Lesson 1: Open Cast On

Starting to use your new flat bed knitting machine can be quite daunting. My biggest fear was about breaking the machine. Being very complicated and heavy, the knitting machine has very delicate and fragile parts. It took me a long time to even think about approaching it until I found some courage and started to learn. My Blue Cat supported me throughout the entire process 🙂

The first lesson of the Blue Cat Tutorial is dedicated to the simplest cast on. This is a step-by-step tutorial with photos. You can skip the detailed description and jump to Blue Cat Summary for Open Cast On. If you want to see a bullet-point reference.

But first thing first. Let’s thread the yarn through the machine. The yarn is threaded as described in my Knitking Compuknit IV User Manual. Confusing at first, the process quickly becomes very familiar. Once you have done it a few times, you will remember how to do it.

Threading the yarn diagram

I threaded the yarn following the instructions and adjusted the tension for this yarn.

Yarn tension unit

Yarn tension unit is loaded. Doesn’t it look elegant?

Now, that the yarn is ready, let’s move some needles in a B-position and run the carriage across the needles a couple times to align the needles.

Needles in B-position with the carriage on the left.


Another angle showing the working needles in B-position.

The next step is to move alternating needles back to position A. The carriage can be either on the right or left. I moved the carriage to the right before shifting the alternate needles.

A 1/1 needle pusher is used to push every other needle back into A-position.

Blue Cat is holding the needle pusher to demonstrate how it moves the needles.

1/1 needle pusher is used to move the alternating needles back to A-position.

The picture below shows the selected needles in A and B positions.

Position A is a holding place for the needles. The needles in this position (in the back) will not be involved in the knitting. B-position is the a working position.

After the needles are set, the yarn is threaded through the yarn feeder A of the carriage.

The carriage is prepared for knitting.

With the yarn in the feeder, move the carriage to the left of the working needles. As a result, the working needles (in B-position) should have the yarn wrapped around them as shown in photo below.

The yarn is hoked on the needles in B-position. The alternating needles are still in A-position.

This is what it looks like at a different angle.

Now, we use a cast-on comb to add tension to the loops.

Cast-on comb

We chose a cast-on comb that is long enough to secure the number of loops, but not too long.

Short cast-on comb will be used for this small project.

Hook the cast-on comb over the loops and pull it down lightly.

Cast-on comb is attached to the loops.

Make sure that the working yarn connected to the carriage (on the left) is not attached to the cast-on comb.

The working yarn on the left is free.

You should be able to pull the working yarn forward.

There is one more step to take before the machine is prepared for knitting. Now, we need to use the flat side of the needle pusher to return the needles in A-position back to position B.

All working needles are in B-position now. We are ready to move the carriage from left to right.

Move the carriage to the right clearing the knitting before you move it back in the other direction. You will hear a click sound at the end of the row.

The carriage is on the right. The first row is created.


The first row is made with the carriage on the right side.

Now, we are ready to knit our project. Move the carriage back and forth making sure that the carriage clears the rows. But don’t move the carriage too far passed the knitting.

A few rows are knitted. The wrong side of the project is facing toward you. When the project is finished, we can remove the project from the knitting machine. To do that, we need to remove the yarn from the yarn feeder A by pushing the yarn feeder lever to the left and moving the yarn downward. The empty carriage is then pushed across the work. Make sure that you hold the cast-on comb as you move the carriage across. Otherwise, the work will fall.

The carriage is empty. The work is ready to be removed from the machine.


The work and the carriage from a different angle. The carriage is ready to move to the left and disconnect the work.

Blue Cat Summary: Open Cast On

1. Thread the yarn through the tension unit.

2. Adjust the tension in the tension unit and the carriage for the type of yarn you are using. Refer to your manual for guidance.

3. Move working needles in B-position.

4. Test the machine by running the carriage back and forth a couple times.

5. Using 1/1 needle pusher, move alternating needles to A-position.

6. Thread the yarn through yarn feeder A of the carriage.

7. Move the carriage from right to left until you hear a click.

8. Attach cast-on comb to the loops. Weights can be added as well.

9. Push the needles in A-position to B-position using the flat side of the needle pusher.

10. Move the carriage from left to right. Continue knitting the project.

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