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Carolyn Ivy said:
This may sound silly, but I have a pattern that calls for a "thumb cast on." I am sure it is a term from another country other than the USA, because I have never heard of it before. Can anyone help me?
The 'thumb' method of casting on is the English name for what is known as the 'long-tail cast on' in America. It makes a good firm but flexible edge, this is a good explanation:

http://knitting.about.com/od/learntoknit/ss/long_tail.htm

hope that helps
 

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Hi. I'm from UK and I've used the thumb method for 50yrs. I would'nt do it any other way. It makes a very even edge. If you can get away with it I'm sure you'll like it. Good luck to you susan x
 

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Name on Ravelry: JessicaJean, no hyphen, no space.
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liketalk said:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_L41fx4Ddk

Here is a different thumb cast on that is very easy.
It may be the easiest method of casting on, but it must be the hardest one to begin knitting the first row from. It's the only way I knew for years; it's the only one my grandmother taught me. In my experience, new knitters knit too tightly, just from nervousness. That cast-on requires a light hand both in the cast-on and in working the first row. For that reason, I refuse to teach it to new knitters, until they've mastered the basics of knit and purl and aren't holding their yarn and needles with a death-grip anymore.

Blessings upon YouTube! After fifty+ years of knitting, I finally learned how to do the crochet-hook cast-on from a video on it. This is the video I now prefer for teaching it:
 

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Sutallee Stitcher said:
Funny... This is how I cast on for years and years and was told about 2 years ago it was wrong. I learned the longtail cast on and now thats what I use. They both start with a long tail.
There is no wrong or right way in knitting. I have a left handed friend and she knits completely back to front and twists the stitch on a knit row. As I said to her it's not wrong - you're just weird! I cast on using the thumb method, through the stitch on two needles and behind the stitch on two needles, it just depends on what I am making. Try lots os different things with your yarn and needles and who knows you could come up with something very special. Happy knitting :p
 

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PurpleV said:
Sutallee Stitcher said:
Funny... This is how I cast on for years and years and was told about 2 years ago it was wrong. I learned the longtail cast on and now thats what I use. They both start with a long tail.
There is no wrong or right way in knitting. I have a left handed friend and she knits completely back to front and twists the stitch on a knit row. As I said to her it's not wrong - you're just weird! I cast on using the thumb method, through the stitch on two needles and behind the stitch on two needles, it just depends on what I am making. Try lots os different things with your yarn and needles and who knows you could come up with something very special. Happy knitting :p
Great philosophy PurpleV!

The only right way is the one that suits the piece one is working on and feels comfortable in the hands of the knitter, I can go with that.

Dave
 

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I'm glad to know that what I've been doing for years and years is called thumb or long tail cast on. I do think it's the easiest of all the castons I've tried. When I first started to knit (right after the invention of the wheel) I used to knit my castons - sort of like increasing each stitch from the previous one. Thumb is much easier

Someone wrote that it sometimes is too tight, especially for new knitters, I often cast on with a needle one size larger than the size I plan to use. Then the first row you actually knit with the correct size is much looser.

Just want to say it's terrific having this opportunity to learn and chat about knitting on a regular basis.
 

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Billie B said:
I'm glad to know that what I've been doing for years and years is called thumb or long tail cast on. I do think it's the easiest of all the castons I've tried. When I first started to knit (right after the invention of the wheel) I used to knit my castons - sort of like increasing each stitch from the previous one. Thumb is much easier

Someone wrote that it sometimes is too tight, especially for new knitters, I often cast on with a needle one size larger than the size I plan to use. Then the first row you actually knit with the correct size is much looser.

Just want to say it's terrific having this opportunity to learn and chat about knitting on a regular basis.
I do that too! If it's a DK pattern knitted on 4mm (UK/Canadian Size 8) (US size 6) needles, with the rib on 3.25mm (UK/Canadian size 10) (US size 3) needles. I cast on using the 4mm needle, knit the first row of the rib onto the smaller needle and continue on those until I switch to the larger needles for the main body of the piece.

It all seems to work out really well with a firm but stretchy cast on edge.

Dave
 

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@Jessica-Jean, that crochet hook cast on is great! I would never have thought of that. I have knitted for 50 years, and still knit tightly, unless I am using large needles--don't know why. I feel I can control my tension better. I also like your idea, Billie B :)
 
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