Caveat: this post may be most relevant for a North American audience. I’ve heard that the traditional bread clip has fallen out of use in Europe because it is not easily recyclable.
My favorite cast-on method is the long tail cast-on. It’s stretchy and sturdy and, well, it’s what I’ve always used. Sure, there are lots of fancy dancy cast-on methods out there, some of which I’ve used in specific projects for specific purposes. But my tried and true method is the long tail.
For those of you who have used the long tail method before, you know there is one main drawback to this cast-on technique: you have to guesstimate the length you need BEFORE you begin, and it doesn’t always work out perfectly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to the last 4 stitches of my cast on, run out of yarn, and had to start over again. And then sometimes you have the opposite problem, in which you OVER estimate and are left with – haha – a LONG TAIL hanging off your knitting. I know some knitters trim this tail, but I tend to leave it long. You never know when you might need that extra bit of yarn for finishing work! Still, it is very irritating to have that long tail of yarn getting tangled up in your needles left and right.
Enter the unpresuming bread clip.
How many of these little babies have you thrown away in the last year? We find them on all sorts of packages, from English muffins to hamburger buns. Well, throw away no more! These little pieces of plastic are so useful for keeping that long tail nice and neat!
This is how I do it: I begin wrapping close to the needle.
I continue wrapping until I have just a short tail left.
Then I tuck that tail behind one of the wraps, and pull snug.
There you have it! A nice, free way to keep your long tail tidy until it’s time to weave in ends.
But wait! The bread clip isn’t done yet! If you’ve ever done intarsia work, you know that bobbins are a necessity for keeping small amounts of each color wrapped up and ready for use in different sections of your work. Where to get these bobbins? You guessed it.
As long as you are working with small amounts of yarn, you can use bread clips (especially the longer style clip, which holds more yarn) in place of bobbins. It is easy to wind and unwind the yarn from the clips. The only difference from the long tail instructions is that you should begin wrapping the yarn around the clip at the END of the tail, furthest away from your work. This way it will unwind easily nearest your knitting.
Start saving those bread clips, thrifty knitters! And ship some extras to your friends in Europe!