For most people, the first step in learning how to knit is making a slip knot; you make a little knot, you put it on the needle, and then you cast on your stitches - but turns out the slip knot isn't completely necessary.
(I made this assuming you already know how to knit and are familiar with the long tail cast on. If you’re a pre-knitter and you’re hoping to get started, check out the course I made for beginners.
In order to start this way, you still need the same length of yarn that you would for any regular long tail cast on, but instead of making the slip knot, you're just going to:
insert your left thumb and index finger under the yarn in the slingshot style (like you normally would after the slip knot is on the needle).
open them up,
take your needle in your right hand and simply put it over the top,
swing it under and toward yourself, around and
come back up.
The yarn should be twisted around the needle now. That's your first stitch. Then you just continue casting on the way you normally would.
Use what works best for you
I was taught to start with a slip knot and for a long time that was the only way I ever taught anyone else, but recently I was teaching an eight-year-old how to knit and she was kind of struggling with a slipknot, so I said "you know what; there's another way. Let's give it a try and see if you like it any better" and she did!
Then I started teaching her brother also, who is seven, and he was struggling with this method, so I said "hey let's try a slip knot" and that worked better for him.
Is there a difference?
There are only very slight differences in the finished product, when compared with a piece started with the traditional slip knot. The piece made with no slip knot feels slightly softer in the corner and is a little bit rounder also.
So depending on what kind of project you’re making and whether you want a structured corner or one that’s light and airy, you might choose one method over the other. Aren’t you glad you know now?
How were you taught, and which way do you like better? Let me know in the comments down below.
If you're just trying to get started learning HOW to knit, but you feel like you need a little bit more direction, I have a whole online course that is just for you my friend. You can learn more about it right here.