On

You can also experiment with casting on using a needle that is a few sizes bigger than what your pattern calls for.

If you tend to cast on too loose, try using a needle a few sizes smaller than what your pattern calls for.

These cast-on tips are brought to you by...

Cast-Ons Ebook Coming Soon

These tips are a small part of our acclaimed video knitting course, The KnitFreedom Video Guide To Cast-Ons, released May 2013. Check it out today!

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Have you run into these issues? Looking forward to the e-book? Leave a comment and let me know!

60 thoughts on “Why Your Cast-On Is Too Tight… And How To Fix It”

  1. I tend to cast on too tight. This video was very helpful. I am looking forward to the KNIT freedom Video Guide.

  2. Liat, this is an eye opener. I always tighten with my index finger,but now will use
    my thumb.
    Thanks a mil,
    Pauline

  3. You are awesome!! Casting on too tight has always been a problem for me. I’ve looked high and low for tips and no one ever said to tug the yarn with the thumb instead of the finger! Thank you so much for videos like these. They are a great help! And they are done so very well!

    1. Woo hoo! Peggy, I’m so glad this tip has clicked for you! I really hope it totally makes your casting-on problem disappear. If not, just leave another comment, and I’ll help you out. Hugs!!

  4. I just want to say Thank You! I have been knitting for a few years, still intermediate and haven’t yet gone to the next level yet. I LOVE your videos! All of them. I learned to knit socks from you and I appreciate any tips you pass on to us. Always helpful!
    Just Thank You Liat!

    1. Hooray! I’m so happy you are learning a lot and that you like my tips. I’ve got so many still to write, I’m going to keep you busy for years! Hahaha. Welcome aboard and I’m so glad you posted to introduce yourself and say hi. Happy knitting!

  5. Love the two needle idea, been doing that for years, but I usually use one a bit smaller than the needles I’m using for knitting my project . So glad you’re back and hopefully feeling better! Missed your emails.

  6. Thank you, Liat! I am so happy to have found your site, am learning by leaps and bounds!! I guess I have a lot of company (from reading these posts) because I, too cast on too tightly. Maybe no more!!

    1. Hi Janci, welcome aboard! I’m so happy you are learning a ton! That’s the whole reason I’m here. :D
      So work on your cast-ons and keep me posted as to how it’s going!

    1. Good question, Kate! You can do the trick where you use a bigger needle to bind off – that usually helps most people. Also, when you are binding off, make sure you aren’t holding your working yarn super-tightly to help you get the stitch over the other stitch. Hold it tight while you bring the stitch over and off, but then ease up and push the remaining stitch down on your needle. I hope this helps!

  7. Wonderful tips on the “two tight” cast on. Thank you Liat for all you helpful hints, you always seem to bring out ideas just when I’m in need. Have a great week…..

  8. Martha Sanchez

    Thank you for the tips on casting on. I always learn so much from you. Your a wonderful teacher. Thank you again.

  9. I must be doing the longtail cast on wrong because I hold the needle in my left hand and the yarn in my right and I am righthanded. Have I been doing this wrong for the last 50 years?

    1. There is no “wrong way…” don’t worry about it! As long as your stitches come out right, you’re fine. Most people hold the needle in their right hand, but it really doesn’t matter – the yarn doesn’t know the difference! :)

  10. Hi Liat, Thank you for the info. When casting on, where is the tail end when doing the long tail cast on? In front of the needle?

  11. Liat, I think the best thing about your videos is that they inspire me to knit more. I’ve watched many of them, and I’ve never once thought, “Ugh, I can’t do that. Nevermind.” Instead, I start dreaming about what I CAN do, and then, and this is the amazing part, I actually find myself doing it! Me, my projects and my stash thank you!

  12. Welcome Back, Liat! I enjoyed the cast on Videos. I “DO” have a problem with casting on too tightly, and I now use 2-needles held together to cast on to nip that in a bud. Thanks, and I’m sooooo glad you are back.

  13. Lait,
    back in Sept 2012 on your anniversary I purchased #0158, 0161 and 0162. I thought I was recieving them in the mail.

    How do I make use of these vidoes. I have a kindle and i pad. HELP I Want to get started

    Dorothy

  14. I use cable cast-on for nearly everything, esp hats and socks. It’s so stretchy!

    I love these tips about casting on too tight. (One of the reasons I started using cable cast on was to overcome this problem) I almost certainly pull the wrong bit of yarn! I’ll be mindful next time I cast on!

    Thanks Liat!

    1. Ooh, I’m so glad you like the tips! I love the cable cast-on, too. It’s so pretty. Wait till you learn the alternating cable cast-on for ribbing – it’s gorgeous!

  15. Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  16. Your info is really good but I have a question. I have knitted a jumper, finished it, sewn it up and then discovered that the cast on edge of the body of the jumper is too tight! Is there a way I can correct it? Please would you tell me how to do it if there is?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Trish!

      It is so disappointing to find out after you’ve finished the whole project that your cast-on edge is too tight! I’m sorry that happened to you, and I hope it is the last time. As far as fixing the cast-on after you’ve finished the project, I would only attempt it if it’s truly, truly, way too tight. Blocking the edge aggressively may be all you need to loosen the cast-on.

      If you decide it needs to be re-done, what I would do is carefully cut the cast-on off. I would unravel the yarn carefully until I had a row of loops that I could use as live stitches. I would put those stitches on a needle, knit a little bit further, and then end with a stretchy bind-off.

      I do not know if this will work for you, so as a way of experimenting, why not try to knit a small swatch, in the round if your jumper is knit in the round. Knit for 10-20 rows or rounds and bind-off. Then try following the directions I gave you to cut the cast-on out and re-knit it. Experiment on the swatch, not the jumper!

      Good luck and thanks for coming to KnitFreedom for help.

      Cheers,
      Candy (Liat’s Customer Happiness Guru)

  17. Trish Irvine

    Hi Liat,
    Thanks for the reply to my casting on problem (I hadn’t realised it was tight until I had finished the garment). I tried your suggestions and the one that worked for me was to unpick the cast on edge until I had loops I could use; reknit the bottom and cast off loosely. Jumper looks a treat. Thank you so much. I’m checking my casting on in the future.

    1. Yaaaaay……….I am so glad it is working out for you Trish!

      Happy Knitting,

      Candy, (Customer Happiness Guru)

  18. Hi,I read your blogs named “Why Your Cast-On Is Too Tight… And How To Fix It | KnitFreedom” daily.Your writing style is awesome, keep up the good work! And you can look our website about love spells.

  19. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! For years (over fifty) I’ve not been happy with my too-tight cast-on. I, too, have been pulling the wrong thread. It’s good to know you can teach an old(er) dog new tricks. ;-)

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