One of my favorite cast-on techniques for small items where the edge will be seen is a crochet cast-on. It creates a flexible, sturdy edge that looks exactly like a traditional bind-off. After watching some friends, I realized that I do it a little differently than other people.
Above: crochet cast-on edge
Below: traditional bind-off edge
See how similar they are?
You can watch the video …
… or read through the photo tutorial.
Step #1: Make a slip knot and put it on your crochet hook (the hook should be about the same size as your needle).
Step #2: Hold the knitting needle below and parallel to the crochet hook, making sure to have the working yarn behind the needle.
Step #3: Wrap the working yarn around both the needle and the crochet hook (under and in front, over and behind)
Step #4: Pinch the yarn and knitting needle with your left hand; use your right hand to pull a loop through with the crochet hook.
Result: one st on needle, one loop on crochet hook, one loop of edge created
Continue: Wrap yarn around both needle and hook, then pull a loop through
Result: two stitches on needle, one loop on hook, two loops of edge created
Continue in this manner until you are one stitch short of the total needed (N-1) on your needle. Slip the loop on the crochet hook to the needle — this is the final stitch.