When my aunt taught me to knit the Eastern (Russian )way many years ago, she didn’t tell me the name of the cast-on technique that she used to cast on stitches. To her, it was the only way to cast on stitches – a way that is simple, quick and reliable.
I think that up to this day, she has no idea that there are other ways to cast on stitches. Not because she is not curious or educated enough. No. She simply doesn’t need any other way. The method that she’d been using all her life to knit countless sweaters, hats, scarves and skirts, served her well and she had no need to look for a different technique.
It is a fascinating feature of the Eastern (previously known as Russian) knitting style – there is often just one proven and time-tested technique for every knitting operation. Knitters use this limited set of techniques to make all sorts of projects – from thick woolen mitts to cobweb Orenburg shawls.
Just like my aunt, I didn’t know that the cast on that I’ve been using for years has a special name, and just like her, I didn’t worry about it at all. Only much later, when I started to explore knitting, I learned that this cast-on technique is a variation of the “long-tail cast on”, but done without a slip knot and with two needles held together.
This slight difference has a number of benefits. When we don’t start with a slip knot, we make the corner of the project more flexible. It is especially important when we make a shawl and want our corners to be somewhat rounded.
Holding two needles together adds more stretch to the cast on edge making a generally non-stretchy long-tail cast on more elastic.
In addition to that, this little trick makes the stitches bigger and we don’t struggle when we work the first row or round. It is a great relief for beginners who tend to be quite tight when they cast on stitches.
So now, that we understand its benefits, let’s see how this Eastern version of the long-tail cast-on works step-by-step.
You will notice right away how easy it is to work the first row. After a few rows, you will appreciate another benefit of casting on with two needles – the cast on edge is more relaxed than the edge formed when we cast on stitches with one needle.
If you want to learn all ins and outs of the Eastern (Russian) knitting style,
consider taking the course “Eastern Knitting Simplified”.
The full step-by-step photo tutorial about this method, is a part of the Knitting Collection #5. Once you order your copy of this collection, you will instantly receive a “big PDF” (336 pages!) with this and 46 other tutorials included in the collection.
You will also receive three knitting patterns as a special bonus, so go ahead and get it all right now before you forget 😊
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Matching Cast Ons and Bind Offs” Book
Discover six pairs of cast on and bind off methods that form identical edges on projects worked flat and in the round.
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.
Dealing with Unfinished Projects
Dictionary of Knitting Symbols and Abbreviations – E-Book
Eastern (Russian) Knitting Simplified
How to Shape Neckline Without Binding Off Stitches – E-Book