My current work in progress:

Freshet, by Irina Anikeeva for Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People 13, knit from Rowan Softyak DK in the Steppe colorway, using 3.75mm and 4mm 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. My favorite cast on is Judy’s Magic Cast On when making socks (or mitts, or bags, sometimes). For everything else, it’s usually Long Tail, sometimes Cable. Cast off? For socks, Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off is amazing. Non socks, standard.
    It would be great to see other options out there. Thanks!

  2. Diane Rizzo says:

    Long tail cast on. Sewn off BO b/c I am a tight binder offer!!!

  3. Carolyn says:

    My go to cast on is the cable cast on. It’s the one mum taught me and I like the way it looks for most things. But when I need stretch, I choose the single yarn, double knot cast on.

  4. What a neat book!!!!

  5. Seamyst says:

    My favorite cast-on is the knitted cast on. Unless I need something super-stretchy, I use it for everything.

  6. Victoria says:

    LTCO, usually over two needles.

  7. I usually use a long tail cast on, but I would like to become more familiar with other cast-ons and bind-offs than the ones I use the most. Seems like a most useful book! Thank you for offering it.

  8. Tracey W says:

    The long-tail is my go-to cast on. I just learned a really stretchy bind-off this spring (called Russian bind-off, I think) that I’ve been using on shawls. Love the results!

  9. I love using the long tail whenever possible.

  10. Henrycat says:

    What a great reference! I love the size and spiral binding. Perfect for carrying around.

    I usually use the long-tail cast-on but more and more I find myself using the tubular cast-on since it looks so nice and polished. I like the tubular for binding off, too.

  11. Excellent. All of these helpful descriptions in one place!!! I agree with Marci, this will definitely be on my wish list as well. I have several favorite cast ons — all versions of the long-tail cast on — solid base row and stretchy. Depending on what I’m knitting, I will frequently do a long-tail cost on needs at least two sizes bigger than the working needle. And JSSBO is my favored cast off. Love the mitered square blanket!!

  12. I’d like to tell you about a cast on I learned as a child which I haven’t see in any of the resources I know.
    It’s probably our portuguese cast on, worked with yarn around the neck and looks like purl.

  13. Debbie H says:

    My favorite cast on is the long tail or for toe up socks it is Judy”s Magic Cast on. (Which I learned from your book!)

  14. Robin D says:

    I usually do a long tail cast on. Anything else I have to look up how to do

  15. My Fave CO is Cat Bordhi-PERSONAL FOOTPRINTS-Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off, as seen on YouTube ­čśë

    Beautiful miters, and Nighty night, dear Lucy!
    Sandra┬┤s last blog post ..Apple Dishcloth FREE PATTERN!

  16. Anne Marie says:

    Love me some provisional cast-on!

  17. Marietta says:

    I love the cable cast-on. It works for everything & you don’t have to measure & guess for a second strand – ie: the long-tail c/o that we all learned early & well, but also became a major frustration with starting the cast-on over & over. I’ve also used the Emily Ocker circular cast-on for circular shawls. It’s a little fiddly & I have to refresh my memory before starting it every time, bu;t it’s a really good one. Don’t like the “e” – it just grows too much as you knit that 1st row. Too much trouble.
    Love this blog

  18. I love the sewn bind off as it is stretchy but doesn’t add (much) extra length to the fabric

  19. My go to cast on is long tail. But no matter how often I do it, every now and then I get the amount of tail wrong and have to start over several times!

  20. Lucy Portland says:

    Sounds like a great reference. I use the long tail cast-on.

  21. Sharon M2 says:

    Unless a pattern recommends otherwise, I use the long tail cast on. This was the first one I learned and I seem to do it automatically.

  22. Sharon Amara says:

    Favorite All-Purpose Cast On is the Long-Tail cast on.
    Favorite all-purpose bind-off is K1, K1, pass stitch over.

  23. my favorite cast-on is long tail. my favorite bind off is the Russian.
    southparknitter┬┤s last blog post ..Singing a lullaby

  24. Abby Call says:

    I love the Lucy Neatby bind off as it almost always mirrors a good cable cast on, dont the name of it, just learned it as the Lucy Neatby bind off. This looks like a book we all need.

  25. It would be handy to have this little 5×7 in my knitting kit.
    I’ll take all the prompting I can get!
    Gerry┬┤s last blog post ..Box Bag Bonanza ! ! !

  26. I like the long-tail cast-on, but would love to learn new cast-ons and bind-offs.

  27. Wendy Lamar says:

    My favorite bind off is a picot edge! Love the picot on shawls, cuffs and sleeves.

  28. Looks like a super book! I mostly use the long-tail cast-on but use others when necessary. Your mitered-square piece looks just beautiful! Thanks for offering a copy of the book! lisaD in upstate NY

  29. Jennie Kaderabek says:

    Not sure of the official name, or if it is just ‘stretchy bind off’, but this is my new favorite bind off. K2tog TBL, slip stitch from right to left needle purlwise. Continue until all stitches are finished. It made a beautiful edge on my last FO.

  30. Looks like an excellent reference book to add to any knitting library.

  31. I would love to have this book for my knitting reference library.I use the long tail cast on to start a project and the cable cast for increase stitches at the underarm .

  32. Kelly S says:

    I almost always stick with a long-tail cast on, and my favorite bind off is one that works well for lace. It is k2, (put the 2 stitches back on the left-hand needle, k2tog through the back loops, k1), repeat the part in ()…don’t know the official name, but it works like a charm with a nice stretchy edge for blocking lace!

  33. I have 2 favorite cast ons long tail and Judy’s Magic Cast On. I really need to learn some new bind offs. I use the old traditional one. Keeping my fingers crossed I win this book

  34. My favorite cast-on is the old standby, the long-tail. But there are certainly times when others are better, and it would be great to have a handy and portable reference like this book. The new Principles of Knitting has lots of great cast-ons and bind-offs, but it’s not at all portable!

  35. Jennifer says:

    Clearly I need this book as the only cast-on I use is the long-tail — except for making toe-up socks….which is not really part of my repertoire. I have heard about a crochet cast-on and the words “provisional cast-on” are seeping back into my memory, but these are techniques that remain elusive. This book is going on my “must have” list!

  36. Liz Ard says:

    Those mitered squares are so cute! Love the way the colors work out, it looks almost like scales.

  37. i really need to check the e-format out i love it when they offer that!

  38. I just did my first I-cord bind off. I would love to have this book!

  39. This looks like a very useful book. I use the long tail cast on and Jeny’s stretchy cast off for most of my projects

  40. I could really use this book. I use the two needle cast on and that is the only one I know right now.

  41. Wow, this is the book I’ve been wishing for. Delighted it’s finally here. My socks are toe up so I use Judy’s Magic cast on for those. Typically, for any other projects, I use long-tail cast on amd if I’m casting on a huge number of stitches, I use long tail from two balls of yarn.

  42. Lynette says:

    Looks like a great tool!

  43. I usually use the long tail cast on and would love to get proficient on a few more. This book looks great!

  44. Looks like an awesome book! I am loving the surprisingly stretchy bind-off that I learned about during the KAL. The cast-on with the crochet hook that some Ravelers suggested is pretty nice too!

  45. This books sounds great! I usually use a long tail cast on, although there are others I like too!
    Thank you.

  46. What a wonderful reference book,

  47. What a wonderful resource. I’ve always used Elizabeth Z’s cast-on. Would love to learn others.

  48. RustyBird says:

    I have favorites, but I have no idea what their names are. Is that bad?

  49. Marsha C. says:

    As a child, I was taught the knit-on cast on and that was all I knew until more recent years when I picked up the needles again after many years of not knitting. I learned the long tail cast on at my LYS, and now that’s pretty much all I use. I would love to win a copy of this new book! Thanks for the opportunity to enter your drawing.

  50. Paulette says:

    Long tail cast on is what I usually use….am starting to learn some others, as well. The book looks really great!

  51. I almost always use the long tailed cast on and for ribbing. I use the stretchy cast on. I prefer to use the lace bind off. This books looks like it needs to be in my library! What a great reference tool.

  52. Pat Emerick says:

    I usually use the knit or cable cast on. I haven’t found any specific cast off yet … still trying just what each pattern calls for. The book would be a wonderful reference!

  53. Darlene says:

    Gotta be the long tail cast on but I do use others.

  54. I tend to use the knitted cast-on simply because I always misjudge how much yarn is needed for the long-tail cast-on. I really don’t have a favorite bind-off and I tend to pick one that isn’t very stretchy which is not a good thing when making socks.

    I am a huge fan of technique books that lay flat while in use and fit in my knitting bag!

  55. I always use the knit stitch cast on so would love to learn other methods.

  56. Charlene Davies says:

    I’d love to learn more techniques, but my default cast on is the long-tail. I use it almost exclusively.

  57. My favorite bind off is definitely the Jeny’s surprisingly magic bind off. Use it most of the time and on all my socks. But I am open to discover some new…
    Ptinutz┬┤s last blog post ..White is white, not always…

  58. I like the German Twisted Cast on to begin a project. If I have to add stitches, then I prefer the backward loop cast on. For the bind off, I like Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy.

  59. Seems like I always go to the long tail cast on. The only time it seems I change when when the pattern calls for a different one. There is where this book will come in handy, especially because it will fit in my knitting bags!!!

  60. Paulette Schirmer says:

    Sounds amazing as a reference! I know only one bind off (which I am not happy with) and a few cast ons. My favorite cast on is the knit cast on since it gives a clean edge.

  61. I love that in knitting there is no end of things to learn!

  62. What a great idea for a book! My usual cast-on is the long tail cost-on. It was the first I learned and the one I could probably do in my sleep! As far as binding off, I really like the russian bind-off – my favorite for socks!

  63. Kathleen says:

    I use the cable cast on and two needled bind off. Thank you!

  64. I need help with this. I am embarrassed to say I use all purpose all the time!! Shame on me!!

  65. peggy connolly says:

    my fav cast-on is the cable cast-on. I learned it when making socks and it stuck with me.

  66. I use the long tail cast on most of the time, but I also really like a crochet cast on when I want both ends to look the same.

  67. Hands down, the Twisted German Cast on. Channel Island is second!

  68. Like others I prefer the P2 tog, slip back on bind off, does it have a name???
    Garter stitch tab is definitely for special items, but what is all this with using crochet hook and doing a provisional cast on for like 4 stitches?? the old way with just long tail cast on of 4 stitches is sleeker.
    I don’t mind doing a different cast on for a reason–hate patterns that say “Bind off in pattern” WHY?? I want it to look like the end of the project.

  69. I love the long tail cast on and kitchners for sock bind offs – I know I’m probably out number on that one, but c’est la vie!

  70. This book would be perfect for me. I tend to stick with the standard long tail cast on and whatever the bindoff is called when you knit or purl two then take the second over the first. I’ve used many others when they’re called for, but I have to look them up each time. I think an easy reference so I could really pick a good cast on or bind off when none is specified would be wonderful.

  71. I use four types of cast-on, depending on the project: cable, lace, long-tail, and Judy’s magic cast-on. I’d love to be able to expand my repertoire!

  72. I use a few different CO–crocheted when I want the CO to look like the BO; but the go-to is usually the longtail, and I know it’s not the best!! would love to learn more from that great book!!!
    stephanie┬┤s last blog post ..weekending…..

  73. I am new to knitting but I think my favourite well at least the easiest one for me is the long tail cast on ­čÖé it would be great to learn some more!
    Brie┬┤s last blog post ..My HR Hexy MF

  74. That looks awesome, yes please sign me up. If I don’t win I’m going to buy a copy anyway. Looks indispensible!

  75. I’d love to have this book. I also love the look of your mitered square project!

  76. Pam Huang says:

    What a useful topic! Thanks for offering it to your readers. For the first 30 years of my knitting life I only used one cast on!!!

  77. Mbdryknits says:

    When needing a temporary crochet cast on I like crocheting around the knitting needle drawing up a loop and then putting it on the needle rather than crocheting the chain and then knitting into it. It’s a lot easier. I usuall cast on long tail and bindoff the regular way. Would love to learn other ways!

  78. Carole N. says:

    My favorite cast on is the cable cast on.

    For Bind Offs I like the 3 needle bind off for sweaters !

    Thank you Wendy!

  79. The long-tail for most things, but the backwards loop for additional cast-on stitches once I’m in the piece. Occasionally the knitted-on cast-on if I need it be more defined from the get-go.

    I’d LOVE to expand my regular repertoire. Or at least know why I shouldn’t use something else.

  80. Marilyn says:

    I usually use the long tail cast on but i would love to learn others, Really could use this book. It sounds great.

  81. Great review, Wendy. I love that the book is spiral bound. I almost always use the long tail cast on. Sometimes using two needles and sometimes using a larger size needle.

  82. Jeannette in St. Louis says:

    I really like Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off. It’s a great stretchy bind off, and looks nice too! Thanks for the chance to win this book, because I can NEVER remember how to do Judy Becker’s Brilliant Cast on for toe- up socks

  83. Theresa says:

    This book is so cool and would be so very useful for me! I only know a couple of cast-ons and usually use the knitted cast on (not even sure if that is its name), and don’t even know the name of the bind off I usually use; but when I do socks I usually use Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind off. Hope you draw my name ­čÖé

  84. I usually use the long tail cast on but I am always on the look out for new ways. Bind off is usually the standard slip stitch. I would love to have this reference book to explore new techniques!

  85. Shirley says:

    I guess I am pretty basic when it comes to cast on and bind off….I use a basic knitted cast on and bind off the only way I know how. I did have to find a stretchy bind off for toe up socks…I don’t know it’s name. This book looks fabulous….it’s obvious that I need to learn some new methods of each!

  86. Lynn Stitchman says:

    Long tail cast on is by far my favourite cast on. It is always the one I go back to, even thought I do use other ones at different time. Looks like a great little book.

  87. Debbie Smith says:

    Knitted cast on

  88. I use the plain old long tail cast on most of the time. It’s the first one I learned and it’s comfortable. If I’m doing socks I use JSSBO for a bind off, otherwise it’s just a plain bind off that I don’t even know if it has a name!

    This book would definitely come in handy for expanding my options!

  89. Amanda Underwood says:

    Long tail cast-on followed by sewn bind-off most of the time. Although it may not technically be a bind off but I love me some kitchener too.

  90. Vicki Johnson says:

    Thank you for the review! The book looks like a very handy reference. The size is perfect for traveling. Cheers!

  91. I would usually use long tail cast on and a stretchy bindoff.

  92. handmadebysue says:

    This looks like a terrific reference. I’d love to be able to add this my library. Thanks for the opportunity!

  93. Long-tail and regular old bind off. I have no idea if it has another name.

  94. Checked this book out at the library to find a cast on for 3/4 sleeves (Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on is great!); I would love to have my own copy. Thank you for making these give aways available to us. You are very generous.

  95. I usually use the longtail cast-on, and either the simple or Russian bind-off, depending on the project.

  96. I would Love that book!! How neat:-)
    You may draw my name:-)
    Ellen Griffin┬┤s last blog post ..Well, good news

  97. Thank you so much for reviewing this book, Wendy. I was wondering if I needed it and I trust your opinion.

    I use many different cast-ons, depending on the project, but usually it’s a long-tail cast on, carefully done.

  98. Gail Rector says:

    I love the knitted cast on. It’s stretchy and I don’t have to figure out how long to make the tail. But I am intrigued by the invisible rib “Italian” cast on and would like to have a reference book to take my starts and stops to the next level.

  99. Deb Kegelmeyer says:

    At the moment I am using Judy’s magic and the long tail as I have been doing things like socks and mittens but really want to learn some prettier and stretchier bind offs. This book looks very good.

  100. I use a long tail cast on or a crochet cast on but I love learning new stuff.