There are a variety of ways to cast on for your knitting project. In this video, knitting expert Mary Beth Temple demonstrates how to work the backwards loop (also known as the “cursive e“) cast on.
The backwards loop cast on is a basic stretchy cast on that can be too loose for some projects. This cast on tends to leave loops along the bottom edge, which some knitters find untidy. As Mary Beth mentions, this cast on is especially useful when stitches needed to be cast on in the middle of a row, like for the underarm of a sweater.
To work the backwards loop cast on, Mary Beth begins with a slip knot on the knitting needle, leaving a yarn tail of approximately 6 inches to weave in when the project is complete. She takes the working yarn up onto her forefinger and twists it to create a loop that looks like a cursive letter e. She adds the loop to the knitting needle. Mary Beth repeats this process to add more stitches to the knitting needle. She then works a row of knitting.
As this cast on can be loose, Mary Beth suggests tugging on the yarn while casting on to make the stitches snug on the knitting needle. She also suggests that you can try working this cast on with a slightly smaller needle that what will be used for the project. Once the stitches are cast on, you can switch to the project needle to being working the pattern.