the knitrider asked:
Are there very many cast on methods? all i know is the basic cast on method, and i know there are ways to make the cast on look neater. can you recommend a book that thoroughly explains them, or a site? Or is that Neatby book the best source?
If you're interested in a specific cast on you can try googling the name(s) it is known by, some sites include helpful videos or photos. I have a short list of sites that feature online knitting videos [click here], they all have videos for casting on.
The first book that comes to mind is Monste Stanley's Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook, which boasts around 30 cast ons. That's overkill to be sure but hey, why not? Most public libraries should have this book in their collection. The writing is dry, like a school text book, but it covers a lot of ground.
Another book your public library should have is Vogue Knitting (not to be confused with the Vogue Knitting magazine), that book explains how to do about a dozen cast ons.
The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie Wiseman features 7 cast ons and it's worth mentioning because she clearly outlines the benefits and drawbacks of each method.
Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet is a great resource for sock knitters, it shows 4 cast on methods (long tail, channel island, provisional crochet, tubular). I do have a complaint about the way this book teaches the kitchener stitch but that's a gripe for another time (if anyone cares to hear it).
How many cast ons do you really need to know? I have no doubt that thousands of knitters know exactly one cast on and their knitting doesn't suffer for it. But it's handy to know something versatile (long tail), something stretchy (twisted german), something firm (cable), something temporary (provisional), and maybe something decorative (picot). And the tubular cast on for K1P1 rib is a thing of beauty. Those are just suggestions, for example there's more than one stretchy cast on and long tail is stretchy enough for a lot of people. There's no reason to memorize everything, that's why I own reference books.
And finally I leave you with a conversation that has never happened before in the history of the Universe:
K: Have you heard of Rent? The musical, you know, Rent?
D: Yeah, Barbra Streisand was in that.
D: Oh she was in Lent.
K: She was in Yentl, not Lent. LENT???
D: Oh right.
(at this point we are both cracking up)
K: I am SO putting this in my blog.