Figure 8 Cast On

Here’s what I did with the Buttons yarn using the Simple Baby Socks pattern in The Magic Loop booklet. I highly recommend this booklet if you’d like to learn how to knit socks with one circular from the cuff down and from the toe up.


These socks are knit from the toe, using a figure 8 cast on which can be a challenge to manage but  produces the best sock toe. Last week I tried starting these socks while riding the bus but gave up after several attempts. It’s definitely a task that needs to be done in a comfortable environment.

Keep in mind that this cast on is not only great for socks, but can also be used for other circular items such as hats.

Here’s how the cast on is started on two circular needles. The yarn is wound around two needle tips in a figure 8 fashion.

[Note: 4/9/2006 – I just noticed that this picture is wrong. The yarn end should start be under the lower needle (left side of photo) and then wrapped up over the upper needle. When I get a chance, I’ll change the photo. Athough, I think it’s still possible to wrap the needles this way. Just be sure not to twist stitches as you knit them.]


Once the yarn is wound around the needles, I start knitting through the back loop of all the stitches on the top needle. It’s important to remember to correctly wrap the last stitch on the bottom needle when starting on the top row so that another stitch is formed on the bottom needle.
Now I switch the bottom needle to the top and knit (not through the back loop) each stitch on this needle. Notice that I’m holding the yarn tail between the fingers of my left hand so that the last stitch on the last needle doesn’t get messed up.
Here’s the first round finished. I can now knit in a circle, increasing at the end of each needle as needed.
When the circle is a little bigger I tighten the first row stitches by starting on the opposite side of the tail (which is on the left when looking down at the toe from the top of the sock) yanking on the stitches one at a time to move the slack from one stitch to the next until I reach the tail.

10 thoughts on “Figure 8 Cast On

  1. Can you please explain how you do this: “yanking on the stitches one at a time to move the slack from one stitch to the next until I reach the tail”. I’m having trouble tightening my stitches after a few rows are done. Thanks


  2. Hi Brenda,
    Just saw your comment today.
    This is kind of difficult to describe but I’ll try.
    While the knit side is showing, I start the process by finding the stitch on the first row that is farthest from the yarn end. I then use a knitting needle to pull the right side (or leg) of the first knit stitch until the other side (or leg) is snug. I then go to the next stitch and put on it’s left leg which will transfer the bit of slack created when I pulled on the first stitch. Then, I go to the other side of the stitch and tug on it until it’s much bigger than it use to be. I continue doing this on each stitch until I reach the stitch near the tail. At this point the last stitch will have one leg that’s pretty big. I get rid of this by pulling on the tail and all that extra slack is gone.


  3. I love doing the figure of 8 cast on but i was wondering if someone knows the rule of how many stitches to cast on for fingering weight yarn?


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