How to knit Turkish cast on for toe up socks

Turkish cast on is my new favorite invisible cast on for toe up socks, finger down mitten, or any tubes with a closed end (toys). There are many methods you can choose for a closed end cast on, such as Judy's magic cast on, figure 8 cast on, or backward loop cast on. I find Turkish cast on to be simple, straightforward, and it produces a nice seamless, continuous stockinette stitches. 

turkish cast on

Have you ever tried knitting socks from toes, or mittens from finger tips? Most traditional patterns knit from cuff down, and you end up need a Kitchener stitch to graft the toes or fingertips. Most people don't like Kitchener stitches because it is a sewing method requires many steps in certain order. If you don't use it a lot, you forget the steps easily.

It also makes sense to knit from toes or finger tips up so you can adjust the fit as you go, and use up the yarns for any cuff length to reduce waste.

Here is a video showing how to knit the Turkish cast on.

There are many tutorials on the internet and everyone do it a little differently. Here is how I do it:

1. Use circular needles, with both needles facing right. 

2. Wrap the yarn from back to front so the right leg of yarn is in the front (like a knit stitch). Wrap only half of the stitch number as pattern says. For example, 16 stitches for the first round of socks in the pattern means 8 times wrapping around the 2 needles. It becomes 8 stitches on each needle later. So the total will be 16 stitches after the cast on.

3. Start pulling out the bottom needle and knit every stitches on the top needle. Be careful to hold on to the yarn at beginning and end of the stitches so it does not come loose.

4. Align two needles, turn the whole knitting 180 degrees (upside down), and continue pulling out the bottom needle to knit the top stitches. 

That's it. Just continue repeating step 4 now.  If you are doing toe up socks, after the first round or two, you can start increase stitches on both sides (2 stitches on each needle, so 4 stitches total per round). If you just continue knitting, it will form a tube with closed end (like finger part of gloves).


- Tighten up the first and last stitches a little. They tend to be looser, and it shows after you complete the circle.

- Some people start with a slip knot, place it on one needle before wrapping. When you knit before this slip stitch, simply undo the slip knot. This way, it secures the yarn at the beginning. This is an option. Or you can just hold the yarn against needles.

- After one row of knitting from one needle, push the other needle back to stitches so 2 needle tips are next to each other. Then turn 180 degrees and pull out the bottom needle. With this step of aligning 2 needles together, it is easier to see what you are doing and avoid mistakes.

Next time, we will talk about different ways for stretchy bind offs, including my favorite method.

turkish cast on