My current work in progress:

Stornoway, designed by Alice Starmore from her book Fishermen’s Sweaters, knit in Frangipani 5-ply guernsey wool in the Aran colorway, on a 3.0mm needle.

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. Looks like a great book! I almost always use a long tail cast on. Thanks for the chance at this book.

  2. JoBleudeMaine says:

    I think I use long tail 90 percent of the time but my favorite for socks is the 1 x 1 rib from Interweave Knits Favorite Socks book.

  3. My favorite cast on(s) are the cable cast on and long tail. For binding off, I use the default k1, sl first st over unless the pattern calls for something different. I definitely need to add this book to my collection!

  4. I generally default to the long-tail cast on, and depending on the project, will often do EZ’s sewn bind off for the stretchiness factor. Thank you for offering a contest for this book, it looks most useful!

  5. Now you said “favorite”, which is not necessarily one’s most commonly used. The one I first learned was cable cast-on, and that is still the one I use for sweaters. My favorite is Judy’s Magic, because it is perfectly suited to its purpose. I use it for all my toe-up socks.

    My favorite bind-off right now is Russian. I would love to learn more techniques.

  6. My favourite cast on is the cable cast on. It feels nice and sturdy. Plus, I like the look of the edge it creates.
    Julia´s last blog post ..Oh my

  7. I like the provisional cast on because it gives a neat edge like the chain bind off. For socks I like Judy’s Magic Cast on and Jeny’s Super Stretchy Bind Off. I’m always trying different cast ons and bind offs, it would be nice to have them all in one place.

  8. I use long tail or cable cast ons most.

  9. Tina in NJ says:

    My favorite cast-on is the knitted cast-on: no estimating how long the tale should be. I have a friend who likes to cast on socks by casting on twice the number of stitches required, then knitting two together on each stitch for the first row, for a nice, stretchy cast-on. Although I haven’t tried that one.

  10. Kristin says:

    This book sounds so useful! I like to use Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off a lot.

  11. my fave cast on is long tail, and fave bind off is jenny’s super-stretchy. That book looks really great–would love to win a copy!

  12. I mainly use long-tail and knitted cast ons. Need to learn others!

  13. Brian M says:

    Hey Wendy! I love the cable cast-on, especially for hats!

  14. Michele says:

    My favorite cast on is the long tail cast on since I just learned it recently.

  15. Twisted German, which is, I believe, the same or very similar to the Old Norwegian found in the book. Nice and stretchy for socks. Or the Turkish, if I’m going toe-up.
    sprite´s last blog post ..weekend to do list

  16. Mary Lou says:

    Turkish cast-on, Russian bind-off for my favorite toe-up socks!

  17. as a new knitter, I only know how to do the long tail cast on…and for binding off, I don’t even know the name of it…slipping stitches over the one before (though I’m now learning the suprisingly stretchy bind off). obviously I need this book to get out of a rut and learn new methods!

  18. Beth Gray says:

    I do so want a copy of this book! My favorite lace shawl cast on is the knitted cast on and I’m really starting to like EZ’s sewn cast off.

  19. I usually use the long-tail cast on. I would LOVE to learn more ways to cast on and cast off. You know, expand my horizons! 😀

  20. Definitely a long tail cast on…simple and to the point

  21. My favorite cast on is eloop, the first one I learned, though lately I’ve been using knitted cast on because it gives a nicer edge in the early stages of the project.

    For binding off I usually use knit 2 pass first stitch over second, *knit 1 pass first stitch over second*.

  22. That book looks very useful and practical!

  23. Long tail cast on. However, in the last year I learned about the German twisted cast on and now use that for hats.

  24. Caroline says:

    The book looks amazing. I am a relatively new knitter and only use the cable and long tail cast ons and then the traditional and the russian bind off. Would love to expand my repetoire. thank you.

  25. Brandon says:

    Thanks for the great review. I’ve seen a number of them in the past couple days and this one really helps know more about what the book has to offer than a lot have. Kudos!

  26. My cast on of choice is the long tail.

  27. Angelbis says:

    Long tail cast on is my standard. I’m terrible about having a long enough tail, so I sometimes have cable cast on at the end…

  28. I usually use a long tail cast on without a slip knot. Have used twisted german, cable, knit on, backwards loop and a few variations of all of those. I’m less adventurous with bind offs and mainly use the standard. I have done the lace bind off and picot bind off but that’s about it. The book sounds quite interesting: very nice of Storey to give you one to give-away!

  29. My favorite cast on is either the Estonian cast on, which creates a very nice but stretchy edging, or the crocheted provisional cast on from which stitches can be picked up and worked the other direction. However, I’m always open to learning new things, so this book would be very useful.

  30. I use the knitted cast on almost all the time.

  31. My go to cast on is the cable cast on – it looks fantastic and is stretchy. I don’t have a favorite bind off stitch – it just depends one what I’m finishing.

  32. Robin Pearce says:

    Long tail is my go to, but I’d love to learn more.

  33. As usual, I’d love to win.

    I’m a long-tail kind of guy, traditional, but still, in my humble opion, the best!
    garret´s last blog post ..Two days in a row

  34. I think I do a cable cast on mostly and just bog standard cast off not even sure what it is called, guess this book would be really useful to me.

  35. Hmm. For toe-up socks, I do like a modified version of the Figure 8 cast on, but for nearly everything else I use the long tail cast on. I’ve been wanting to try some others, though!

  36. Angie S. says:

    I could use a book like this. I usually stick with the cable cast-on or the long tail cast-on.

  37. Linda M. says:

    longtail or cable cast-on usually, figure eight caston for toe-up socks!

  38. Jo morgan says:

    If this were a contest, it looks like long tail wouldmdefinitely win. I use it most of the time. I just do the same old, same old bind off, K2, pull one over the other. I think I need this book!

  39. I would love to have this book to learn more. I use long tail.

  40. I would love to learn more cast-ons and bind-offs, so I’d love a copy of that book!

    I hope you and Lucy are keeping cool. Lucy has an amazing talent for looking comfortable.

  41. morandia says:

    Jeny’s stretchy cast-off and a long tail cast on usually are what I use. I’d love to learn new techniques

  42. The long tail cast on is my default start but it’s always fun to learn new techniques.

  43. I was first taught the knitted cast on and I still use it most, for myself and for the teenagers I teach knitting to (I’m a high school teacher) because once they have learned the cast on they have essentially also learned the knit stitch. I use long tail sometimes, but the longer I knit the more I appreciate the value of knowing a reperatoire of cast ons and cast offs for different situations, so this book looks like a winner!

  44. Three Needle Bind Off… All the way.

  45. I love Judy’s magic cast off (and on for toe-up socks)!

  46. What a useful book! Thanks for hosting this giveaway. The caston I use varies accoording to project although the long-tail cast on and Turkish cast on are two of my favorite. For cast-offs, I generally use a sewn cast off.

  47. That sounds like a very handy book for the knitting bag.
    Penny´s last blog post ..Beginnings and Endings

  48. I always use Jeny’s Stretchy for shawls, etc and Judy’s Magic Cast On for toe up socks. Thanks for the contest, Wendy!

  49. At first, I thought the cable cast-on – the first one I learned – was the only one there was, and I couldn’t figure out why some people couldn’t figure out how to cast on more stitches in the middle of a row. Then I learned the long-tail cast-on (my preferred one now), and a lightbulb went on that that must be the only cast-on those knitters knew. So I’m definitely looking forward to adding more methods to my skillset!

  50. jill (jillshoke on rav) says:

    I love the german twisted cast-on that I learned from LaLa

  51. What a useful little book!
    Melanie´s last blog post ..Douglas Mittens

  52. This is just what I need! I usually use the cable or knitted cast on, and Jeny’s Super stretchy bind off. Or if I do the regular bind off, I have to go up a needle size or two to make it work. Thanks for sharing this book!

  53. I would truly love a copy of this reference book. It is small enough that I would actually carry and USE it. The only reference books in my library are so large and heavy that they stay on my bookshelf unless I want to press flowers:)

  54. I’m afraid I’m a long tail cast-on girl who needs to learn some new tricks!

  55. I usually use the old Norwegian cast on. I like it’s extra stretchy-ness for my socks.

  56. I default to the long tail cast on, or Judy’s magic if I’m knitting socks. That’s about the extent of my cast on knowledge, as a fairly new knitter.
    Colleen´s last blog post ..Open Wide with a Handle

  57. Shannon H. says:

    My preferred cast on is a German long tail, unless I’m doing toe-up socks. For those, I prefer Turkish. Cast off tends to be of the “standard” K2, pass first stitch over, repeat variety.

  58. Elizabeth says:

    When making top-down socks, I like to cast on 150% of the stitches, and complete the first row as k1, k2tob, p1, p2tog. It’s so stretchy and foolproof!

  59. Tanglegirl says:

    What a great book! I need this one too.

    Hi, Lucy!

  60. I’m a big fan of the Twisted German Cast-On. It’s a clean look, and is a little stretchier than the basic long tail cast-on.

  61. For a long time, the long-tail was the only one I knew, then I learned the knitted cast on, which I love since using it I never have to guess how much yarn I’ll need for the cast on!
    Bridget´s last blog post ..Furball Friday

  62. Kathleen says:

    I will definitely buy this book! I use the long-tail cast-on for nearly everything flat, and Judy’s Magic Cast-on for my socks. My bind-off is where I knit two together, then put the stitch back on the needle, k2tog, slip it back. I’m not sure what it is called. I’ve tried the sewn bind-off, but I don’t think it is very attractive, though it could be just the way I do it. What I really want to learn is a temporary cast-on.
    Thanks for making this book available for a contest, Wendy!

  63. I almost always use the long-tail cast on with doubled needles. I just can’t seem to keep any other co as even as that one, though, I NEVER figure the amount of yarn I need correctly and either have a ton left, or am short and have to redo.
    f1bercat´s last blog post ..Tip: Don’t Knit Socks While Watching So You Think You Can Dance

  64. anne marie in philly says:

    knitted cast on, the one my grandmother taught me; I honor her memory every time I start a new project.

  65. Kate/Massachusetts says:

    My favorite cast on is still the longtail cast on! If I use it for socks, I simply add about 10% more stitches to the cast on, and then immediately decrease them away while setting up the ribbing. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book!

  66. My favorite cast on is the knitted cast-on, but I need yo expand my horizons. Please enter me in the drawing, it looks like a great book!

  67. It would be nice not to have to run to the internet to check YouTube whenever I need a different cast on. Throw my name in the hat1
    kmkat´s last blog post ..Hermitage cats.

  68. I have wanted this book since i read a review of it. Count me in!

  69. My go-to cast-on is long tail – first one I learned and so far it meets my needs. My favorite bind-off is sewn bind-off – I like the extra give for the edge. I still consider myself a beginner knitter and this book would be a great addition to my collection.

  70. Veronica K says:

    My go to options are the long tail cast on, and Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.

  71. Jeny can do no wrong in my book. I use her slipknot cast on and surprisingly stretchy bind-off almost exclusively.
    Ashley G´s last blog post .."Oh, you know I’m buying that."

  72. I had a chance to peek at this, and I immediately wanted a copy, so thanks for the chance to win!

    I’m a huge JSSBO fan, but use whatever cast on seems right to me at the moment.
    Victoria Moss´s last blog post ..Day of the Dead Bag: Done and Done!

  73. I pretty much only know the long tail cast on and I don’t even know the name for the bind off that I do but again I only know the one. Except for when I knit socks and then I use the Kitchener stitch. So I guess I could really use this book to learn some new techniques.

  74. Thanks for the chance to win the book – it looks like a fabulous reference!

  75. catspaw says:

    I use the cable cast on more than any but I think Judy’s Magic Cast on is my favorite, just cause it’s so amazingly ingenious.

  76. Phyllis says:

    I use the long tail cast on but after having seen this book here I know I have been very limited. Hope I win. I want to learn these other techniques.

  77. Thanks for the drawing! I am lazy — I like to start with two needles together using the traditional long-tail cast on. My favorite bind-off is EZ’s sewn bind off.

  78. Long tail cast on but I need to learn to do others.

  79. What an awesome resource that looks to be! I took a bind-off class once, and a cast-on class, and they were amazing, but my brain filled up so fast that it was hard to really learn after about the first five new ones…. how great to assemble everything in one place!
    Cathy-Cate´s last blog post ..Winning Team! And a new pattern to celebrate fall.

  80. Super stretchy! Lol, my absolute favorite.

  81. My favorites are the long tail cast on and the bind off where the second stitch is passed over the first, I don’t know the name of it. I have tried other cast ons and bind offs, but I don’t have them memorized like the first two, and I always need to go on line to relearn them.

  82. I always had trouble starting a sock because the stitches were so small and would never be ‘stretchy’ enough until I discovered the long tail cast on. Now I use it almost exclusively.

  83. stephanie says:

    My favorite cast on is the cable cast on, mostly because it’s easy and you know just hoe much of a tail you’ll have.

  84. Love your blog! Favorite cast one -long tail. Bind off – Russian bind off.

  85. Favorite cast-on: Judy’s! Favorite bind-off: a tie between EZ’s sewn bind-off or Jess’s super stretchy bind off (JSSBO).

  86. I use long tail cast on mostly, because that’s what I was taught first. But the trick of using the two ends so you don’t run out is the best thing ever!

    I’m so glad you reviewed this book – I’ve been wanting it but I worried that it might not be as awesome as the promo stuff said it was.

  87. Long tail for socks and cable for everything else. Would love the book as I love to learn new techniques.
    Jennifer´s last blog post ..June Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

  88. I’m a long tail cast on kind of girl..looking to expand my horizons.

  89. I’d love a copy of Cast On, Bind Off: 54 Step-by-Step Methods — my girlfriend showed me a copy and it’s really as nice as it looks. Favorite bind-off is definitely the Elizabeth Zimmerman Sewn Bind-Off. It’s very stretchy and really great for ending a toe-up sock. I’m not that fond of the Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind-off: it looks raggedy to me. But a lot of people seem to like it best. For me, EZ’s is much neater.

  90. Shirley Gallagher says:

    My go-to cast on is long tail. My favorite bind off is k2tog, slip back to left hand needle and repeat. I love your mitered squares.

  91. Great book, great review!

  92. Tracey Carsto says:

    I usually use JMCO for my sock beginnings, but for everything else I usually use the long tail cast on.

  93. That looks like a handy little reference guide. Please throw my name in the hat, too!

  94. Ho-hum…boring,boring ol’ long-tail cast on is my go-to cast on. (I feel so unique!)

  95. This book looks really good – I like cable cast on and mainly 3 needle bind off.

  96. linda-kaye says:

    My go to cast on is the long tail – and the most common bind-off for most of my knitting. This book is a great addition to any knitter’s library! And I would just love to add it to mine!

  97. Melissa says:

    Would love the chance to win the book!

  98. Beverly says:

    I only know how to do the knitted cast on so I guess that would have to be my favorite. Sure would love the book so I could expand my knitting skills.

  99. I love me a long tail cast on, and have a special place in my heart for the Russian bind off. It always seems magical to me somehow. 🙂
    Dana´s last blog post ..Commencing with the Art

  100. Suzanne says:

    I tend to always use the Long tail cast on. I do try others when it is mentioned in a pattern but I haven’t memorized another one yet so I go with what I know.