Turkish Cast On

My favourite cast on for toe up socks is a Turkish Cast On. It’s as simple as winding the yarn around your needles and there’s no long tail or scrap yarn to contend with. The photo tuturial that follows walks you through it, step by step. (Heh, heh, see what I did there?)

Toe Up Sock Toe Using Turkish Cast On | Holli Yeoh

You’ll need a circular knitting needle at least 24″ (60 cm) long, but it’s easier with a 32″ (80 cm) cable. This technique may also be worked on two circular needles; however, the tutorial assumes you’re doing the Magic Loop technique with one circular needle.

Step 1:

Hands directing a knitting needle into a slipknot.

Make a slip knot leaving a 6″ (15 cm) tail and place the slip knot on one of the needles.

Step 2:

Both needles of a circular knitting needle held together with a slipknot on one of them.

Hold both tips of the needles parallel and pointing to the right, with the slip knot on the lower needle.

Step 3:

Hands holding two knitting needles together with a slipknot on the lower needle.

Wrap the yarn around the needles by first winding yarn away from yourself and behind the needles in an upward direction …

Two knitting needles held together with a slipknot of yarn on the lower needle and the yarn is wrapped around the upper needle.

… then towards yourself and down in front of the needles.

Hands holding two knitting needles together and wrapping pink yarn around them.

Wrap around needles until there are half as many wraps as the number of cast-on sts required, not counting the initial slip knot. (16 stitches have been cast on in this photo.)

Step 4:

Two hands manipulating pink yarn that's wrapped around two knitting needles.

Hold the working yarn at the back with the left hand, making sure it completes the full wrap around the lower needle/cable. This works for both English and Continental methods.

Step 5:

Two hands manipulating pink yarn that's wrapped around two knitting needles.

Yarn wrapped around two knitting needles with an arrow showing the direction to pull the lower needle.

Pull the lower circular needle through the stitches until the wraps rest on the cable part of the needle so the end can dangle free.

Step 6:

Pink yarn wrapped around a circular needle and its cable in the left hand with the other needle held in the right hand.

Knit across the top needle.

Step 7:

A small number of stitches on a needle with the cable part of the needle holding loops below the stitches; big yellow curved arrows showing the direction to turn the knitting.

After all the sts on the first needle are worked, rotate the needles so the stitches to be worked are now above those just worked and the working yarn is hanging on the right side.

#proknittip Remember, you’re working in the round and you always want the knit stitches (the right side) facing you.

This is what the RS (right side) looks like.   ↓

A row of pink stitches on a needle and loops/stitchs on the cable part of the needle.

Don’t turn your knitting around like at the end of a row because then the purl pumps will be facing you.

This is what the WS (wrong side) looks like. See the little purl bumps?   ↓

The purl bumps showing the wrong side of the Turkish cast on and a big red circle with a cross through it.

Step 8:

Loops of pink yarn around the cable of a circular needle and yellow arrows showing the direction to push/pull the needles.

Slide the needle tip out of the lower stitches until they’re resting on the cable and adjust the upper stitches so they are ready on the needle tip …

Half way through the Turkish cast on with stitches on the needle and a finger pushing a slip knot off the end of the needle.

… and drop the slip knot off the end of the top needle.

Step 9:

A knitter's hands holding the yarn in the English manner, with two needles crossed and in the same stitch.

With yarn in back, knit the second half of the stitches of the first round.

A circular needle with a tiny bit of knitting consisting of the cast one plus one round of knitting.

One round completed. Both needles must be worked to complete one full round.


Don’t worry if it looks like a flat rectangle for the first few rounds; you’re not doing anything wrong. This is what it looks like after three full rounds. ↓ I’ve increased at each end of each needle in the second round.

The first three rounds of a toe-up sock looking like a flat rectangle.

After a few more rounds it will look like the beginning of a toe. ↓

The beginning of a knitted toe on a needle and its cable behind held by two hands.

And here’s a little peak inside. ↓

A hand holding the knitted toe of a sock, still on the a circular needle.

Now that you know how to do a Turkish Cast On, I bet you need a pattern that uses it! Grab my Tip Toe Up pattern. It’s a toe up sock workshop in a pattern with lots of great techniques.

Tip Toe Up socks knitting pattern for babies, kids and adults designed by Holli Yeoh