My current work in progress:

Rose Cardi by Andrea Mowry, knit from Wollmeise Blend, using 3.25mm and 3.5mm needles.

Beginnings and Endings

This week I received a review copy of Cast On, Bind Off: 54 Step-by-Step Methods by Leslie Ann Bestor.

Book071512 234x240 Beginnings and Endings

I can’t say enough good things about this book. First off, its size: it is 5.5″ by 7″, small enough to tuck into your knitting bag. And it is spiral-bound, making it easy to refer to because it will lay flat no matter what page you have opened to.The book is also available in e-book format, so you can keep it on your mobile device for quick and easy reference.

Spiral071512 240x160 Beginnings and Endings

Another good thing is, of course, the content!

The cast-ons covered are:

  • All-purpose
  • Ribbing (both moderate stretch and really stretchy)
  • End-of -row
  • Super stretchy
  • Decorative
  • Temporary and Hems
  • Toe-up socks
  • Circular

The bind-offs are:

  • All-purpose
  • Lace
  • Decorative
  • Stretchy ribbed
  • Specific use

Each technique is covered fully: each has a general information page that tells you the pros and cons of the technique, tools you need, etc., along with clear photos of the technique.

Technique071512 240x160 Beginnings and Endings

Then the technique is demonstrated with clear step-by-step photos and text. There are also tips and tricks in little call-out boxes throughout the book.

There is a quick start guide at the beginning of the book that covers things you need to know, like making a slip knot, and what “knitwise” and “purlwise” mean.

The tables of contents are nicely illustrated with thumbnail photos:

TOC071512 240x160 Beginnings and Endings

Bottom-line: This is a great reference for new knitters, experienced knitters, and everyone in-between. Most knitters have a “go-to” cast-on and bind-off they use 90% of the time. But there are always times when you need to use a different technique to get the best result. Reach for this handy guide!

Storey Publishing very kindly sent me a review copy and offered to send a second copy to one of my readers.

To be entered in the drawing for a copy of Cast On, Bind Off: 54 Step-by-Step Methods by Leslie Ann Bestor, leave a comment on this blog post and tell me your favorite cast-on or bind-off before noon Eastern time on Wednesday July 18, 2012. I’ll draw a winner at random at that time.

It’s Hip to Be Square

Back here, chez WendyKnits, I am still all about the mitered squares!

WIP071512 240x192 Beginnings and Endings

And Lucy is all about the nap!

Lucy071512 240x160 Beginnings and Endings




  1. I know how to do knitted but always do the long tail unless otherwise directed by the pattern. This books looks amazing!

  2. Deborah says:

    I definitely need to check out this book. I just cast off a shawl and it looks horrible. I was hoping blocking would help but it didn’t. This book sounds like one that should be on every knitter’s shelf.

  3. My favorite cast-on is the long tail cast on, although if I need a stretchier cast-on, I use the Norwegian cast-on.

    This books sounds wonderful. I would love to win a copy.

  4. What a great book! I could certainly put it to good use.

  5. I usually use the long tail cast on but have started trying others this book would help…

  6. My favorite cast on is the long tail method and for bind off since I am doing so many socks right now I would say Jenny’s SS bind off.

  7. Jean P. says:

    I have seen this book and I thought it would be very useful. In fact, I used the picot cast on for the summer solstice mystery shawl KAL. I like your mitered squares.

  8. If I want a stretchy cast-on I use the long-tail, alternating beween two needles. Otherwise I knit the stitches on, very loosely. I never knew there were so many different styles of beginning and ending one’s knitting. It sounds like I could put that new book to good use.

  9. I’m always trying to find a good cast on and bind off! I do appreciate patterns (like yours…now doing the Summer Solstice shawl) that do tell you how you should cast on and bind off for that particular project but there are so many out there that say “Use your favorite cast on/bind off” and you really don’t know what to use. I’ve been knitting lots of items over the years but haven’t come across a book like that one. I would so love to have it!! I’d really like to be able to know what type of cast on/bind off to use for different projects.
    I really hope I can win the drawing for this item.
    Thanks for your generosity!!

  10. MamaSue says:

    I was taught to use the long-tail cast on and that’s pretty much all I use. It would be nice to add a few new techniques to what little I know.

  11. (Not That) Joan says:

    I only recently found out how many different options there were! My favorite cast-on is the tubular one because it gives such a nice edge and because it makes me feel so clever when it comes out right. Favorite bind-off is the super-stretchy one. Thanks for hosting yet another give-away, Wendy!

  12. I have this book listed in my wish list on Amazon as I only know one way to cast-on, which is the knit-on cast on. I am sure there are others I should learn.

  13. I like knitted cast-ons, because that’s how my mom taught me. I usually do the cable cast-on version since it looks a little neater than plain knit, though.
    floribunda´s last blog post ..Truly summer

  14. My hands just go to the longtail method as a default! I have started using two ends of the ball if I am casting on a lot.

  15. Midnite Baker says:

    My favorite cast-on is the long tail. Nice & stretchy and always looks neat. This little book would be a neat addition to my knitting bag. If I don’t win it, I will be purchasing one in the future. Thanks for sharing. M

  16. Has to be long tail cast on

  17. I almost always use the long-tail cast on unless a different one is called on. I know how to do the cable cast on and have done a provisional cast on one time only. I really would like to learn how to different ones. I only cast off one way so far which is the normal knit one, knit one, pass the stitch over. Not too original!

  18. Long tail cast on is what I learned as a teenager and still my “go to”. I want to learn diffrent things…pick me please!

  19. I just recently learned the long tail cast on for the Master Knitter program and now it’s my go to cast on.

  20. When I was four my Mom taught me the long-tail cast on and I’ve always used this unless the cast-on calls for something different. Back then we didn’t know there was any other way. For casting off the Russian bind-off is my “go-to” for stretchiness. I love learning all the different cast-on/offs.

  21. Great looking book , I use the standard 2 needle cast on as it gives a neater edge but could frontier do to learn methods to improve my knitting.

    Living the progress with your mitered squares.

  22. Oh stupid predictive text, it’s monday in the uk and I’ve not woken up yet! Didn’t mean to put the word “frontier” in my last message and of course I’m “loving” the progress on your mitered squares – it’s going to be one of those days I think!

  23. I’ve been doing a lot of socks in the last year and I always start from the toe with a figure 8. For the cast off, I use a stretchy sewn ending that uses a very long piece of the sock’s yarn. I don’t know what it’s called.

  24. My favorite cast on is the knitted cast on. This book is definitely going on my wish list.

  25. Long tail still my go to, since I learned it at age 6, but this book definitely goes on the wish list. Always want to learn new techniques!

  26. After 60 years of knitting I just recently learned the knitted-on cast-on, before that I only knew the long tail method. I hated it because I could never guess how much to start with and had to re-do the cast-on several times before I could start knitting. As for binding off I never knew there was any other way than passing the first stitch over the second. I feel like a beginner again to learn there are so many ways to do these basic knitting processes. I NEED this book!!!

  27. I borrowed this book from my local library. It is terrific and would make a great addition to any knitter’s library.
    Terry´s last blog post ..Beginnings and Endings

  28. Sounds like a great book. I’ve got a couple of methods for both cast on and bind off I use all the time, but there may be something else better suited to specific projects.

  29. long-tail! backward loop! =)

  30. Love books with that are spiral bound. I like the knitted cast on.

  31. The book looks like one that should be in every knitting bag. I usually use the Norwegian sock cast on – stretchy enough for just about everything.
    Elise Wright´s last blog post ..Berroco’s Americano Vest

  32. I guess the long tail cast on would be a favorite, or at least the most used one. But that’s only not counting the “specialized” cast-on methods. If I were to pick a favorite base on how much I like doing it it would be the long tail tubular cast on. Learning that one caused a bit of a hat knitting-spree last winter.
    Anyway, this book seems really useful so a big thanks for the chance to win a copy 🙂

  33. Arlene Hoose says:

    That book sounds like a great tool to carry with you.
    I use the long tail most of the time as that is what I
    was originally taught. Bind off changes depending
    on what I am working on. Stretcy usually for sox.

  34. I like the long-tail cast on and use it almost every time. I like to learn new techniques and this looks like a great book to add to a knitter’s library!

  35. Seems like I “acquire” one new cast on per year; this book could sure speed up that process! I have resigned myself to using a needle two sizes larger for my bind off, to keep it from being too tight.
    CeltChick´s last blog post ..Inhale…exhale, repeat

  36. I’m always in the market for new techniques. Especially for a better way to cast on at the end of a row or say for a buttonhole… For regular cast on I like the long tail like so many others. I don’t remember the name of the technique I use for a stretchy bind off, but if I were at home I could find it inmy class notes from Kate at Needleworks.
    Rachel´s last blog post ..Progress on the Christening outfit…

  37. that looks like a very useful book! thanks for the chance! my favorite cast-on is the plain vanilla long-tail.

  38. I think your favorite is often the one you learned first. For me, it is the long-tail cast on. I have to refresh myself every time I use any other one. I am so thankful for youtube!

  39. Jun-Dai says:

    My favourites are the tubular cast-on / bind-off for ribbing, and the Turkish cast-on for toe-up socks.

  40. i always ran out of yarn with the long-tail co, so now i use the cable/knit co and the P2tog, slip to left needle, P2tog bo. i am going to look up the garter tab cast on Klarie’s post…i’ve never heard of this one either!! i would love to win this book!!!

  41. Alice Moisen says:

    This would be SO handy. I usually use the long-tail cast-on, but use others at times. As for binding off, the old standard, Knit 2, *pass 1st over, K1.

  42. I like a long tail cast on and a regular bind off . Simple , neat and I can do it in my sleep.
    brandi´s last blog post ..Oh The Fiber – Outaouais Arcott sheep

  43. I like the knit cast on and keep promising myself to try the cable cast on one of these days. I tried the i-cord bind off last week and like that look for some applications. I like the lace bind off but lately I have been doing mainly lace!

  44. The blanket looks like it’s coming along nicely! And Lucy always seems to look extremely cute in your photo’s.

    The book seems great as well, I’ve been hearing great things about it everywhere.
    Jessica´s last blog post ..Finishing Up

  45. I always forget the look each cast-on and -off creates, so a photo reference would be great.

  46. Booooks! I love them. And I love knitting. This is a winning combination.

  47. Jennifer says:

    My favourite cast on is the long-tail for socks and for bind-offs, I like the yarn over version of Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind off. But I’m in a cast on rut.

  48. Favorite caston — crocheting the stitches onto the needle — matches the usual bindoff, thus satisfying my inner OCD…

  49. Lisa Smith says:

    I use the long tail cast on more than any other. I saw this book at SSK and would love to own it. Thanks for the chance to win.

  50. I usually use the backward loop cast on because it’s what I learned first, and I’m just now learning that there are different cast-ons that are appropriate to use in different situations.

  51. I love learning new methods. Thanks.

  52. I too always use the long tail cast on unless the pattern specifies something else. Then I’m off to google the different cast on. My go to bind off is the simple k2 pass the first first knit over the second. i’d really like to branch out and that book is definety on my list.
    Thanks for the chance to win it.

  53. Obviously I need this book as I don’t know the name(s) of my usual cast on/cast off. It was the only one I learned in the very beginning!
    LLL. Love Lazy Lucy!

  54. Michelle Bingnear says:

    I always use the knit or cable cast on, and would love to learn some new ways! Thanks for the giveaway!

  55. Please enter me in this drawing. I love the long-tail cast on as it is not only stretchy, but puts on a first row. I real boost to getting started. But I also like the cast on that looks like binding off. Trouble is I can’t ever remember what it’s called and so have trouble finding it’s how to location. This book needs to be in my knitting library.

  56. margaret says:

    Lately I’ve been big on provisional cast-ons – when knitting side to side, you can 3-needle bind off the seams !

  57. Very useful book!
    Angela´s last blog post ..Tour de Fleece Prep – Part 2

  58. That sounds like a great little book. I love the ‘double-start’ cast on that I learned from a Nancy Bush book, it makes a great edge on a sleeve especially. And I like Jeny’s super-stretch bindoff for toe-up socks, I should really learn more ways to bind off.
    CarolineF´s last blog post ..From sheep to shawl

  59. Crystal says:

    I’m all about the long tailed cast on, and plain old bind off (I’m not even sure what it’s called!). This book would really open my eyes.

  60. I typically use the long tail cast on and EZ’s sewn bind off. BUT! Learning new cast ons and bind offs and becoming proficient with them is totally on my knitting bucket list, so this book looks great!

  61. My favourite cast off is the simple one ( k, pass the previously knitted stich over the just knitted stitch – then start over again.) and the 18th is my brthday.

  62. i’m not very exciting, i like to stick to my plain old long tail cast on done loosely 🙂

  63. Looks like a very useful reference to have on hand!
    (…..mitered squares….you are super woman!)

  64. German cast on so my socks are not too tight at the top. Book looks very interesting will be put on my wish list

  65. I’ve had this book on my amazon wish list – it looks amazing. I usually use the long-tail cast on for almost everything and whatever bind-off is in the pattern, if any. My skills could use some upping in these areas.
    Bobbi´s last blog post ..Episode Twenty-Five – A Quick One

  66. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the contest…the book looks super! My favorite cast on is the knitted one and bind off is the stretchy lace…

  67. hawknitr13 says:

    i have stopped using the long tail co because i would run out of yarn…i use cable/knit co most of the time now. also K2tog, switch to left needle, K2tog for bo. i’m interested in the garter tab cast on Klarie’s reply…i haven’t heard of that one. i’ve also tried the 2-color co for brioche…it was interesting!!! this would be an excellent reference to win!!
    ^)^ linda

  68. I just finished reading this book from the library and definitely want a copy of my own!

  69. Judith Smith says:

    What a wonderful book. I always use long-tail cast on unless specifically told to do something else. Definitely need to know how to do the others.

  70. Thanks for the contest, Wendy and Lucy! I’m with Lucy re the naps.

  71. My favourite cast-on varies depending on the project I’m doing, but the cast-off I tend to go for if I need a stretchy edge is the k2 from left needle, k2tog the two stitches on the right needle. Don’t know if it has a name or not, but it’s excellent for binding off the cuff of toe-up socks.

  72. I wasn’t sure about a three needle bind off the first time I heard of it but I love it! I usually use the long tail cast on. I need to learn more!

  73. Trish Bullock says:

    what a helpful resource. please enter me in the drawing.

  74. I really like the long tail cast on and use it for most of my projects–I like how neat it makes my edge look! For bind off I usually just use the basic bind off, but lately I’ve had the need for something stretchier and liked how quick and easy the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind off was (I wasn’t brave enough to try Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off)
    Jackie´s last blog post ..Wingspan

  75. I can always use a new “How to ” Book. Pick me, pick me!

  76. I mostly use the long tail cast on but have been trying to learn some others so have worked hard to use the cable cast on lately. It is hard not to just fall back on the familiar, however!

  77. I had a chance to look at this book when a friend purchased it, and I’d enjoy having my own copy. My current favorite bind-off is the Russian Bind-Off. Nice and stretchy, and easy for me to remember. Thanks for the drawing!

  78. barbara a. says:

    What a great giveaway!

    I’m addicted to Judy’s magic cast-on .great for much more than socks

  79. Susan D. Smith says:

    Although I use long-tail cast-on most frequently, I like the crocheted cast-on for its neat edge. For binding off, especially for socks, I like the Russian bind-off, which creates that sweet little ruffle at the edge and is super-stretchy!

  80. Very cool book! Looks like Lucy spent so much time reading it she fell asleep!

  81. I do the same old cast on, long-tail, but sometimes I use a different one to have a right side row facing me. I use the regular bind off too, unless, for tops of toe-up socks, it has to be stretchy.

  82. Donna T. says:

    I would love to win a copy. Thank you.

  83. my favorite bind off is the Super Stretchy one and I always go back to long tail cast on. this book would be awesome to have since I’m a fairly new knitter.

  84. I’m boring. I like the long tail cast-on. But of course I also love Judy’s magic cast-on for toe-up socks.

  85. Heather D says:

    The book sounds very interesting!

  86. thegeorg says:

    I would dearly love a copy of this book. I tend to reach for the crochet hook for cast offs, and I stick with backwards loop or turkish cast ons. it would be good for me to expand my horizons.

  87. I love doing the norwegian cast on, it looks very tidy and I love the acrobatics my hands do.

  88. I only know how to do a long tail cast on and a knitted cast on. That is why I really could use this book!

  89. tootwisteddonna says:

    My go to cast on is the knitted cast on. It always gives my work a nice finished look!!
    I would love this book to help me with a bind off for toe up socks. Mine is either
    too tight or too loose, never just right.

  90. I’m lazy and default to the long tail 99% of the time it would be nice to have this book to maybe force me to expand my horizons. 🙂

  91. I use the long tail CO and Judy’s magic CO for socks. This book looks like a great resource and guide for learning new CO’s.

  92. Long tail cast on for most projects.
    But, Judy’s Magic Cast On and Jenny’s Surprisely Stretchy Bind Off changed my knitting world.
    Thanks for another wonderful draw.

  93. Andrea W says:

    I use mostly the long tailed cast on. My second favorite is the crochet cast on that I learned taking a class from Sally Melville. (Wonderful!) I like to learn new things and would love to have this book!

  94. Longtail cast-on is what i use the most frequently. What really interestes me about this book is the cast-off section as too many times I know there probably is a better way to cast off my project but I just don’t know what it is.

  95. I use the garter tab for most shawls. Otherwise I tend to use the twisted German cast on. For bind off, I use a super stretchy bind off, since I do lots and lots of shawls and I want to stretch the points, curves etc during blocking.

  96. I’m a long tail cast-on girl. Except sometimes it’s too tight. Especially on top down socks. I can do them toe up, but then I need to find a nice stretchy cast-off.

  97. I normally use a long tail cast on — for my Summer Solstice I used that with the EZ variation of using two balls of yarn – a life saver for sure. The crochet cast off is one of my favorites and I use it most of the time.

    I wish more publishers would make books this size and spine style – excellent for those of us without e-readers.

  98. Hi Wendy! I’m rather embarrassed to say that I really only know the one cast-on and bind-off, really. And I’m not even really sure what they are called. The cast-on I know is where you “knit” stitches onto the needle you are working from, instead of passing them to the second needle. And the bind-off I know is just where you knit (or purl, so maybe I can say I know two bind-offs?) two stitches together, and then pass the one stitch made back onto the working needle, continuing that process until you are left with one stitch, which you then knot. I’m over 40 now, and still using the same methods that my grandmother taught me when I was 9 years old. This book is just made for someone like me!
    Thanks for the giveaway as always, and for the recommendation!

  99. lisa gillogly says:

    yes!!! count me in…I’m in such a rut of same old, same old!

  100. Pat Ortiz says:

    My favorite cast on is the crochet hook and knitting needle method.