The Long Tail Cast On is an all purpose cast on good for a variety of knitting projects. This is the method I will usually use if the pattern does not specify a different cast on.
Start by making a slip knot. This will count as your first stitch.
Hold the needle in your right hand. Place the slip knot on the needle just behind the taper of the point, with the short end of the yarn to the front and the attached end of the yarn to the back. Snug up the slip knot close to the needle, but not so tight that it won’t slide freely.
There are four basic steps to this cast on.
Lets walk through each step together.
Place your left thumb under the short piece of yarn and your left forefinger under the attached end of yarn. Close the rest of your left fingers around both ends of yarn. You can think of this as your ready position.
Under: Pass the needle under the left leg of the loop on your thumb. Bring the needle up through the thumb loop towards the forefinger.
Around: Reach down through the loop around your forefinger using the needle to catch the left leg of the loop.
Thru: Using your needle pull the left leg of the forefinger loop thru the thumb loop. If the yarn is not slipping through the thumb loop smoothly and easily you may need to loosen the grip in your left hand just a little.
Pull: Allow the loop on your thumb to slide off while gently pulling with your left hand to tighten the stitch around the needle.
Now get set for the next stitch by placing your thumb under the short end of yarn and repeat the four steps. Keep repeating these steps and you will soon find a smooth rhythm. Remember to keep your hands relaxed, a death grip on the needles or yarn only leads to cramping, not to lovely stitches.
Casting on your first project? Brag about it in the comment box or post it in the gallery.