How To Knit Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On

Doily with Emily Ocker's circular cast-onTo do Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On (also called the Magic Circle Cast-On or Magic Ring Cast-On), you’ll need a crochet hook and needles for working in the round. You don’t need to know how to crochet to do this cast-on.

In case you don’t know, Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On is an easy way to cast on in the center of a circular project.

It makes makes a perfect circle that you can pull tight, so there’s no hole in the center of your project.

Popular top-down patterns like the Hemlock Ring Blanket and the Foliage Hat look great with this cast-on.

How To Knit Emily Ocker's Circular Cast-On

Fun news: This video is going to be part of TWO upcoming video e-books I’m working on: All About Lace and The Complete Guide to Cast-Ons. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter so that you get notified when the e-books come out!

Okay, so to recap this technique, here are the steps:

Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On:

  1. Make a twist in your yarn with the tail in front. Leave a 6-inch tail.
  2. Tension the working yarn in your left hand.
  3. Hold the crochet hook and the tail of your yarn in your right hand.
  4. Insert the crochet hook into the circle you’ve made.
  5. Bring the crochet hook under the working yarn and pull up a loop through the circle.
  6. Grab another loop and pull that loop through the loop on the hook.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until you have the required number of stitches.
  8. Slip the stitches from the crochet hook onto your circular or double-pointed needle.

After You Cast On, Begin Knitting In The Round Using Magic Loop:

  1. Divide your stitches for working in the round.
  2. Pull the tail of your yarn, closing the cast-on into a tight circle.
  3. With the flat side of your work facing you, pull out the bottom needle.
  4. Fly your needle-tip around so your needle tips are facing each other.
  5. Knit across the stitches on the left-hand needle.
  6. Repeat on the second needle.
  7. Insert a stitch marker into the first stitch to mark the beginning of the round.

For reference, here’s what it’s supposed to look like when you start:

How to begin Emily Ocker's circular cast-on

Make sure the tail is crossing in front of the working yarn.

Here’s how you insert the crochet hook into the ring you’ve made:

the second step of Emily Ocker's circular cast-on

Insert the crochet hook into the loop and under the working yarn.

Practice This Circular Cast-On With A Mini-Doily Pattern

If you want to practice this magic cast-on, you can make this fun little mini-doily. If you use worsted-weight yarn, this can be a cute coaster. If you use chunky-weight yarn, you can use it to place it under something bigger, like a teapot or flower vase.

Easy Practice Mini-Doily using Circular Cast-On

Mini-Doily using Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On


  • 10 yards worsted-weight yarn
  • 40-inch circular needles, US size 7 (4.5 mm)
  • Crochet hook, US size G (4.25 mm)

Using Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On, CO 8 sts.
Distribute the sts for working in the round.

Rounds 1-2: K.
Round 3: (YO, k1) to end.
Round 4: K.
Round 5: (YO, k1) to end.
Round 6: K.

Bind-off round: K1, *k2tog, yo, k2tog, turn, sl 1, (k1, p1) twice in the same st, then k in the same st once more, p1, sl 1, turn, bind off 7 sts (1 st remains on right-hand needle). Repeat from * around.

Fasten off. Weave in ends. Soak thoroughly in cool water, gently squeeze out excess, pin out into shape and allow to dry completely.

Good Projects Using Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On

"Foliage" by Emilee Mooney"Hemlock Ring Blanket" by Jared Flood

What Do You Think Of This Cast-On? Let Me Know!

What do you think about this cast-on? Are you going to try it? What are your favorite patterns that call for a circular cast on? What other fancy cast-ons do you like? Leave a comment and let me know!

About Liat Gat - Founder

Hi, I'm Liat, founder and video knitting expert at If you liked this article, you'll love the tips you learn from our FREE video knitting newsletter. Get it now by subscribing here.
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79 Responses to How To Knit Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast-On

  1. Donna Sires says:

    Love this! Your instructions are very clear (but then again, ALL your instructions are awesome!)

  2. Jane says:

    Thank you so much! You have shown me how to use a technique I already knew from crochet to make a knitted hat from the top down. I had tried to do that with DPN’s with an epic fail and had given up on it, but I use that magic loop to start all my crocheted amigurumi and now see how to use it in knitting! So glad you’re back and feeling better, I missed you!

    • Liat Gat says:

      Jane, that’s wonderful! I’m glad you reminded me about amigurimi. This is a great cast-on for tiny project like that. And thanks for the well-wishes – it’s great to be back!

  3. Annette R. Hogan says:

    This message is simply to note that I have a new and different email address that I wish to have future messages from Liat (KNITFreedom) sent to. I don’t want to miss even one as I absolutely love and appreciate the new skills I learn from these newsletters and videos.

    My new & preferred email is now:

    Thanks for everything, Liat.

  4. Julie says:

    I use this same method to begin crochet caps; so instead if chaining x stitches and joining at top if chain, then Db crocheting into chained circle, I skip chaining and overlap ends, and hold crossed over part until I DC x8 into loop, then pull on ends and top of hat circle closes down.

  5. Anne Marie Stevenson says:

    I wonder if there is a way of using crochet to knit either a top down or from the bottom jumper knitted in the round. I have never done this and am worried I will get the stitches twisted. Have you any suggestions please.

  6. Shannon says:

    PERFECT timing! I’ve attempted this cast on for a project only once before, with not quite optimal results, and I’m getting ready to start a circular shawl soon but was mildly dreading the cast on. Thank you, Liat! I’m so glad you’re back. :)

  7. Pat says:

    Love it!

  8. Pat says:

    Wonderful, love this site!

  9. Kerry Greentree says:

    Thank you! It just goes to show that just when you think you know it “all” you don’t! This would also make an easy way of beginning a magic ring crochet circle too.

    It’s nice to have you back. I wish you all the best!

  10. Awesome to have you back! I want to try the foliage hat with this cast-on. The throw is gorgeous, but not sure I’m ready to tackle that one!

    • Liat Gat says:

      Good idea! Maybe the Lace ebook I’m working on will help you get ready to make the Hemlock blanket. I plan on giving some tips especially for that project because it is so popular.

  11. Louise says:

    After seeing this new intro…….. and hearing your voice… MOMMA MIA… how did we ever survive without you??????
    Can’t wait to actually use this cast-on. Interesting, and not difficult at all.
    How clever :)
    Thanks Liat for bringing us into another step forward into fun ;) :)

  12. Steve Espinosa says:

    Liat, Once again you taught me something I have never done before. I can’t wait to start a project with this cast on. Of course I am eyeballing the Hemlock Ring Blanket by Jared Flood. Glad to have you back. BTW…isn’t it almost time for a visit?

    • Liat Gat says:

      Steve, I think the Hemlock Ring Blanket is right up your alley. And you could find the perfect yarn for it at Blazing Needles – I think Cynthia carries Eco Wool.

      And YES, it IS time for a visit – I actually think I may be driving right through Salt Lake City very soon! Sometime in April. I would love to see you both!

  13. Jennie says:


    Now I know you’re back! WHOOHOO!! This is a great video. I’ve tried doing this watching a different video using regular needles but the crochet hook just made it soooo much easier! You are the BEST!! Thank you! Can’t wait to send it out to my other knitting friends.

    • Liat Gat says:

      Thanks Jennie! Researching for this video cleared a lot of things up for me, too. I had no idea how easy it was. And thanks for sharing this with your friends – that is SO helpful (to me and them!). :D

  14. Marlene says:

    Finally, I now understand how this works! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  15. Cheryl says:

    Thank you for teaching me something new! And I agree with the others, your instructions are very clear. Now I can’t wait to make the doily/coaster.

  16. Wendy says:

    I have been using this method for years. Love it so much better than chain so many and then somany dc in to last chain.

  17. Lydia says:

    Liat, you are a mind reader. Just yesterday, I was looking at a tutorial for this cast on but sadly it was only a picture tutorial. Going to make several of The Shetland Shopper–free pattern on Ravelry. Really glad to have you back, you were missed.

  18. Ruth Silva says:

    Oh how wonderful…now I have to find a shawl pattern to make with this method. I’m so glad you are feeling better we missed you terribly. Looking forward to all that you have in store for us:) take care friend.

  19. Suzanne Burke says:

    Absolutely a clear and concise video on doing this great cast on! Thank you Liat! Welcome Home!
    Need to update my email addy to [email protected]. please and thank you!

  20. Denise says:

    Thank you so much Liat. I just started knitting socks after Christmas and I would
    never have done it without your help. I have mastered top-down and am now starting
    toe-up. You are an awesome teacher.

  21. Sandra says:

    Great cast on. This is one that gets my “must have” rating.

  22. Carol says:

    Another wonderfully clear video! Now I will have another project to try. We are all so glad that you are back!

  23. Donna says:


    You are excellent teacher on your tutorials, it’s easy for me cause I’m visual learner.
    So happy to see you are back, I hope you are doing much better!!! Are you going to have tutorials on how to circular knit & using the four double pointed needles? If you have tutorials already on those where can I find them?

    Thank you Sincerely Donna :)

  24. Rose says:

    This is a wonderful cast-on! Your video was very clear and easy to follow. I looked at another video on this cast-on and his was not as good as yours by a long shot. KUTGW!

    • Liat Gat says:

      Thanks Rose! And thanks to you I learned a new acronym. For any readers who don’t know (or maybe it’s just me), I looked it up and Rose said, “Keep Up The Good Work!” Yay :)

      PS I’m glad to know about that other video. I know who you’re talking about ;)

  25. Pat says:

    WOW! I actually was able to follow this and have it come out looking good. Thank you!

  26. Nancy Mc says:

    You are a rock star! I have a pattern that asks for a long tail cast on in the middle of a piece hope this works for it. Nancy

  27. nadine says:

    Thank you for your video! What a neat way to do circular knitting! Clear and concise directions. Thank you again

  28. Carol Fleming says:

    It’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m just checking email before bed and got your post about circular cast on. Too tired to look at it tonight but just wanted to say “Welcome Back!” Missed your postings!

  29. Jean Johnson says:

    Thanks Liat. I have used this cast on method for crocheting because it only leaves a small hole. Delighted to try for knitting. Not something I would have thought of. Love your videos. Thanks to you I can now knit toe up socks. I had tried – ripped out – and tried again too many times to mention. Very grateful for your precise teaching.

  30. Emily says:

    Love this cast on. I’m going to try it with the foliage hat. Instructions are great and easy to view

    • Liat Gat says:

      Emily, that’s great! The Foliage hat originally comes with some weird cast-on directions, but I think you will be much happier substituting the Emily Ocker cast-on. Let us know how it goes :)

  31. Aunrey says:

    Fabulous !! Thank you so much.

  32. Maureen D. Cole says:

    So timely. Your instructions are very clear. Can now give the shawl a try. Haven’t dared because it really seemed to hard for me but I just love the leaves. Have tried them with a baby jacket and can not seem to master them, maybe now I can, thanks again. Maureen

  33. GrrannyH says:

    This is a GREAT way to knit a hat on circulars from the top down. In the past, I’ve used the cast-on as for toe up socks, but I think this will be much better.

  34. Rachelle says:

    I crochet and knit and I’ve tried the magic circle/ring before for crochet and I could never find clear instructions for it. Now I will be able to use it for all my projects and I will have your clear and concise video to guide me if I need help! Thank you so much for your video’s. You have taught me so much! I’m so glad you are feeling better and are back:)

  35. Char says:

    As usual, amazing instructions. I tried making some amigurimi with this cast on, but failed due to unclear instructions. I really want to make some knit animals for my grandbabies to play with since they’re so cute. Thanks so much for making this possible.

  36. Todoo says:

    It’s so easy to understand.
    Thank you so much for this good trick…

  37. Pauline says:

    Liat, thank you! Will be using this cast on for the hat you mentioned.Have the pattern
    and now can get started on it.

  38. Ämy Romanshyn says:

    Liat, can you believe my local yarn store had never heard of you? OMG, I said!! Told them all about your awesome videos that they are the BEST quality and of Perfect Instruction. Thank you for sharing this one as well.

  39. grace says:

    I am a knitting beginner – (knit and purl are my limits)
    Came upon your site and absolutely love it
    It is easy to follow your instructions – there is hope for me
    Thank you

  40. Judy says:

    Thank you! You’ve taken something that has driven me nuts in the past and made is so very simple.

  41. Pauline says:

    Hi Liat, I am so pleased that you are back, I hope you get to feeling 100 percent soon.

  42. Hannah Heerey says:

    This is such brilliant timing! I wanted to start a blanket which is knitted from the middle outwards, and it said to cast on with a circular cast-on. I was like “whaaaa?!” Three days later this popped into my inbox! You are awesome Liat, so glad you are back and well :)

  43. Ainsley Morris says:

    I LOVE the Superstar e-book! It’s been REALLY helpful to a new knitter like me! And now THIS! I’m not very good with a crochet hook, as my left hand has a mind of its own (LOL), but I managed to get this done! Sort of….I’m going to have to REALLY practice it as the string that I’m supposed to pull is wrapped up…I’ll figure it out. Question? Knitting this in Magic Loop the working yarn will always be from the bottom and not the top?

    • Liat Gat says:

      Yes, I think you should think of the working yarn coming off the bottom needle. It really is the back needle.

      • Ainsley Morris says:

        Thank you SO much! I practiced and then started my project. Was a bit turned around at first, but I think I have the hang of it now! And…the working yarn coming off the bottom needle seems to be a bit easier for me to handle than when practicing Magic Loop with it coming from the top! LOL!

  44. Amy says:

    Excellent video! It is so clear and concise!

  45. Pingback: Seven days, seven links | Knitted Art

  46. Jen says:

    This is a great cast on! Your videos are very helpful. I’m completely addicted to knitting socks from the toe up. I’m thinking this would make a nice tight cast on for that! I’m glad you’re feeling better!

  47. sandra says:

    Brillant – I have been looking for ways to knit a circular bottom for a duffle bag and this will suit it perfectly – Many thanks!

  48. Lisa says:

    Thanks so much for this cast-on video! I’ve been trying to learn a circular cast-on but this one is by far the easiest. It helps that your instructions are quite clear, and I love that you explain, not only how, but why.

  49. Melissa Kahn says:

    Great to have you back and teaching! Great video, always really approachable and friendly and always really well taught. Thank you.

  50. Susan! says:

    Dear Liat!

    I enjoy your newsletter!

    Thank-you! especially for the Foliage Hat idea! The Leaf Lace pattern is timely = I’m trying to (re)invent the wimple/snood/cowl to HOWL in idea – with COLOR and lace!

    I am definitely going to try Magic Loop.. I havethe right size 0 needles – been putting it off tooooo long!


  51. Suniti says:

    Hi Liat,
    Thank you for the amazing videos. What a great cast on for circular projects! Would love to meet you sometime.

  52. Helen Marshall says:

    loved the easy circle cast on, tried once before but no luck. Am now teaching others how to do it. Glad I found your Knit Freedom site, so helpful, especially the ravelling loop .

    • Liat Gat says:

      Yay! Helen, I’m so glad. Look at you teaching others! That’s fabulous. I have another invisible circle cast-on in the upcoming ebook that I think you will like a lot, too.

  53. Julia Dawn Mason says:

    Now that I have mastered this cast on I can knit a shawl that starts with this cast on.

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