When I first started knitting, I used to panic about what kind of cast on method to use. Now I don't panic, but I have developed preferences and experience. Until recently, I would avoid 2 particular cast on methods: the backwards loop cast on, and the long-tail cast on.
The backward loop is called the "beginner" cast on because it's so simple, and when I first started knitting everyone told me to use this method. My problem was that by the time I knitted to the end of the first row, there was huge gap of slack between stitches at the first cast on stitch (the slipknot). So I cast on one more stitch than needed, then drop the skipknot at the end. Problem solved!
My problem with the long-tail cast on is that I either overestimate the tail length and waste too much yarn, or I underestimate and have to start the whole cast on edge over again (usually multiple times). But there's a solution to this!
I was catching up on some knitting podcasts and heard about a brilliant way to fix this problem: use both ends of the ball of yarn. I haven't found a video demonstrating this, or even much discussion online, so here's the basic theory:
1. Hold both ends as one and make a slip knot. This will be the first 2 stitches of your cast on edge.
2. Position the yarn as you normally would for long-tail cast on, with one strand around the thumb and one around the index finger. You'll want to decide whether you'll knit your item from the "inside" or "outside" yarn and put that strand around the index finger.
3. Cast on infinite stitches!
4. Snip the other strand, leaving a tail long enough to weave in.
At least I don't have to avoid these cast-on methods anymore!