The Sewing Place

casting on using the thumb method

justpottering

casting on using the thumb method
« on: March 05, 2018, 12:04:26 PM »
I can do it, easily, but I dislike it intensely, especially trying to judge the amount of yarn needed to so it and knit the first row which is always a faff to me, whereas casting on with needles seems so simple by comparison

Can anyone tell me why/if one method is better than the other?
I've been a knitter since I was a child, and can do just about anything, my current project - cardigan for hubby - requires cast on with thumb, as I only have one more sleeve to do your replies won't help this project, but I am thinking in future if it says this I will ignore it what I don't know is if that will make any difference.

This is what I'm making

https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Sirdar-Country-Style-DK-Knitting-Pattern-for-Jackets-9365/1466396071?thm=1000
JP
Dressmaker - but first......tea

Francesca

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2018, 12:06:32 PM »
Normally, different cast-on methods are required based on what sort of seam you want. Certain methods are more stretchy whereas others are more stable. So you pick a cast-on based on requirements not on ease of method.

Top tip for estimating how much length you need: wrap your yarn around the needle the number of stitches you need, then add a bit for luck. Always works for me.
Stash Busting 2019
Sewn: 36.4m
Traded: 45.9m
Added: 41.9m
Up/down: -45.95m

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Lowena

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2018, 13:15:59 PM »
Never heard of casting on any other way than with needles  :|
Triumph of hope over experience :D

Francesca

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 13:29:21 PM »
I find thumb cast-on to be the quickest but it's not that stretchy. If I want more stretch then I go for whatever method is recommended. It really depends on what you want from the edge.
Stash Busting 2019
Sewn: 36.4m
Traded: 45.9m
Added: 41.9m
Up/down: -45.95m

Follow me on Instagram

Stitches

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2018, 13:37:39 PM »
I have always used casting on with thumb method
sewing in sunny Norfolk

Ploshkin

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2018, 15:35:28 PM »
Quote
Never heard of casting on any other way than with needles

@Lowena don't worry, I hadn't either until a short while ago when I used a Bergere de France pattern.  I have since discovered that there are lots of different ways to cast off too!
Life's too short for ironing.

Lowena

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2018, 16:34:55 PM »
EEK! You live and learn  :D
Triumph of hope over experience :D

Deafoldbat

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2018, 19:17:33 PM »
I've never used the thumb method - I've tried, but my brain doesn't think that way, at least from diagrams; perhaps if someone showed me I might get it. It always seems daft to have to estimate the length of yarn you need before you start. I cast on with needles, after the first stitch, I knit behind the previous stitch and that seems to work perfectly well. There are lots of ways to cast on and off depending on what you are making,  but that cast on, and regular cast off have always worked for me.

Ellabella

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2018, 20:20:50 PM »
I usually use a long tail cast on as I find if I do a needle cast on I get a really tight edge.

If  I am doing something using more than one ball of yarn I just use yarn from two balls rather than try to guess how much I will need, cut the second ball loose after you have finished casting on.

If its a one ball project its unlikly to have dozens of stitches so Frans method works really well.
Stash reductions 2019 31m
Stash additions 2019 55m

Ploshkin

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2018, 22:19:35 PM »
Good tip about using the second ball @Ellabella .  Why didn't I think of that?
Life's too short for ironing.

BrendaP

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 00:03:22 AM »
There are two ways of doing a long tail cast on - and (if done correctly) end up being identical.   The slingshot method and the thumb method, lots of tutorials and videos of both on the web.  It's essentially a row of backwards e-loops with a stich knitted into each.

The slingshot method seems to be more popular with people who knit continental, yarn held in the same hand as the needle which supplies the stitches.  The thumb method is more popular with people who knit English style with the yarn held in the same hand as the needle receiving the new stitches (usually the right hand).

Really, all you do for the thumb method is make the backwards loop over your (left) thumb and knit into it.  Or you can purl into it.  If you are going to work ribbing immediately after casting on then use the thumb method and knit or purl appropriately.

Getting a cast on to be stretchy is about the distance between the stitches rather than the size of the stitches.  With practice thumb method of long tail cast on can be very stretchy.  Just put as little tension as you can without it all falling off the needles.
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

Fiona M

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2018, 07:34:34 AM »
I'm not much of a knitter, but casting on by the thumb method gives me a neat bottom edge, whereas if I cast on with two needles I end up with a row of loose loops along then bottom edge, no matter how tight I try to do the stitches.  Nobody has ever been able to explain why this happens.

Lollipop

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 19:39:58 PM »
FionaM that's what I find happens too.

Haven't knit for ages as I am so busy sewing but this thread makes me want to knit something!
Was Sewnanny

Kenora

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2018, 21:39:13 PM »
I agree with Fiona M that I always get a much firmer and neater edge when casting on by the thumb method. I've used this method since I was a child and much prefer it, although obviously I've used the needle method too but find I get a very slack edge.

Fran's method of estimating yarn length does work although it has its drawbacks when casting on hundreds of stitches.
Minding my P's & Q's in Portreath

BrendaP

Re: casting on using the thumb method
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2018, 21:53:54 PM »
I reckon the tail needs to be 3-4 times times the expected width of the knitting.

If you are casting on hundreds of stitches try using a separate ball of yarn (or the other end of the ball you are using) for wrapping around your thumb.  Once all the stitches are cast on cut it to a few inches.  It will mean a couple more ends to weave in, but that's less painfull than ripping out a gazillion stitches and starting again.
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/