I discovered this cast-on in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac when I was originally learning how to make a Pi Shawl. It's extremely useful & is very similar to the crocheted Magic Ring Cast-On that is often used to make stuffed crochet animals. This cast-on is essentially a loop that you crochet stitches around so that you can tighten the center as much as you like before weaving in the ends of your project. This gives a beautiful closed center to your project without having a gaping hole or an awkward puckering that distort's your fabric.
Note: This technique uses some crochet terminology. I've tried to explain it clearly but if you would like further clarification, Planet June has wonderful tutorials for both right and left-handed crochet.
Double pointed knitting needles (DPNs) appropriate for your yarn
Crochet hook appropriate for your yarn
Featured Yarn in this Tutorial
T & H Fiber Works Bling Sock Yarn in It Fell Like Lightning Out Of A Clear Blue Sky (Fingering-weight)
Emily Ocker's Circular Cast-On Tutorial:
Step 1: Using your working yarn, make a loop & pinch where the yarn crosses itself. Let the tail hang down. (This will be referred to as the main loop.)
Step 2: Insert your crochet hook from front to back through the main loop.
Step 3: Using the crochet hook, pull a loop of yarn through the main loop (as if making a chain).
Step 4: Pull a second loop of yarn through the loop that you've just made. (Again, like making a chain.)
Step 5: Keeping the stitch you've just created on your crochet hook, repeat Steps 3 & 4 until you have the required amount of stitches on your hook.
Step 6: Distribute these stitches over 3-4 DPNs and follow pattern as instructed.
Step 7: It's now safe to tighten your center by tugging on the beginning tail. Continue following your pattern as instructed.
Try It Out!
It's best to put a new technique into practice right away so that you can remember it in the future. Here are some of my patterns that feature a center-out construction: