First, the e-loop cast on, the most basic thing in knitting. This is the first cast on I learned. It is the first cast on millions of us learned. I hated it. I would not teach it (thank goodness). Knitting the first row of this cast on was impossible. Then Sally showed me why I felt this way. Duh, I’ve been doing it backwards MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!
I can try to blame my first teacher or a yarn conspiracy or global warming, but surely I should have noticed. Especially ten years ago when Sally first told me how often she uses it. Check it out in your reference book if you wish. The stitch should open nicely to accept your needle as you knit. If it is a struggle, you may have twisted the stitch causing it to sit backwards on your needle.
My entire life!
I’ve said cast on with a larger needle many times. Then I do it with a long tail cast on. Physics for Knitters will show you that this doesn’t really work. Check out the two tails. If you, correctly, have the unattached tail in front, you will see that it never even comes in contact with that larger needle. And it is the unattached tail that forms the cast on. All this does is create a loose first row. Remember that a long tail cast on equals the cast on plus the first row of knitting.
If you cast on too tightly, use a larger needle but also use a cable cast on.
The crochet cast on is my favorite. It is fast to do, uses only one strand, and looks just like the cast off row. But I’ve managed to put a twist in that. I scoop the yarn with the hook from under the yarn and then finish the chain. That scoop direction twists the st. It is pretty, if that is what you want, but it does not EXACTLY match the bind off.
To do a crochet cast on perfectly, go to The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville. Great photos and clear instructions. Or if you live in Charlotte, just ask me to show you.
Finally, my ssk adaptation. I don’t use an ssk often; I just like the old fashion SKP better. But when I do use it, I slip the first st as if to knit, then I put it back on the left needle and k2tog through the back loops. It is quick and easy. BUT the second st is twisted. It lies behind the first st, so you really have to look for it, and my loose knitting can use some tightening, so I will continue to do this. What I won’t do is teach it.
Some of this is just more fiddly to think about than Jane the Knitter cares about. My standards are not that high. Jane the Teacher needs to know these things. Do you?
My entire life!