This is my variation on Judy’s Magic Cast-On that I use because I prefer not to have to knit into the back of half of the number stitches – I always forget and the toe of the sock (or the base of the iPad case or whatever else I have cast on using this method) looks lumpy.
Assumes that you know how to knit in the round using the magic-loop method and that you know how to do a Long Tail Cast-On (LTCO).
1. Hold the two needle ends of a circular needle together in your right hand so that their ends point to the left.
2. Drape the yarn over the needle furthest to you with the tail end furthest from you and the ball end in between the two needles. Make sure that there is enough yarn for you to cast on the full number of stitches that you need to cast on. You will het better at estimating the tail length with practice and experience, just like estimating the tail length in the LTCO becomes second nature eventually.
3. Similar to the LTCO, hold the two lengths of yarn in your left hand and put your left thumb and left fore-finger up between the yarn to form a sling-shot/catapult effect. Your left thumb should make a loop in the length of yarn that comes down between the two needles and leads to the yarn ball and your left fore-finger should make a loop in the tail end of yarn that is behind both needles, furthest from you.
4. Using your left fore-finger, wrap the tail yarn up in front of both needles and then down between the needles.
5. Using your left thumb, wrap the ball end of the yarn up between both needles and down behind them both.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5. You may notice that both wraps are “up and back”.
7. Once enough stitches have been cast on to the two needles, half on each needle, rearrange the needles in your left hand so that they point towards the right and so that the purl-looking bumps of the cast on are towards the top and the ball end of the yarn is hanging from the back needle furthest from you.
8. Pull the needle that has the ball end of the yarn hanging from it through the stitches so that they remain on the circular needle’s cable. This will be the right hand needle as you knit. the other end of the circular needle still in the other half of the stitches will be the left-hand needle as you knit. How just knit around as you would for magic-loop using the ball end of the yarn as the working yarn.
I tend to weave the tail end of the yarn up the start “fold” of the knitting by leaving it up on the first round, leaving it hanging outside on the second round and repeating those two rounds until it is secure, finishing with the remainder of the tail on the inside of the knitting/tube/toe.
Yes, I need to take photographs and make this a photo tutorial.
Please do tell me what you think of this method and whether it makes sense to you. I will be editing this as and when any errata are pointed out to me so please do test it for me!