Although long tail cast on is any cast on method that use 2 long strands of yarn to create the first stitches (german twisted cast on, Channel Island, Estonian or Latvian cast on,...), when we say long tail cast on we generally refer to this basic way of casting on stitches that we are going to see today.
For its way to work the stitches, the structure in the base of the fabric is like we have altready knitted a first right side row. Is for that reason that in the instructions of most non circular patterns the first row starts with the wrong side row.
If it is the first time that you do the long tail cast on you can start with a slip knot. In this tutorial we will show you a more direct way to start casting on stitches
Step 1: Put the yarn over your thumb and index finger, that are open in a V position. Let the short tail hang over the thumb, taking care that it is long enough to cast on all the stitches (there are some tricks in this article).
Step 2: Hold both strands against your palm with the other fingers. We commonly call it "slingshot position".
Step 3: Put the needle above the strand that goes from thumb to index finger. Press down and turn the needle clockwise, dragging the strand on the right of the thumb, and creating the first stitch in the needle.
Step 4: Put the finger again in slingshot position. In a counter clock wise motion, pass the needle under the strand on the left side of the thumb and drag it up.
Step 5: In a clock wise motion without releasing the loop in the thumb, bring the needle over the strand in the index finger and drag it inside the loop of the thumb.
Step 6: Release the loop in the thumb under the needle. There is a new stitch in the needle.
Repeat steps 4-6 until you have casted on all the stitches you need to start your project.
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The long tail cast on can also be done with 2 hands.
With straight needles it is very usual to hold the needle under the right armpit and work each tail with one hand. If you want to try it you just need to do a loop with the right hand thumb and put the needle inside it.
Whitout releasing the loop, pass the strand in the right hand over the needle. Release the loop in the left hand loop under the needle. This way you catch the right hand strand in the needle, creating a stitch.