Monday, August 5, 2013

How to Cast on Large Numbers of Stitches

At a recent knit night there was a lengthy conversation about problems with cast ons that require a lot of stitches. Many knitters said they wouldn't knit a project with a very high number of stitches in the cast on because it was too difficult to get it right??? Everyone seemed to have a different take on how accurate you should be. Quite a few knitters cast on more stitches then they need, just in case they counted wrong, and then they decrease the extras at the end of the first row. 

I have my own method. I don't like counting all of the stitches at the end of casting on as they tend to be so crowded on the needle it's very difficult to be accurate. I use extra markers and cast on in groups. In this case I need 298 stitches. I have a k1 selvedge at each end and 296 stitches of k2, p2 rib. I cast on 1 stitch, place a marker, (cast on 48 stitches, place a marker) six times, cast on 8 stitches, place a marker, cast on 1 stitch. I count each segment as I cast on. Then I recount before moving onto the next segment. I leave those additional markers in until I complete the first row. My reason for doing that and for placing them as a multiple of four stitches is to confirm each segment is k2, p2. If I run out of stitches before the next segment marker I know I've goofed and I only need to check one segment to find my error. (Unless I made 2 mistakes in one segment. In that case it's time to put your knitting down and take a break!) The segments could be of any number of stitches as long as they match up with the stitch multiples. You can use as many markers as you want. 

I'm curious, what methods do you use to get an accurate cast on in this situation?


  1. I use markers in a similar way as you. I can't believe that knitters would nix a pattern simply because the cast on was too large. How long does it take to do it right from the start?

  2. I use exactly the same method :), especially for my bottom-up lace shawls.

  3. I like to cast on sets of 10 or 20 with markers between them. As an additional help, I often count out the proper amount of markers ahead of time.