Casting On Process:
There are numerous ways to “Cast On”. If you visit www.knittinghelp.com you can actually watch the different cast on methods. I use the “Long Tail” cast on because it establishes a cast on that looks like you have knitted the yarn. The only thing with this method is to make sure you have enough yarn on the “tail” portion to complete your cast on. What I do is visualize about 12” of yarn to complete 20 cast on stitches. If you are casting on 40 stiches you should have about 2 feet of yarn.
To start knitting I use both strands for 2 stitches, below shows the cast on, knitting 2 stitches with tail & working yarn and show the wrong side after the end of row 1.
Example 1, cast on the stitches needed:
Example 2; Knit first 2 stitches of cast on with tail & working yarn:
After knitting the first row, you can see to the left, that the tail is now close to the second stitch not the first. This allows you to just cut off that one instead of having to weave in and out if you want to because it has become a part of the item now. After you have completed this item you will see how it really isn’t noticeable that you used the 2 strands of yarn on the first 2 stitches.
You should cast off in the same stitch as the row previously worked. If you knit that row then you should cast off in knit, if you did a Knit 1, Purl 1 row, you should cast off using those stitches. To help keep your cast off row smooth and in line with your item, try knitting 2 stitches together at the end instead of knitting both stitches. It does make a difference.
What about the number of cast on stitches?
I went over this subject in one of my calendars but feel it would help to repeat it.
Some patterns instead of stating to cast on 37 (or another number), it will state “Cast on multiple of 7 stitches” OR “Cast on multiple of 7 + 3”. This is a way of letting you know ahead of time if you want to make larger or smaller, you have that option.
Here is what you need to consider: If you want to make a cloth then the “7” may be 35 (7x5=35) stitches + a border say of 4, so you would cast on 39 stitches. If you wanted to make a towel then you know it will need to be wider so you can add 14 stitches and it would be 49 + border stitches. If they don’t give you a tip of “Multiple” you can see how many stitches are between * to * and add or subtract that number to make it larger or smaller. You have to remember NOT to count the stitches outside the * area, those are usually the ones that say Multiple of 7 + 3 and the one’s outside the * represent the 3 extra stitches.