Everything you need to know about the pinhole cast-on method – no matter if you want to use dpns, circulars, or a crochet hook
The pinhole cast-on is a great way to start projects knit in the round in a super invisible way. It may be a little bit fiddly but the result will be a super smooth cast-on with no discernible place where you started.
At its core, the pinhole cast-on is nothing else but a variation of the Italian cast-on but instead of your working yarn, you work it into an overhand knot. You can use double-pointed or circular knitting needles – whatever you prefer. The instructions remain the same.
Let’s dive right into it!
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- Start with a simple overhand knot. The tail should be on the right (long enough for weaving in later on).
- Pick up the working yarn with your left hand the normal way. And then also pick up one knitting needle with your right hand. Pinch the loop in between the thumb and index finger.
- Do a yarnover.
- With your knitting needle, dive into the loop coming in from the front (consider securing the yarnover with your index finger so it doesn't slip off.
- Grab the yarn as if to knit (so coming in from above/counter-clockwise).
- Pull the yarn through the loop and pull tight.
- Repeat steps 3-6 until you've cast-on the required number of stitches. Most patterns start with 8. So repeat 3 more times.
- Pull on the cast-on tail to gather the stitches together.
- Slide the stitches to the right end of your knitting needle.
Note: Technically speaking, this concludes the pinhole cast-on. Steps 10-13 show you how the first row works. Depending on your pattern, this may or may not be the same.
- Pick up a new knitting needle and knit two stitches.
- Join in another knitting needle and knit another two stitches.
- Continue joining in a new needle every two stitches until you've used up all stitches.
- Continue knitting across according to your pattern. Pull on the cast-on tail one more time to tighten it up and weave it in to secure it.
You can definitely cast on more or fewer stitches. 6,8, 10, or even 12 are possible. Distribute the stitches evenly starting from step 10 accordingly.
If you want to use circular needles and the magic loop technique, use a spare needle to cast on the stitches (steps 1-10). And then knit across half of the stitches with your circular needles, pull out the needle, and knit across the other half with a big loop in between.
Use a needle that is one size smaller for steps 1-10. This may prevent overly long loops in the middle.
Pinhole cast-on with a crochet hook
If you feel the standard version is a bit too fiddly for you or you just don’t like the way it looks, you can also use a crochet hook to do a pinhole cast-on. Essentially you create a magic ring, crochet across it, and then pick up stitches from there. Here’s how:
Step 1: Start with a magic ring.
Step 2: Work 8 single crochets (sc) into the magic ring.
Step 3: Join in the round and pull on the working yarn (this may take a bit of force) to close the pinhole in the middle.
Step 4: Exchange your crochet hook with a knitting needle.
Step 5: Pick up one stitch for every single crochet of your magic ring. Always go underneath both legs of the single crochets. Join in new dpn every two stitches as you go.
Note: You can also pick up stitches using your crochet hook. Simply pull the yarn through with your hook and then slip the loop to your knitting needles without twisting it.
Step 6: Continue knitting across according to your pattern.
Some say this crochet pinhole cast-on is a little bit easier to work. Maybe you are one of them. No matter your preferences, you might notice that this method creates a denser fabric/center. For some projects that might look a little bit better (especially if the first rows are not lace but plain knitting).