My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 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.

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.

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.

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:

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!

And Lucy is all about the nap!




  1. This sounds like a wonderful reference book. I’m always wanting to try new techniques, but I usually use Jeny’s stretchy cast-on.

  2. I use long tail the most, that is what I was originally taught, but I use others. I am always looking for a cast on I like to do and looks great.

  3. I do a decent number of top down socks, so the twisted german cast on has been a favorite of late. I like the added stretch and it’s just as quick for me to manage now as the long tail.

  4. I like the cable cast on and the three needle bind off, but I’m always up for learning new ways of doing things. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  5. I go with the long tail cast-on about every time – it gives me a solid first row and I can make it stretchy enough for almost anything.
    Love the mitres!

  6. This looks like a great book! I usually do a cable cast-on, except for socks when I use long-tail. I love to try different bind-offs for various projects – picot bind-off is always a pretty addition.
    Julie´s last blog post ..Sketchy Sketches

  7. Usually do long-tail cast on and the normal k2, pass first stitch over cast off. For socks I use Jenny’s surprisingly stretchy cast on and cast off. So want to learn others.
    Rebecca Gabriel´s last blog post ..What’s Next, Part 5, What Now?

  8. I usually do the knit cast on. It took me forever to learn how to do the long tail cast on.
    Lilie´s last blog post ..Blue Wing Shawl Camp Loopy #2 – DONE!

  9. Seattle Amy says:

    Ever since I discovered the super stretchy bindoff, I use it for EVERYTHING. Can’t remember what it’s called, but I know how to do it:

    Knit one, Knit one, Knit these two together.
    Knit one, knit the 2 stiches together you just knit.

    Takes more yarn, but absolutely love how stretchy it is and the great finished edge.

  10. Samantha says:

    This book would be a great resource!!! I use Jeny’s super stretchy bind-off a lot. My favorite cast on is the short-tail long tail cast-on.

  11. What a great reference tool! My go to cast-on is usually long-tail.

  12. ooh, great giveaway! this sounds like a fab book that i could really learn a lot from 🙂

    my favourite cast on is probably longtail, and bind off depends heavily on the project… jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off is the one i’ve been using the most lately.

  13. My favorite cast on is the long tail!

  14. I still favor the long-tail cast-on, but love the method (not sure if it has a different name) where you pull from both sides of the ball at once so that you are guaranteed not to run out of yarn. That has saved me from tears and frustration many a time with heavy-duty cast-on projects!
    Would love to explore this book.
    Deb´s last blog post ..Knit, Swirl!!!!

  15. I’ve always loved the sewn bind off for toe-up socks. I’ve been thinking about getting this book, thanks for the giveaway!

  16. I seem to default to the backwards loop cast on for most things .. but I ‘really’ need to learn more options.
    Shadow Byrd´s last blog post ..Air and Water Dreamcatcher

  17. My favorite cast off is the only one I know. K 2 take first stitch and lift over second stitch and continue. That’s why I’d like a copy of this book.

  18. My current favorite cast-on is cable, and bind-off is sewn.

  19. If I don’t actively think about what I’m doing, I default to a standard long-tail caston (the version where you never start off with the right length tail!). I like the looks of tubular caston, but find it way too fiddly, so I’ve been using the knitted caston more and more lately.

  20. I would love, love, love to have that book! I almost bought it last week, but my credit card is feeling more than a little overwhelmed right now.

    My favorite cast-on and bind-off are both Jeny’s unless the pattern instructs otherwise. I use them on socks (of course) and on shawls (to make blocking easier).

    Lucy works so hard. It’s good to see that she’s getting enough rest. ♥
    KateJonze´s last blog post ..Attention Span

  21. My favorite cast on is the long tail cast on, for the cast off it depends on what I am working on. I usually go with what the pattern suggests. Thanks for the opportunity to win the book, it looks great!
    Marlie´s last blog post ..Walkin To Work

  22. Everyone likes Judy’s Magic CO for toe-up socks and the like, but I like the Figure 8 best.
    Rycrafty´s last blog post ..Heather’s Dilemma

  23. go-to cast on is longtail, just because it’s so damn fast. I really like how the cable cast on looks, but if I try to use it for more than a 20-30 stitch cast on I’m ready to stab someone before I’m done (teeeeeeediouuuuuuuus).

  24. Sounds very handy! I would love to have it as aprize but will put it on my wishlist otherwise!

  25. That looks like a very handy little book. And I’m loving your mitred squares.
    Valerie´s last blog post ..Itchin’ to get stitchin’

  26. Sounds like a great resource. I still use the sewn bind off and when I look for sock bindoffs I still go back to your books…..

  27. I learned to knit with the traditional long tail cast on, but find myself using the cable cast on more and more. For socks, I use the German twisted cast on, or I cast on over two needles held together.

  28. I would love this book. I nearly always use the long tail cast-on, but I realize I should probably master some others. I am determined to knit that awesome poncho you just made, and I know it requires an alternate cast on for the neck.
    Kristen´s last blog post ..Sooo Tired….

  29. My fav’s are the only ones I know by heart! Long-tail c/o and whatever you call the k1p1o b/o. Can you tell I need to expand?!
    LizA´s last blog post ..What’s A Girl to Do?

  30. I love to use the long tail cast on for most things, but have been experimenting with others. Thanks for the opportunity to win this.

  31. Wow! That looks like a must-have for every knitting bag. I am definitely one of those people who use the same cast on/bind off for the vast majority of my kntitting projects, so I need to expand my repertoire. This book would be just the ticket!
    Laura´s last blog post ..Random Knitting

  32. I always use either the long-tail or cable cast on and I almost always use the knit two, pass the first stick over bind off (what I think of as normal). I have experimented with a sewn bind off which I liked a great deal, but whenever a pattern doesn’t specify the type of cast on or bind off, I always wonder if there is something better than what I am using.

  33. What a great book! I’m often stumped and frustrated when I’m ending a project, knitting on vacation or in the car, and a cast-off technique that I don’t know is asked for.

  34. It’s long-tail cast on all the time for me. One of these days, I’ll actually get a perfect amount of yarn on the first time!
    Michelle´s last blog post ..New Design: Swirch Hat

  35. My favorite cast on is the good old long-tail. It ALWAYS reminds me of sitting with my grandmother watching Password on a hot summer afternoon. She was happy to teach me how to knit but she wasn’t going to miss Password!!

  36. I use the long-tail most often, but also love the knitted cast on. 🙂

  37. I cast on using backward loops because to me it is the easiest one, and I never get the ‘dreaded gap’ everyone refers to when they mention this cast on.
    Casting off in my version of picot (as seen on my sock projects on Ravelry) is also a matter of preference and easiness because my ‘regular’ cast off is often too tight, especially if I keep the same needle size.
    If I win the book I’ll get a chance to expand my comfort zone!

  38. I usually use the thumb (long tail?) cast on because that’s the one my mum taught me many years ago. I remember doing my Brownie knitting badge and the tester being very impressed, and saying it was ‘too difficult for a little girl’!

  39. As a fairly new knitter, I only know the long tail and backwards loop cast ons!!! I’ve just learned (by reading all these great comments) how just in the dark I am!!!

  40. I like the long-tail and the cable cast-on, depending on what I”m knitting.

  41. christine says:

    I’m boring, I love the plain ‘ol long tail cast on.

  42. im just lori says:

    I use the cable cast-on more often than not, and the stretchy bind-off. For some reason, my finishing edges usually need to stretch.

  43. I just learned the Old Norwegian cast on for a pair of socks and love it! This book looks amazing, and I’m sure it would be a great reference book to add to my ever-growing library!

  44. I just love that b/o on the back cover, whats is it called, something braided?

    i use magic caston ans long tail cast on. although i find the garter tab cast on (for shawls) IN-GE-NIOUS!!! hurrah to the knitter who came up with that one!

  45. Theresa Mundy says:

    Knit on cast on and I have never done anything but a regular bind off. Would love to see my options so neatly referenced.

  46. For regular cast-on, I mostly use long-tail, for socks Judy’s magic cast on.

    My favorite bind off these days is the russian bind off, or i-cord bind off for jumpers.

    I’ll probably now go and look up the garter tab cast on Klarie above mentioned 😀 never heard of that one!
    Kat´s last blog post ..Summer Sewing Swap

  47. Jean Cannon says:

    Clearly I need to peruse the book so that I can learn to master more than the long-tail and knit-on cast on! For stretchy bind-offs I use P2 tog, slip stitch to left needle, P2 tog etc. Would like to learn more.

  48. Thanks for the chance!

  49. Long tail cast on or JMCO for socks. Love the Russian cast off for socks.

  50. tamiknits says:

    Wow, that looks like a great resource. Most of the time I do a long tail casst on and JSSBO. I often wonder if they are the best choice though.

  51. Wow this sounds like a book every knitter can use! I go between several cast ons depending on what I am making but my favorite is the cable cast on.

  52. Would love to have this book! Fairly new to knitting so I knit my cast on. Love your blog! Thanks

  53. Pat Hellhake says:

    My favorite cast on is the tubular cast on but isn’t always the right one to use.

  54. My default cast-on is the cable cast-on. I do use the long-tail cast-on for socks or other things which need to be stretchy. I’d like to add the tubular cast-on to my repertoire.

  55. I’ve been eying this book for a while now. I keep reading such good things about it.

    I’ve only done the standard castons so far, long tail and knited or cable cast one.

    My favorite bind off is the sewn, as it doesn’t add bulk. Now that I realized I can use it for really long edges by doing a russian join, I am so happy.

    I do love the idea about having more options to fit the project.

  56. I am stodgy about my cast on. I only use a knitted cast on. I’m like an old dog. New tricks don’t come easy! So this book would definitely be a good support!

  57. Samantha says:

    I love the twisted German cast on and the sewn bind off!

  58. I like the Twisted German Cast-On and Judy’s Magic Cast-On, and I need to expand my knowledge of cast-offs.

    Rav: GingerLee25

  59. My favorite CO is the long tail, which I apparently do Continental style, even though I have always done it that way and am an English knitter. And for BO I enjoy EZ’s seen BO.

  60. sounds like a book every knitter should have!

    my favorite cast on and bind off is the italian or tubular one. Just love the ‘professional’ look and feel of it and it works wonderfully with stretchy and stiff fabrics
    Diana´s last blog post ..eureka

  61. I like the stretchy lace bind off – K2, *insert left needle into the sts and k2tog thorough the back of the sts. Then K1 and repeat from *.

    I’d love to win a copy of this book! Please pick me!

    Geri in steamy Whitby, ON Canada
    Geri´s last blog post ..Freaky!

  62. I saw this book on Amazon…… and thought it might be good.. Now thank you! It sounds like it will be fantastic!! My go to cast on is long tail, my cast off Russian.
    Love your mitered squares.
    Yarn.devil´s last blog post ..Running about!

  63. My grandmother taught me to knit, and it was years before I knew there were other ways to cast on and bind off! I totally need this book: I haven’t tried enough ways to even have a favorite!
    ccr in MA´s last blog post ..This is Why…

  64. I discovered the 3 needle bind off as an alternative to seaming a hat…..if I can skip the sewing, I am happier!

  65. I generally use a long tail cast on, mainly because it’s quick & I’m impatient to get on with the knitting. I know my projects would be much more special if I branched out occasionally. Thanks for the opportunity to win what sounds like a terrific reference book.
    Jeannie´s last blog post ..Christmas Stocking Ornament by JeannieGrayKnits

  66. Wow, your jacket is growing quickly! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  67. I use long tail for just about everything!

  68. I usually use long tail, but my favorite for a stretchy edge is the German twisted cast on.

  69. I am another knitter who only uses long tail cast on. Would love the chance to expand my repertoire. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  70. I do socks. Toe-up socks. It’s Judy’s Magic Cast-On & Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.

  71. Lorraine says:

    I’m a long-tail cast-on kind of girl, but use the German Twisted cast-on for socks.

    Thank you for another great give-away! 🙂

  72. Long-tail cast-on is what I learned as a child and only recently tried others.

  73. Debbie F says:

    Judy’s magic Cast-on for socks – I always do toe up. Cable cast on for other knitted items 90% of the time. Standard Cast off 90% of the time. I’d love this book – I can do other cast on/off’s but I need to reference directions.

  74. I’ve just learned a stretchy bind-off, k2tog, replace on left needle, and repeat. It is stretchy, as promised, and looks very tidy. I think it’s love! Hope I win the book, I’d love to keep learning.
    Barbara Seiver´s last blog post ..A magnificent cat

  75. I love this type of reference work. Thanks for the giveaway!

  76. Donna H. says:

    I rarely use anything but long tail cast on…mostly because I don’t have a good understanding of the function of the different cast-ons. And I only do one bind off ( that’s a fib- I did do a picot bind off on something once I think). I’d love to own a copy of this book-especially after reading your review.

  77. I would have to say my favorite bind off is where you ktbl, then put the stitch back on the left hand needle and k2tbl and repeat. This seems the best bind off for not being too tight, but still not leaving a frilly edge.
    Steven´s last blog post ..Episode 71 Liquid Gold

  78. My favorite cast on is long tail. It seems magical as I weave the needle under-over-off! under-over-off!

  79. Favourite cast on is long tail and favourite cast off (actually only) is knitted off. Thanks for the giveaway.

  80. My favorite all-purpose cast on is the long tail, but I love to find new ways that work better in specific situations.

  81. I am a twisted German cast-on girl nearly all the time, but that’s probably because I mostly make socks. For toe-up socks, I prefer Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind-off.

  82. My favorite cast on has to be the cable cast on, it’s so neat and tidy.

  83. I like learning about different cast ons and offs. They can definitely bring your project to another dimension.
    Aberdonian´s last blog post ..OMG! So much dust!

  84. Elaine in NYC says:

    My go-to cast on is the long-tail, but for a huge number of stitches I’ll use the “shotgun” variation so I don’t have to worry about having a long-enough tail.

  85. As you suggested, I use long tail for about 90% of my knitting. If I have to use a provisional cast-on, I’ll use Lucy Neatby’s method for crocheting directly onto my needle if possible, and I use JMCO for socks. Coat is looking great!
    DPUTiger´s last blog post ..WiP Wednesday

  86. Most often I use the long tail method on flat knitting and Judy’s for toe up socks. Binding off depends on the pattern. I like to do 3-needle for joining shoulders and anything else that suits that method.

  87. Michelle says:

    My favorite cast on is cable. I’m still on the lookout for a favorite bind off, though I do use JSSBO a lot.

  88. Sewiknit2 says:

    My usual cast on is the cable, but my fave cast on (and cast/bind off) is Jenni’s surprisingly stretchy cast on and bind off which are ideal for ribs and perfect for stretch edge on socks there is excellent video tutorial on YouTube.
    Sue x

  89. My favorite cast on is the German Twisted Cast On and I use it ALL THE TIME! I could certainly stand to learn a few more techniques! LOL!! Thanks for the chance to win!! 🙂

  90. By far my favorite cast-on is the long tail with the tail(thumb) yarn doubled. I just used it on your Summer Solstice.

  91. I usually use the long tail cast on.

  92. Ruth Porter says:

    For toe-up socks, Judy’s Magic Cast On with Jenny’s Stretchy Bind-Off at the cuff. Otherwise, mostly long-tail cast-on.

    But I would love this book to learn more.

  93. Stardancer says:

    I use the cable cast on almost always (it’s the one I learned with). I can now do a knitted-on cast on as well, which is useful for a thinner edge but not nearly as easy to use, in my opinion (less stability makes it harder to work with in the next row).

    And I almost always bind off using the basic bind off (I don’t even know what it’s called)–the k1, slip first stitch over second, continue to end one. I have recently discovered JSSBO, which I’ve started using for ribbing. It would be great to have a go-to resource for more techniques!

  94. Maureen J says:

    Long tail cast-on is my usual, but I need to add to the repetoire.

  95. I would love to expand my cast on ability. I always use a long tail cast on unless a pattern has specific instructions for something else. Of course I never remember how to do it again on another project.

  96. My Favorite cast on is the cable cast on and the Russian bind off.

  97. Courtney says:

    I use the long tail cast on and the stretchy bind off. I’m always googling different cats on/off techniques so this book would be great!

  98. Friend had a copy of this the other day – it is a wonderful book! I will be buying a copy if I don’t win! My default is a cable cast-on and I usually use JSSBO but I do know a couple of others – not as many as are in that book, though!

  99. I usually use the long tail cast on or the cable cast on. I really like the elastic bind off for ribbing. I would like a reference of other cast on and bind offs.

  100. This book is definitely going on my wish list! I usually use the long tail cast on and need to add others to my repertoire