What Yarn to Use?
Well that's easy! Use Knit Knerd's Hand Dyed Yarn. [End commercial here.]
German Twisted Cast-On
This is a fabulous stretchy cast-on, and just about as easy as the Long Tail Cast-On.
You can do one-stop shopping here, with a video and written tutorial: New Stitch a Day Tutorial.
I like Craftsy Tutorial (but I'm partial to written tutorials - scrolling ahead is faster than fast-forwarding a video).
I-Cord Bind off
This is an excellent trick for your bag of them. I love the way an i-cord bind-off looks, especially in finer yarns. I am including a written and video tutorial. The written instructor uses ssk and the video instructor uses k2tbl – you can decide which you prefer. I used ssk and think it looks pretty snazzy. For a 2-stitch i-cord, you'll have to adjust the tutorials.
Let me know in the comments if there are other techniques you want help with! And most of all, Happy Knitting!