How to knit the crochet cast-on

A step-by-step tutorial showing you how to cast-on knitting with a crochet hook the easy way

Are you looking for a moderately stretchy and extremely decorative edge to begin your knitting? One that is very easy to knit and very versatile on top of that? Then look no further. The crochet cast-on ticks off all these checkboxes and more!

a knitted swatch with a crochet cast on close up

And worry not! While you definitely have to cast on with a crochet hook, I’m almost 100 percent sure any knitter can do it. It’s just that simple.

close-up of a crochet cast on - someone holding it into the camera

So, let’s dive right into it and show you how to knit the crochet cast-on!

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Instructions for the crochet cast-on

someone showing how to knit the crochet cast on

The crochet cast-on creates a moderately stretchy edge with a braided finish. Make sure to use a hook that is at least as big as you knitting needles.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Instructions

  1. Start with a simple slip knot any way you like and slip it to your crochet hook.

    starting the crochet cast-on with a slip knot
  2. Place your knitting needle in between the working yarn and your crochet hook. Use your thumb and index finger to keep things in place.

    placing the knitting needle in between working yarn and crochet hook
  3. Grab the working yarn coming in from below.

    grabbing the yarn with the crochet hook
  4. Twist the hook so it faces downwards and pull the yarn through

    pulling the yarn through the slip knot with the crochet hook
  5. Use the fingers of your right hand to bring the working yarn to the back again.

    manually bringing the working yarn to the back of the needle
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 until you cast on the required number (minus one).

    continuing to repeat these steps for the crochet cast-on
  7. Then, slip the last loop on your crochet hook back to the knitting needle and start knitting across.

    slipping the last loop on the hook back to the needle to finish the crochet cast-on

#1 Alternative way to knit the crochet cast-on

I want you to know that you can achieve the very same edge using a slightly different technique as well. While I personally prefer the first method, I know for a fact that others find this second technique a bit easier. You only have to adjust things slightly.

Step 1: Start with your knitting needle in between crochet hook and working yarn (just like before).

placing the crochet hook above the needle with the yarn held in the back

Step 2: Now, wrap the working yarn across the crochet hook and around the knitting needle once. It should end up in the back (just like before).

wrapping the yarn around crochet hook and knitting needle towards the back

Step 3: Pull the working yarn (the part that is wrapped around the crochet hook) downwards and through the loop on your crochet hook.

pull the yarn through the loop

Repeat these three steps over and over again for the exact same result. Basically, it boils down to whether you want to move the yarn to the back before or after crocheting that stitch.

Alternative #2

It’s very important to realize that the crochet cast-on is just a glorified chain stitch. The only difference is that you do it a bit looser and around the knitting needle. But you can also do it separately.

Step 1: (Starting with a slip knot), crochet a chain stitch with as many stitches as you want to cast on.

someone starting knitting with a crochet chain stitch

Step 2: Pick up the ridges on the back of the chain stitch one at a time coming in from the front.

picking up the chain stitches with knitting needle to form a cast-on edge

Again, it will be the exact same result. Just a different way to get there.

Provisional cast-on with a crochet hook

knitting across the provisional cast on in plain stockinette stitch

There is yet more to explore for you. I told you that the crochet cast-on is super versatile. Well, you can also use it to create a provisional cast-on. It will be the EXACT same technique. The only difference is that you do it with some scrap yarn and then knit across the first row with your proper yarn. Typically you start and end with 3 chain stitches to make it a bit easier to unravel later on (though you don’t have to).

Here’s my full tutorial on the provisional cast-on with a crochet hook

And there is one last thing I want you to know. If you pair this cast-on with a crochet bind-off, you will end up with perfectly matching edges. So, that’s definitely something to consider for your next project.

someone holding up a swatch finished with the crochet bind-off

I often feel that it’s those little details that make all the difference – especially as it’s not particularly hard to do. In fact, I would say that any beginner can do this. All it takes is someone to point you in the right direction. Also, it’s a healthy reminder that thinking in terms of knitting vs crochet probably won’t get you very far. The two crafts are best when you combine them!

Anyway, that’s how to do the crochet cast-on in knitting. Comment below in case you still have any questions.

how to knit the crochet cast-on - step by step tutorial for beginners

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