Judy’s Magic Cast On

Using this cast on is the slickest way to begin a toe up sock. I like to follow this cast on with a wedge toe because it is simple to do and makes a comfortable home for your toes. Both the cast on and wedge toe are demonstrated in my newest video. Toe up socks are a great choice when your yarn yardage is a bit skimpy. Begin at the toe and knit up the leg until your skein is gone. If you have never made a toe up sock, hop on the bandwagon and see what you have been missing!

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  1. Sheryl
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen where a lot of patterns have been using this cast on but was reluctent to try it. Once I watched your video, I’m ready and will show it to my friends!!!

  2. Alison
    Posted January 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    This is a brilliant video. I have tried Judy’s Magic Cast On before and not managed it but thanks to your video, I can do it now :)

  3. Pam D'Alessandro
    Posted January 1, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this. I co about 6 times and finally got it. I was holding my thread wrong on my thumb. Still very tight, but I think it will do! I need to do both toes so I can have plenty of time to do the next part! Pam

  4. Posted January 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on conquering the toe!

  5. Wendy
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    Great video- I was able to learn this technique easily (and I got motivated to (someday) try the magic loop!). Thank You !

  6. Posted January 3, 2011 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    I LOVE the magic loop and is the technique I use to knit all my socks. I even use it for mittens, hats and sleeves!

  7. Lisa
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    This cast on rocks! Wow!

  8. Carmen
    Posted March 11, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    I think this is an awsome way to cast on a toe but it has taken a lot of time to figure it out because I am a left handed knitter. Please, please, please would someone out there realize there are lefties trying to do this. Maybe there is a left-handed site that I haven’t found yet. Any help?

  9. Posted March 12, 2011 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I will pass along any left-handed instructions that come my way! Good for you that you were able to work it out!!

  10. Anne Stoddard
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Michelle; so glad that we are doing a toe-up this month, they are my favorite way to knit socks (with 2 Circs of course ;-)) .. I love the color of the Maxima, just fits my wardrobe.
    BTW, I am doing another pair of the March socks in a different color because I just love
    that garter stitch heel and want to do it again… it really feels great on my feet. Thanks again

  11. Brandie
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi! Ok, I am scared of the magic loop, so I have been working all small things in the round on 9″ circs…does this cast on work for these needles? Or will I need to use some DPNs to get it started?? OY! I am excited, and nervous to get started! =0)

  12. Anne Marie
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    This is now my go-to cast on, thanks to you! I substitute it anywhere I can. Any suggestions for casting on an odd number of stitches?

  13. Ann
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    This is, by far, the best video for Judy’s Magic Cast On (the improved version). The old version did require knitting through the back loop on the second needle, but I believe on your wonderful improved version the stitch orientation is actually correct for knitting into the front loop. (The improved version has the working -thumb- yarn going between the two needles. This improvement changes the orientation of the stitches.)

  14. sleepyknitter
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Wow, love this version of Judy’s Magic Cast-on!

    I’m hoping to find a video tutorial for two-at-a-time, toe-up socks using Judy’s Magic Cast-On for a left-handed knitter. Is there such a thing?

  15. Posted December 8, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I don’t have one on my website. I’m hopelessly right handed!

  16. Joan
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi I was wondering if you have a cd on the tech. I now am on dial up and it
    takes 1 hr and 10 min to download a 4 minute video. I would gladly purchase
    the videos on a cd what would the price be. I have learned so much from you
    on knitting and I cannot wait to start the socks on the new KAL Joan

  17. Posted February 3, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I am sorry that at this time I do not have a CD to purchase. I will definitely give the idea some serious thought. Sorry about the long download time!

  18. Barbara
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Your videos are the best! Easy to follow and understand for a self taught knitters like myself. Thank you for your help!

  19. Deb
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi, thanks for the Judy’s magic cast on video. It is wonderful. I’m a little confused however. I am knitting a duffer (felted slipper) using magic loop. The pattern indicates that the cast on is actually a knit row so the first row of the pattern says to do a purl row. I noticed that you pulled out the front needle instead of the back needle (which is what I pull out doing magic loop). So I am confused by this. Can you explain why I am not pulling out the needle with the working yarn attached and knitting from the other needle?


  20. Posted February 28, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I do pull out the back needle to knit my stitches off of the front needle. It can look a bit odd when knitting the first row since we had to rotate the needles from pointing left (cast on position) to pointing right (knitting position). Give it another try and let me know how it goes.

  21. Sherrie
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Your a natural born teacher! Easy to follow. I’ve been making the transition to magic loop, two at a time and now my friends in our knitting circle think I’m a knit guru! hahaha! Thanks so much for great instructional video’s. :-)

  22. Posted April 18, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I am so happy to have another convert

  23. Dorothy
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    I have spent this week watching your videos. You are a natural teacher with a beautiful speaking voice.I have been doing Judy’s Maguc Cast On for quite awhile now. I’m 78 and am housebound so I knit socks for a programme called Out of the Cold. They just want plain socks which is fine for me now. I have started knitting some fancier socks when I get tired of knitting plain socks. All of a sudden I have developed a a bad habit and I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I think it has something to do with the end of the cast on where the tail is just hanging. I don’t think I am twisting the tail the correct way. I seem to be missing what you are saying. Do you twist the working yarn and the tail together of do you twist the tail over the working yarn like you do at the beginning. I learned how to do the cast on from a book and realize now that I haven’t been doing it right. It looked nice, I don’t know why. I seem to have a small hole at the beginning of the second needle. It doesn’t show until I have knit a few rounds. I want them to look nice and also be comfortable for the men. Thank you for such wonderful videos.

  24. Posted August 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Dorothy, I am so happy that my video has been a help to you. It is so generous of you to knit socks for those in need. To answer your questions, I twist the tail when I am working Judy’s Magic Cast On in the same manner that you would twist a bread tie closing a loaf of bread. There is nothing scientific to my method – all I am trying to do is prevent the last cast on stitch from falling off. I think the hole that you are getting is absolutely normal and it can be easily closed with the tail left from your cast on. Happy knitting!

  25. Posted August 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    The commenter who said you were a natural teacher was right on! I’ve been frustrated trying to understand this cast-on method, but your video cleared it up for me. Thank you!!

  26. Heaven Roberts
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Whoever was asking about left handed tutorial for this I was search for other ways to use this CO and happened across this site that says they have a video for lefties :


  27. Posted December 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip!

  28. Christine
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    This is my first ever sock. I have almost finished the second toe. I agree with the others about your teaching style and outstanding videos. I did a guage swatch and got 8. Now that I am knitting the toes, my gauge is 9. I am using size zero to achieve this. My question is, that since my row gauge is smaller due to the size zero needles, should I continue repeat row 16 four more times without increases? I am a size small.

  29. Posted January 4, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    You should be able to go up to a larger needle size to get 8.5 stitches per inch if you prefer. At this point in the sock the needle change will be nearly invisible. If you want to stay on your current needles, you may want to work a few rounds with no increases to lengthen the toe as you suggested.

  30. pamela
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Just finished my first cast on this way. I’ve always done my sock cuff down, so am
    anxious to conquer the toe up., Video was so helpful!

  31. Posted January 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Glad to be of service! Don’t you just love toe up!

  32. Posted February 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I am left handed. When you say to hold the needles in your right hand and the needles pointing left, can I do the opposite? Would it make a difference?

  33. Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Yes, you may work this technique in the opposite manner if you prefer. Happy knitting!

  34. Liz
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I am an experienced sock knitter, yet trying toe-up socks for the first time. This tutorial was recommended by a friend; it is SO clearly filmed and described I have managed to follow it first time and now have a lovely toe! Saved on my favourites bar as I am sure I shall need to come back to it for the other foot, but with practice I reckon it will be easy to remember. Thanks very much.

  35. Posted May 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for making me a favorite. Happy knitting!

  36. Camille
    Posted June 7, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    As my toe has progressed, I see that the exposed sides of work on each needle are the insides of the sock (the side that looks like garter stitch)…is this correct or have I inadvertently switched something around?

    Thanks…it’s been fun to watch a recognizable toe box take shape…my first attempt at socks!

  37. Posted June 8, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Your mistake is an easy one to make. When knitting in the round, the stitches form a circle. Your needles should be at the side of the circle closest to you (needles near the tummy). If the cord is near you (tummy side) and the needles on the far side of the circle then you will be knitting inside out. Hope this helps!

  38. Rachel Ritchey
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Just started another pair of socks and thought I had this down, but I ended up with a garter row on the toe…couldn’t figure out why till I came back and reviewed the video again, I was knitting the bottom instead of the top! That caused an AHA! The side that faces you is the outside thus if you were to “fold” the needles to show front and back it’s obvious you should knit the top needle. I realized that if you worked the bottom in purl you would actually be knitting inside out! Hope this little tip helps someone else!

  39. Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    So happy my video helped you with your sock. Let the addiction continue!!!!

  40. Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    7/4/13 I practiced the Magic cast on with heavier yarn, then started…I did fine but when I looked back at the first k row after the cast on but before the increases, I have a garter ridge at the join…after that it is fine…??

  41. Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    That is a common problem. You most likely twisted the stitches and knit into the purl side creating a garter ridge. Some knitters think if this as grippers on their toes

  42. marty
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    dear knit purl, I found the patterns for boot cuffs at etsy. it was $5 for eachpattern to download,but worth it. I have one finished and it looks good.

  43. marty
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    dear knit purl, I found the patterns for boot cuffs at etsy. it was $5 for eachpattern to download,but worth it. I have one finished and it looks good.

  44. Camille
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I’m using this cast-on for a project that calls for an odd number of stitches, as the pattern expands specifically from this initial number of stitches. Can I do so easily, and if so, what changes should I make to the process? I can’t seem to wrap my brain around the implications of doing so. Thanks for any advice you have on this.

  45. Posted October 24, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I personally would cast on an even number and then work an increase on the first round.

  46. Sylvia McCauley
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    As always…an outstanding video..I’m a true blue dpn (4) sock knitter…need to get into the 21st century…must try this method with your upcoming sock KAL April 2, 2015…Thank you!!!

  47. Posted March 5, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Delighted to have you along!

7 Trackbacks

  • By Center of Attention – Part 1 on January 3, 2011 at 9:30 am

    […] Give them a try and find out why many sock knitters prefer this method.  Watch my video, “Judy’s Magic Cast On (Starting Toe Up Socks)”, to see what all the fuss is about.  I know you are going to be hooked so make it your New […]

  • […] Knitting the basic instructions well until 2am. I realized on review however I had not followed Judy’s Toe Up Sock Magic Cast On Method and had a hole in my magic loop sock.I was not nearly as far into the sock as I thought I should be […]

  • By Cranked – Part 1 on April 1, 2011 at 7:23 am

    […] If you are new to toe-up socks join the legion of fans that prefer this method of sock knitting.  Getting started is easy when you follow my video, “Judy’s Magic Cast On”. […]

  • […] one of the most fabulous knitters to walk the planet, and the technical goddess Michelle Hunter of KnitPurl Hunter have two of the best videos I could find on the […]

  • By Repeat Performance – Part 1 on November 3, 2011 at 7:58 am

    […] this is your first toe up sock, I strongly recommend practicing Judy’s Magic Cast On with larger needles and worsted weight yarn.  Knitting techniques are simpler to master on larger […]

  • By Disappearing Act – Part 1 on February 2, 2012 at 8:59 am

    […] Act begins with simple toe up construction.  If you are new to toe up socks, watch my #1 video, “Judy’s Magic Cast On”. Before starting, you will need to decide which color to designate as Color A – the toe […]

  • By Crimple – Part 1 on January 3, 2013 at 9:01 am

    […] stage for the instep design to flow up from the tip of your toes.  The toe begins as usual with Judy’s Magic Cast On followed by one round of all knit stitches.  Then the fun begins!  As you increase for the toe, […]

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