An easier way to cast on

Do you ever find yourself getting confused when you’re trying to cast on a large number of stitches? I inevitably lose count when I’m casting on for a cardi body or hat brim, and only realise my mistake when the ribbing ends with the wrong stitch!

This is a quick tip for making sure you cast on exactly the number of stitches you intend to. There’s not much to it: just cast on 20 sts (or your multiple of choice), add a stitch marker, and start casting on your lot of 20 again. It is so much easier to keep track of 7 lots of 20 than 140 sts, and doing a quick check is easier too when you’re working in small sections at a time.

A cast on row of knitting with locking stitch markers dividing stitches.

Additional tip: if you’re working with lace or a pattern repeat, you can keep the stitch markers on your needles to keep track of each repeat. That way, if you miss a stitch or mess up the pattern, you only find out after one pattern repeat, rather than your whole row.


I prefer to use locking stitch markers like these ones I found on eBay (100 for $1.75AUD). That way, you can move them around as desired without having to make your way to that particular point in your work by slipping endless stitches. They are also handy for marking places in your knitted fabric.

Locking stitch markers


These methods also work really well when you are cognitively fatigued and can’t make numbers work for you. The other day I was casting on a hat brim and found the required numbers swam around in my head. I couldn’t even count up to 20, but two lots of 10 was achievable, and hooray! I eventually had 116 stitches cast on.

I can’t take credit for either of these methods, but decided to share them with you as they help me so much. What tricks do you employ to make knitting easier?

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic feminist and disability advocate.

2 thoughts on “An easier way to cast on”

  1. This is such a great tip! (And I love the colors of your stitch markers–mine are so boring by comparison!) My only complaint is that you didn’t read my mind and post it weeks ago *before* I started a nearly-300-stitch cowl. 😉 It will absolutely come in handy when I start the body of my sweater though, so thanks for sharing!

    And I am such a knitting n00b, but I didn’t realize other types of stitch markers were less user-friendly. O_o You’ve successfully taught me 2 things today, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually just started off using the tools at Spotlight (like Joanns but a bit better), and they only stocked those frustrating plastic ring markers which all snapped and ended up buried in the carpet. So I didn’t know that locking stitch markers were a thing until a few years ago!
      You seriously did well to cast on those 300 sts in one go! I’d be sure to stuff it up and not realise til the pattern didn’t fit or whatever haha.

      Liked by 1 person

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