cast on with tappet tool
basic techniques,  machine knitting

Casting On: Using a Tappet Tool

Casting on with a tappet tool is often called a crochet cast on (although no crochet hook is used). The tappet tool is also known as a latch tool, so you may find this cast on method sometimes called latch tool cast on.

The tappet tool comes in four different sizes corresponding to your machine; fine gauge, standard gauge, mid-gauge and chunky.

The tappet tool is one of the tools that comes with a Knitmaster (Silver Reed/Singer) knitting machine, but if yours did not then you should be able to get one online from your favourite machine knitting resources. (you can find some resources in my online resources post). Andee Knits usually has all four different sizes in stock.

I found a couple of videos of this cast on method that you might like to watch here and here.

This tappet tool cast on gives a nice chain edge and matches with the tappet tool cast off.

  • Pro: This method produces a sturdy chain edge to your garment and can be quick once you have got the knack of twisting the tool between the needles.
  • Con: Not good if you need a stretchy cast on.


I like to start with my needles in hold position.

move needles into hold or d position
move needles into hold or d position

Decide how many needles you want to cast on and push these towards you into hold position (d position) with the flat edge of your needle pusher. Also take the yarn out of the mast tension dial so that it is easy to pull as you cast on.

slip knot on tappet tool
slip knot on tappet tool

Create a slip knot and put this on your tappet tool and push the tool up so that the loop lies below the latch.

Decide which way you want to cast on. I am right-handed and I prefer to go from left to right. If you are left-handed you may want to try going from right to left.

Take the yarn out of the mast tension unit so that it runs loosely.

starting cast on
starting cast on

Hold the yarn (from the mast) and the yarn tail in your left hand and slide the tappet tool up between first and second needles on the left.

grab yarn
grab yarn into hook

Whilst holding the yarn tail, slightly twist the tool to the left to wind the main yarn around the hook.

pull yarn through loop
pull yarn through loop

Twist the tool to the right again and pull down so that the yarn is pulled through the loop. It can be tricky to work out how to hold it (especially when holding a camera as well!).

create chain
create chain across the needles

Move tool in between needles and keep going until you have created a chain over all the needles, except the last one. Keep practising the slight twists and the movement in and out of the needles. Also practice how loose or tight you need to be as you cast off. It takes time to get it right.

put loop onto last needle
put loop onto last needle

When you get to the last needle, just put the loop on the tool onto the needle to finish the cast on. Move the yarn under the needle and then insert into the gate of your knitting carriage (usually in the sinker plate).

Now push the cast-on chain back to the sinker posts whilst keeping the needles in hold position. You can use your left hand or the straight edge of 1 x 1 needle pusher to keep the needles forward.

Switch on your row counter and set your carriage for knitting (and patterning if you are doing this) and you can start knitting. Make sure your carriage is set up to knit needles in hold (see operation manual). The first row might be difficult to knit. Go slowly and carefully. If you have weaving brushes in your carriage use these as it will make it easier to knit. If not then keep putting the needles into hold position for each of the first few rows.

Adding Weights
add weights
add weights

You should knit a few rows before adding weights so that the weights do not damage the bottom of your carriage. Four rows is the minimum you should knit, although I like to do 6 rows.

Put on your weights and then switch off the weaving brushes and knit as normal.

Nice Edge
latch tool cast on edge
latch tool cast on edge

This cast on creates a nice neat edge with a fairly even chain effect.

latch tool cast on and cast off
latch tool cast on and cast off

The tappet tool cast on is a good match for the tappet tool cast off method which I will show in the next post.

Enjoy practising this cast on method and see if you like it.

Happy Knitting!


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