How to knit tutorial: the crochet cast-on method (for knitting right-handed)

Casting On With a Hook and a Needle

The crochet cast-on method creates a really neat edge that resembles a chain cast-off edge. Because of this, this cast-on method is sometimes known as the cast-off cast-on method.

If you already crochet, then you should find this method fairly straightforward; if you don’t crochet, be brave because this is a really useful cast-on method.

The following explanations and images are for those who knit right-handed, that is, your working hand is your right hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and the stitches move from the left to right needle as you knit. Alternatively, take a look at How to Knit: The Crochet Cast-on Method (for knitting left-handed).

Crochet cast-on: Carry casting-on new stitches until you have one fewer than required.

Casting On, One Chain at a Time

Make a slipknot and place it on the crochet hook; hold the crochet hook in your right hand. Wrap the yarn around your left hand as if to crochet and hold a knitting needle in the same hand. Place the knitting needle over the ball end of the yarn.

Crochet cast-on: Start with the hook in the dominant hand and the knitting needle in the non-dominant hand

Pass your crochet hook over the knitting needle.

Crochet cast-on: Pass the crochet hook over the knitting needle

Grab the yarn with the hook (move the hook back under the yarn, then forward over it), so the yarn is round the hook.

Crochet cast-on: Grab the yarn with the crochet hook

Pull the yarn through the loop on the hook, thus creating a stitch on the knitting needle.

Crochet cast-on: Pull the yarn through the loop on the hook

Pass the yarn backwards between the hook and needle; this is the tricky bit, but once you know what you’re doing it’ll be fine!

Crochet cast-on: Pass the yarn backwards between the hook and needle

You’re ready to cast on your second stitch. So, repeat the following: pass your crochet hook over the knitting needle; grab the yarn with the hook; pull the yarn through the loop on the hook and pass the yarn backward between the hook and needle.

Crochet cast-on: Pass the crochet hook over the knitting needle again

Carry on casting on stitches in this manner until you have one stitch fewer than required on the knitting needle. For example, if you want 10 stitches, you need to cast on nine.

Crochet cast-on: Carry casting-on new stitches until you have one fewer than required.

Transfer the stitch on the crochet hook to the needle. This is important; if you don’t do this your cast on edge will unravel!

Crochet cast-on: Transfer the loop from the crochet hook to the knitting needle

You now have the correct number of stitches, with a beautiful cast-on edge.

Crochet cast-on: You now have the correct number of stitches on the knitting needle.

When Should You Use a Crochet Cast-on?

  1. Edges where you want to add a crochet edging;
  2. Edges where you want to add a fringe;
  3. When you want the cast-on and cast-off edges to match.

Want to Learn More?

Take a look at my other tutorials. Choose from:

Tutorials for knitting right-handed

You knit right-handed if your right hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and you move your stitches from your left-hand needle to your right-hand needle as you knit.

Tutorials for knitting left-handed

You knit left-handed if your left hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and you move your stitches move from your right-hand needle to your left-hand needle as you knit.

Tutorials for crocheting right-handed

You crochet right-handed if your right hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and your new stitches are on the left of your old ones.

Tutorials for crocheting left-handed

You crochet left-handed if your left hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and your new stitches are on the right of your old ones.

Or maybe you’d like to come to one of my short courses or workshops or book a special personalised one-to-one tutorial.

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44 Responses to How to knit tutorial: the crochet cast-on method (for knitting right-handed)

  1. Mrs Lorraine Phillips 2 June 2020 at 17:14 #


    Awesome knowledge, thankyou! Just wondering if this method of cast on is stretchy enough for socks? I usually use the long tail cast-on method.

    Many thanks, Lorraine x

  2. Christine Sawicka 9 April 2020 at 20:49 #

    Thank you for the feed back on sewing knitted item’s up, is the mattress stitch the same as back stitch,. Look forward to your reply when you get chance, thank you, have a pleasant evening,
    From Christine

    • Being Knitterly 21 April 2020 at 16:07 #

      Hi Christine, mattress stitch and back stitch are not the same. When you do mattress stitch you have both pieces of fabric with the right sides facing you, which makes it easier to match stripes and patterns. Mattress stitch is sometimes known as ladder stitch.

  3. Christine 4 April 2020 at 21:25 #

    Hi there I have been knitting when ever for many years, I wish I had known this before
    Such a nice touch & makes a change from the normal one I do, I would like to share if I
    may. I crochet my seams, it leaves a nice chain pattern, but you do use more wool this way,

    • Being Knitterly 6 April 2020 at 9:50 #

      I’m glad you like this cast-on method Christine!

      You might like to try mattress stitch for knitwear seams: it makes a neat seam which is not as bulky as crocheting seams.

      • Anne Palmer 27 May 2020 at 10:52 #

        Thank you so much I’ve been knitting for many years and am delighted to learn something new

      • Being Knitterly 27 May 2020 at 12:41 #

        Thankyou Anne, I hope you find this cast-on method useful.

  4. Jo 4 February 2020 at 10:06 #

    I’ve been meaning to try this for a while but also wondering quite how I’ll do it. I’m left handed, but I knit right handed. I crochet left handed. So I’m going to have to do some real right-brain / left-brain exercise to overcome the bias one way or another to make this work!
    The benefits are obvious though – it creates such a beautiful edge…

    • Being Knitterly 4 February 2020 at 11:46 #

      I think that you should do this left-handed because you crochet left-handed. You will find that the stitches are sitting backwards (lagging leg forward) when you start knitting right-handed. Just knit into the back loop to correct this and you will be fine

  5. Nicola 13 January 2020 at 18:40 #

    This is my favourite cast-on, also known as the Chinese Waitress cast-on. Chinese Waitress can be done on 2 needles, but it’s definitely easiest using a crochet hook. I do my cast-on with a circular needle, and ALWAYS cast on an extra stitch. When done casting, I slide the stitches to the other end (i.e.,the beginning) and remove the slipknot (1st) stitch.

    • Being Knitterly 17 January 2020 at 13:17 #

      That name is new to me! I like your idea of casting on an extra stitch and removing the slip knot; I shall be trying that soon.

  6. Heather Fugere 10 December 2018 at 16:32 #

    This is also the easiest way to make a provional cast-on!

  7. Anna 16 September 2018 at 17:01 #

    Can you expound on “Pass the yarn backwards between the hook and needle.”
    I’m really excited about this cast on method but I don’t understand this part.
    Thank you.

    • Being Knitterly 17 September 2018 at 9:56 #

      Hi Anna, in the previous step when you make a stitch on the knitting needle, the yarn will end up at the front. You need to move it to the back ready to make the next stitch. You will need to move the yarn back between the needle and hook (similar to when you want to change from purling to knitting you have move the yarn back between the needles).

  8. Casey Isabelle 14 September 2018 at 15:54 #

    This is mind-blowing. Thank you so much! This was extremely helpful. I HATE casting on, and this just made my life so much easier. I’ll never go back to the standard way again! You’re a true hero.

    • Being Knitterly 16 September 2018 at 10:59 #

      Hi Casey, I’m glad you like this cast-on method. It’s pretty cool!

  9. Tony 9 June 2018 at 11:21 #

    I liked this cast on, but my initial stitch always seems to be very loose. How could I tighten it up? Thanks.

    • Being Knitterly 11 June 2018 at 8:14 #

      Hi Tony, I’m not sure whether you mean the first stitch the crochet hook (in which case you need to tighten the slip knot after you have made the second stitch) or the first stitch that you knit (in which case you could try pulling on the yarn after you’ve knitted the second stitch). The reason that I suggest tightening after making the second stitch is that it is more likely to stay how you want it; for the first stitch to become loose again, two stitches have to loosen, not one.

      Alternatively, you could try a different yarn. It could be that a slippy yarn makes loose stitches more likely. Try a non-superwash wool.

  10. Gail 6 May 2018 at 18:34 #

    What size hooks do you use.

    • Being Knitterly 7 May 2018 at 14:16 #

      Hi Gail, use a hook the same size as your knitting needle. The new stitches will formed over the knitting needle, so this will control the size of your stitches.

  11. Ceejay 7 March 2018 at 18:52 #

    Hi, am ‘calling’ from Sylvania, Ohio. Great technic. Have 200+ sts to CO for a shawl. Learned recently to read a chart. Starting at the top w/the little tab thing – – – Pembrook Wrap came together beautifully. This CO will be fun to do for my 200 + sts. (Just so my needle is long enough). Bye for now, Ceejay

    • Being Knitterly 10 March 2018 at 11:16 #

      Hi Ceejay, if you are going to cast on for a lace shawl the knitted cast-on method would be better because it is looser. If you use a normal cast on for a lace shawl the cast-on edge will gather up.

  12. Anne 25 January 2018 at 11:11 #

    Brilliant, thank you for sharing

    • Being Knitterly 25 January 2018 at 17:42 #

      Glad you found this tutorial useful, Anne!

  13. Marny CA 17 November 2017 at 8:11 #

    A way to never run out of ‘tail’ of yarn.

    Thank you!

    Now all I have to do is remember this technique for my next CO.

  14. Kelli 11 November 2017 at 12:49 #

    Thank you so much for this!! I’m a crocheter attempting to teach myself to knit and couldn’t figure out how to even get started with a cast on. This is perfect and I understood it immediately!!! Amazing!!

    • Being Knitterly 12 November 2017 at 8:34 #

      Thank you Kelli, I’m glad this tutorial was helpful. And in future when I’m teaching a crocheter to knit I’ll show them this cast-on method.

  15. Emilie Marino 24 August 2017 at 14:08 #

    Thank you for for the helpful Tutorial. the knitting cast-on is GREAT, love the web site, Thank you so much.

    • Being Knitterly 24 August 2017 at 15:42 #

      Thank you Emilie, you made my day! 🙂

  16. Linda Redbird 26 May 2017 at 14:21 #

    Thank you MUCH!!!! I just love this. Great job!

    • Being Knitterly 26 May 2017 at 17:44 #

      Thank you Linda! So glad you find this tutorial useful.

  17. EllyStu 2 March 2017 at 18:48 #

    Nicki, this is awesome! I have used a number of different cast-ons but always come back to my favourite, the long-tail. The only problem is that long tail . . . This method makes a lovely edge without any waste.
    I learned one thing. When I started to knit the first row on my test swatch, things looked sloppy. I was knitting through the front leg. I changed to knitting through the back (twisting the stitch) and tada! The stitches tightened right up and the fabric laid flat. It’s lovely. I do believe this will now be my go-to cast on.
    Thankyou 🙂

    • Being Knitterly 3 March 2017 at 8:46 #

      Hi Elly,
      So glad you like this tutorial!
      It’s good to know a variety of cast-on methods so you can use the best one for each project. I’ve not had a problem with the first row, after a crochet cast-on, being too loose, but you’re right knitting through the back leg will always tighten stitches. You could try using a smaller crochet hook when casting on. That way the cast-on stitches will be smaller and therefore tighter and hopefully the first row will be fine! Have a go and let me know how you get on. 🙂

  18. Angel 12 January 2017 at 2:34 #

    Thank you for this, it was really interesting and helpful:)

    • Being Knitterly 12 January 2017 at 14:25 #

      Hi Angel, I’m glad you found it useful!

  19. Pat Kelly 24 November 2016 at 15:03 #

    Hi! This great and like it’s easy enough but how do you finish off when you get to the other end? Is there a crochet hook finish?

    Thank you!

    • Being Knitterly 24 November 2016 at 15:54 #

      Hi Pat!
      By the other end, do you mean cast off? The standard cast-off is a perfect match for the crochet cast-on method. That’s where you knit two stitches, * pass first stitch over second, knit one stitch and repeat from *.

      • romney 27 November 2016 at 0:14 #

        I always use a crochet hook in my right hand to cast off using this method. Usually a size or so up from the needles, to make sure it is not too tight.

      • Being Knitterly 5 December 2016 at 15:36 #

        Hi François! The standard chain cast-off and the crochet cast-off produce identical cast-off edges, but are worked differently.

        Right-handed people who can crochet or pick the yarn when knitting should find the crochet cast-off relatively straight forward, since they are already used to holding the yarn in their left hand. Right-handed people who can’t crochet or throw the yarn when knitting might find it a bit harder, since they are not used to holding the yarn in their left hand.

        It’s a good tip to use a hook a size bigger than the needles, so that the cast off edge is not too tight!


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