I had never really thought about new ways to cast-on at the start of a project. But then I got my Knitting Daily dose and realized there are endless ways aside from the usual long-tail technique I had gotten so comfortable with.
This technique below, called the Cable Cast-On is great because you don't have to estimate your tail length and it gives a very polished, twisted look on the edge of your project:
Begin with a slipknot and one knitted cast-on stitch if there are no established stitches. Insert right needle between first two stitches on left needle (Picture 1). Wrap yarn as if to knit. Draw yarn through to complete stitch (Picture 2) and slip this new stitch to left needle as shown (Picture 3).
Once you get this mastered, go ahead and try the cute and decorative Picot Cast-On:
1. Cast on a total of 5 stitches using the above Cable Cast-On method.
2. Bind off two stitches. (You'll have 2 stiches on the left-hand needle and 1 stitch on the right-hand needle.)
3. Slip the stitch on the right-hand needle onto the left-hand needle. (You'll have 3 stitches on the left-hand needle, with a space after the first two stitches, which is where you bound off the two stitches to make the picot. The stitch you slipped off of the right-hand needle counts as the first stitch in your next group of five.)
4. Use the cable cast-on to cast on 4 more stitches so you have 5 stitches after your last picot.
Repeat steps 2 through 5 until you have the required number of stitches cast on.
For more information on this (although you have to be a free member of Knitting Daily), visit: Picot Cast-On