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.
Mary Beth Temple uses what brand of circular wooden needles with flexible cables? Desperate for name. Enjoy everything that you share. Maralyn 🤗
I used to use this but found the stitches were hard to keep on and were very loose. However I will use it again because I always liked it.
I find that my cast on, using the thumb and index finger comes out a little tight so I have used a larger needle, but my cast off is always way looser.
Beautifully demonstrated, nice clear explanation
when adding stitches for underarm of sleeve, does using a smaller needle for the cast on help eliminate or at least decrease holes under the arm?
Hi Grace. It may help a little bit. Depending on the pattern, you might find it helpful to pick up an extra stitch or two between the cast on and the actual sleeve and then decrease those stitches away in subsequent rounds.
The Knitting Circle
Ticket 38032 Would I be able to use a mohair or angora with a smaller needle for one of the shawls ?
Hi Dorothy! Our experts responded with the following:
Sure! Your shawl will come out smaller that the dimensions given in the pattern though from using a smaller needle with thinner yarn. Many shawls have patterns repeats that can be worked additional times to make the shawl a larger size if you like.