How to tie a slip knot – Step by step tutorial for knitters

Detailed instructions on how to tie a slip knot for knitting beginners – two different easy methods

Whenever you cast on stitches for a knitting project, you will almost always start with a simple knot. But how to tie a slip knot? In this quick tutorial, I’m going to show you two easy methods to do so.

Both are incredibly easy and it will only take 5 secs and will be the perfect foundation for your long tail cast on, etc. One is maybe a tiny bit easier, while the second may seem a bit more complicated but your hands will already be in the perfect position to continue knitting. So, it’s overall a bit more seamless.

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How to tie a slip knot with your hands

a slip knot on a knitting needle

By far the easiest way to tie a slip knot is using your hands. This is the method most beginners seem to prefer

Active Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute


  • Your hands and eventually a knitting needle to slip it on


  1. Create a simple twisted loop; your working yarn should be on your left, the tail on your right.

    a simple loop to create a slip knot
  2. Insert your thumb and your index finger into the loop coming from above.
    picking up the yarn through the loop for a slip knot
  3. Grab the working yarn (the part connected to your ball) and pull it through.

    pulling the yarn through the loop with your fingers
  4. Pull on the loop until you formed a tight knot.

    someone holding the finished slip knot in their fingers
  5. Slip the loop on your needles and tighten up by pulling on both tails.

    tying a slip knot around a knitting needle for a cast on


If you want to use this for knitting, then the loose, adjustable part should be the one connecting to your working yarn.

2. Use knitting needles to cast on a slip knot

You can also easily cast on a slip knot with your knitting needles. This may seem a bit more complicated at first and you may wonder: Why should I do it this way?

The answer to that question is amazingly simple. Once you’ve wrapped the yarn around your fingers, you can just continue with the long tail cast on in the very same position. This means you are actually saving time.

Step 1: Wrap the yarn around your pinky finger & bring the yarn across the back of your hand.

bring the yarn across the back of your fingers

Step 2: Create a loop around your thumb clockwise.

wrap the yarn around the thumb once

Step 3: Secure the yarn between the ring and pinky finger.

Step 4: Insert one or two needles (depending on how tight or lose you want the knot) into the loop around your thumb from below

insert the needle through the loop around your thumb (long tail cast on)

Step 5: Grab the yarn towards the index finger from ABOVE.

grab the working yarn towards your index finger with your needles (longtail cast on)

Step 6: Pull it through.

pull the yarn through (longtail cast on)

Step 7: Let loose of the yarn and tighten up.

one stitch on the needle (longtail cast on)

And there is your slip knot.

Now you might say: Woah, Norman, you are crazy. 7 steps, this is just too complicated and takes forever. It’s not!

In reality, it takes me about 2 secs to tie a slip knot with this method. Once you practice it two or three times, it’s incredibly efficient and easy. You can easily continue casting on from there, and the slip knot is already nice and tight on your needles.

Here is one important thing: If you want to create a long tail cast on, then make sure the tail is long enough so you don’t run out of yarn. Here’s a guide that shows you how much yarn you need for a long tail cast on.

So, This was my little tutorial on how to tie a slip know. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below.

How to tie a slip knot for knitting beginners

3 thoughts on “How to tie a slip knot – Step by step tutorial for knitters”

  1. Hello, Norman.

    Hope you’re well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m a total newbie, and while your instructions are super clear and helpful, I’m confused about the position we have to place the slip knot in on the needle when we form it with our hands. I don’t understand where the tail end and the working yarn should be hanging from. Should the tail end fall on the backside of the needle before casting on, aka the right side or the side we’ll eventually face when knitting, or should the working yarn fall on that side? Does it even matter? Really looking forward to your reply. Thanks so much.

    Take care, and stay safe.


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