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Thumb Cast On: Knitting Basics



This is a simple and fast way to get started on a long width project. No counting for the yarn needed, as with a long tail cast on. Just your thumb a needle and some yarn. This cast on is also sometimes known as the e loop as that is the shape of the yarn before you slide it onto the right hand needle.


What is the advantage of casting on with the Thumb Cast On method?

It creates a stretchy cast on and therefore is suitable for garments that need give e.g. sock, necklines,hat cuffs and mitt cuffs.


It's also a great way to cast on extra stitches for armholes and also doubles up as an invisible increase in sock toes or raglans. It is really simple to do in the middle of your knitting as you continue to work in the same direction.






How to Cast On?

While there is a video above the written instructions may be useful to some.


1. Start with a slip knot.

2. Place the slip knot over the needle, hold in right hand.

3. Wrap the yarn around your thumb, from behind and below to the front crossing the yarn over. (This creates an e shape in the yarn)

4. Slip the loop from your left thumb to the right needle. The working end of the yarn should be sandwiched in the middle of the new stitch and the slipknot/previous stitch.



Repeat Steps 3 & 4 until you have the desired number of stitches on your needle.


How to Increase Mid Project?

This is shown in the video above, but as always written instructions may prove helpful.


  1. Wrap the yarn around your finger, from behind and below to the front crossing the yarn over. (This creates an e shape in the yarn)

  2. Slip the loop from your left thumb to the right needle. The working end of the yarn should be sandwiched in the middle of the new stitch and the previous stitch.

I can't use my thumb is there another way?

Yes, this is the way I originally learned, which was to wrap the yarn around a finger on my left hand then twist to slip it onto the right needle. This is not as smooth a motion as for the thumb yet just as effective.


Also if you cannot use any digits you can 'simply' twist the yarn in the air to create an e shaped loop. It's not impossible but it may take some practice.


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, if so keep watching for more Knitting Basics coming along soon.