To begin a “Long Tail” Cast on, you begin with a slip knot again (see slip knot cast on for slip knot instructions) but you will begin the knot farther down. A trick for this is to take your yarn and wrap it around your needle the same number of times as you would need stitches. So if you need/want 16 stitches for your project, take the yarn, wrap it around one needle 16 times, and pinch the yarn where the last wrap ends. Make a slip knot in that spot. This time, when your knot is finished it will look like an upside down V or U. Take your index finger and thumb and make either an L shape or a gun shape with your left hand. Place your thumb and index finger in the V/U shape the yarn made and grab the strings that will hang down with your remaining fingers. You don’t want the strings loose, but you don’t have to make them so tight that your struggling to make the loops.
Take your needle in your right hand, and with your needle grab the yarn at the outside of your thumb (the spot closest to your wrist, not your index finger) and then with the yarn still on your thumb and the needle, grab the yarn from your index finger as well.
You will use your needle to push the yarn from your index finger through the yarn from your thumb (you may or may not have noticed, but the one from your thumb made its own loop…). You have just made a new loop. Repeat this step until you have the number of stitches you want. I don’t suggest this for doing certain patterns (like single rib, or double rib) as it will knit the first row of your pattern for you. But it makes you look like you are an awesome knitter!
See the video below for visual step by step instructions.