Casting on in crochet – the slip knot

Casting on in crochet is pretty straightforward.  If you already know how to make a slip knot, you’re all set.  The basic idea is to make a slip knot in the working yarn and place the slip knot onto the hook.  The slip knot is perfect for this application because it can be tightened and loosened as needed.  For those who don’t know how to make a slip knot (I had to learn it too!), I’ll provide a tutorial here.  There are many ways to make a slip knot and they all follow the same idea of pulling a loop through a loop.  This tutorial follows the method I learned. 

​I’d like to define two terms before we get started.  You will be working with a ball or skein of yarn which is made up of one very long strand of yarn which has been wound up to form that ball or skein.  Typically one end will be inside the ball (sometimes available to work with – center pull ball or skein)  and the other end of the yarn strand will be available on the outside of the ball.  For this tutorial you will be working with only one end of the strand that makes up your ball.  Pulling on an end unwinds some of the ball.  There will be times when you are instructed to work with your yarn “tail” or your “working yarn”.  These labels are used to describe which end of the unwound yarn to focus on.  Your working yarn is the end of the unwound yarn connected to the yarn ball.  The tail of your unwound yarn is the yarn at the end opposite your working yarn – the end where the yarn is not connected to anything because it has been cut.
 
Now, on to making the slip knot.  First you will drape the yarn over your non-dominant hand with about 6″ of the tail hanging down in front across your palm and the working yarn hanging down across the backs of your fingers.
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Left-Handed
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Right-Handed

Next, you will bring the working yarn under your fingers, up across the front of your fingers, then cross it over the tail and release it to hang down the backs of your fingers again. This makes a complete loop around your fingers. I typically use the three longest fingers as shown in the picture below.

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Left-Handed
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Right-Handed

Now it’s time to grab your crochet hook (or you can use the fingers of your other hand). Slip the crochet hook under the loop around your fingers (on the non-palm side of the hand), grab hold of the working yarn that is dangling back there and pull the working yarn through the loop toward you. You have pulled “a loop through a loop”.

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Left-Handed
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Right-Handed

The piece of working yarn that was just pulled through the loop on your fingers is the loop of the slip knot that will stay on your hook.

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Left-Handed
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Right-Handed

Keeping the loop on your hook, remove your fingers from the loop they are in. Pull on the tail to gently snug closed the knot. It shouldn’t be tight.

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Left-Handed
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Right-Handed

Then, pull on the working yarn gently to snug it up loosely to your hook. All finished!

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Left-Handed
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Right-Handed

Crochet patterns will never tell you to make a slip knot to get started. They assume that you know to do this. Whether you are crocheting a flat piece (back and forth like a dishcloth) or crocheting in the round (making a seamless tube or circle), you will always begin with slip knot. Even a magic ring cast on is built off of a slip knot.

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