How to knit the pinhole cast-on

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.

a pinhole cast-on using double pointed knitting needles on a wooden table

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!

Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article.

Instructions: How to knit the pinhole cast-on

someone showing how to do the pinhole cast-on method using double-pointed knitting needles

This smart technique works for circular or double-pointed knitting needles. You don't need to leave a long tail either - just one long enough for weaving in ends later on.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  1. Start with a simple overhand knot. The tail should be on the right (long enough for weaving in later on).

    starting the pinhole cast-on with a simple overhand knot
  2. 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.

    picking up the working yarn the normal way and holding the open overhand knot/loop in the right hand
  3. Do a yarnover.

    adding a yarn over
  4. 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.

    diving into the loop with your knitting needle coming in from the front
  5. Grab the yarn as if to knit (so coming in from above/counter-clockwise).

    grabbing the yarn as if to knit (so from above)
  6. Pull the yarn through the loop and pull tight.

    pulling the yarn through and tight
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 until you've cast-on the required number of stitches. Most patterns start with 8. So repeat 3 more times.

    repeating steps 3-6 two more times
  8. Pull on the cast-on tail to gather the stitches together.

    pulling the tail tight to gather the stitches
  9. 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.
    slipping the stitches to the other end of the needle
  10. Pick up a new knitting needle and knit two stitches.

    knitting two stitches across the pinhole cast-on
  11. Join in another knitting needle and knit another two stitches.

    joining in another needle and knit another two stitches
  12. Continue joining in a new needle every two stitches until you've used up all stitches.

    repeat joining in a new needle every two stitches
  13. 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.

    continue knitting across the pinhole cast-on according to your pattern


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

close up of the pinhole cast on with 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.

starting the crochet pinhole cast-on with a magic ring

Step 2: Work 8 single crochets (sc) into the magic ring.

adding 8 single crochets 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.

exchanging the hook for a knitting needle

Step 4: Exchange your crochet hook with a knitting needle.

exchanging the hook for 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.

picking up stitches from the crochet magic ring - one for each sc

Step 6: Continue knitting across according to your pattern.

having picked up all 8 stitches to double pointed knitting needles

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).

Anyway, that’s how to do the pinhole cast-on. Comment below if you have any questions.

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

3 thoughts on “How to knit the pinhole cast-on”

Leave a Comment

Skip to Instructions