Working with a Too Tight Cast-on

If you’re dealing with a tight cast on, you may struggle with inserting your right needle tip into the stitch on your left needle to work it. You may also find that the stitches themselves are fine, but there’s no stretch between them.

Both of these knitting cast on problems can be solved in a few different ways.

What Causes Tight Knitting Cast On Stitches

Usually, this problem is created when you tug too hard on your working yarn as you place the new stitches onto your needle. It’s an especially common problem with the long tail cast on and variations on it. That’s because you are holding both ends of the yarn in your left hand. When you cast on that way, it can often result in a tight yank at the end when you twist your stitches onto the needle.

Fix one: work your knitting cast on over two needles

Casting on over two needles helps loosen up the stitches in your cast on. This option is particularly popular among sock knitters. If you find you are tugging your yarn really hard while casting on and pulling stitches too snug, using two needles instead of just one will make the stitches a little larger.

Casting on with a larger needle is a great option if you are needing using thicker yarn and needles that match, generally US size 4 (3.5 mm) and up. In this situation, casting on over two needles will result in a stitch that is too large and floppy. Instead, try going up one or two needle sizes for your cast on.

Fix two: cast on using a larger needle

Fix three: pay close attention to your surroundings

I know that when I am stressed or worried, I tend to have a tighter tension. If I notice I'm feeling this way, I intentionally make an effort to relax my hands and loosen my stitches. That means I pay close attention to how tightly I’m tugging my working yarn after each new stitch.

Learn more about how to avoid a too tight cast-on on my blog. Plus, find helpful tips and tricks to improve your knitting, patterns, tutorials, and more.