One of my favorite recently learned knitting tips comes from Colleen Borodkin who works at The Net Loft, here in Cordova. When she’s guesstimating how much yarn to spool out for a long-tail cast on, she uses her shoulder width as a guide: 20 stitches per shoulder length. So if you needed 100 stitches, you’d pull off 5 shoulder-widths of yarn. It’s a measuring stick that’s always with you! It works for me too, and works best with worsted weight yarn, bulkier yarn needs more inches per stitch, so add a few extra lengths to compensate.

Of course, if you’re casting on for a giant project you may want to use both ends of your ball instead of a tail—take the two ends and tie them together, then make your slip knot or just a loop. Since you’re pulling from both ends, you’ll never run out or have too much. Just cut the outside edge before you start knitting. That becomes your tail.

This morning I met with my new contract crocheter–she’s a new but very talented crocheter and she worked up one project for me already, and we’re starting on another. I’m so excited to have someone in town to work with, it means I can design a lot more. We have had torrential rain and gale force winds the last few days and everyone is sick of it. The rain has let up at least for the moment, so I’m headed outside!

How long is your tail?