Forest floor socks. Burnt orange wool/nylon socks. Mostly knit plain with a repeating pine cone motif running up the top of the foot and front of the leg.

How to: Judy’s magic cast-on

Judy’s Magic cast-on is my go-to whenever I’m knitting toe-up socks so I thought I would create a tutorial that would sit nicely alongside my other favourite techniques here on the blog. I find that I’m not always able to sit and watch a video which is why my tutorials are written. I also link to these techniques in my patterns so that you have an easy to find resource should a technique be unfamiliar to you. If you are more of a visual learner then a quick google will bring up lots of videos on how to perform this cast-on method.  Let’s get started!

This technique can be done using magic loop or dpns.

Magic cast on. Needles held parallel in right hand. Yellow yarn is held between finger and thumb on left hand and is resting across the top needle.

1. Most tutorials begin with a slip knot but I find this can create an ‘ear’ at the end of the cast-on edge.  To avoid this, hold the yarn with the yarn tail over your finger and the working yarn over your thumb. Then hold the two needles together and lay the yarn over the top needle (needle one). This will be the first stitch.

Magic cast on. Making the second stitch by wrapping the yarn held around the finger around the bottom needle.

2. Bring the tip of the bottom needle (needle two) over then under the yarn tail held over your finger, bringing the yarn down between the two needles to create the second stitch.

Magic cast on. Making the third stitch by wrapping the yarn held around the thumb around the top needle.

3. Bring the tip of needle one over then under the yarn held over your thumb, bringing the yarn down between the needles. You should now have 2 stitches on needle one and 1 stitch on needle two.

Magic cast on. All stitches cast on to both needles. Yarn still held around the finger and thumb of the left hand.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3, casting on one stitch on each needle in turn until you have the desired number of stitches. You should have the same number on each needle.

Magic cast on. Preparing to knit the first stitch. First half of the stitches are on the left hand needle while the second half rest on the cable. Working yarn is being carried around the yarn tail to secure first cast on stitch in place.

5. To start knitting, drop the yarn tail and turn the needles so that needle two is now on top. If you are using magic loop pull out needle one so that these stitches are resting on the cable. If you are using dpns simply pick up a third needle. The first stitch will be loose so to help anchor it in place make sure that you carry the working yarn from needle one around the yarn tail and hold it behind needle two before you knit in to the first stitch. Knit across the remaining stitches on the needle as normal.

Magic cast on. Right hand needle is placed in to the second stitch on the left needle as if to knit.

6. Turn your work and prepare to knit across the stitches on needle two.  Knit the first stitch as normal but the rest of the stitches are ‘twisted’ during the cast-on process so to help them lay neatly in your finished sock you will need to knit the rest of the stitches through the back loop.

Magic cast on. All stitches have been knit. Needles are held parallel with knitting joined seamlessly between the two needles.

7. Once you have knit this first ‘setup’ round your cast on stitches will blend in to each other seamlessly. You are now able to continue knitting in the round as you normally would. Once you have knit a few rounds simply pull on the yarn tail to close up any gaps that may have opened up due to that first loose stitch.

I hope you have found this tutorial useful and that it has inspired you to try it out if you haven’t tried it before.



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