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How to Knit the Estonian Cast On

Sometimes known as the Latvian Cast On, this method is perfect for stretchy edges!

Updated March 28, 2019
How to Knit the Estonian Cast On

The Estonian Cast On method is a variation on the longtail cast on in which every other stitch is cast on for a knit stitch, and every other stitch is cast on for a purl stitch. This makes it a very stretchy cast on that works best for 1x1 or 2x2 ribbing. Lovers of the longtail cast on will find this method easy to get the hang of, since it only involves a couple of small shifts in the thumb position and yarn scooping every other stitch. We highly recommend this cast on method for anything with a ribbed edge, such as a hat, sweaters, or top-down socks.

Step 1: Leave a Long Tail

Like with the longtail cast on, you will need to leave approximately one stitch's worth of length for each stitch that you plan on casting on.

Estonian Cast On Step 1

Step 2: Position Your Yarn for First Cast On

Get your yarn in the same starting position as for the longtail cast on. The first stitch you cast on will be identical to the longtail cast on. To do this, suspend the ball end of the yarn up with your index finger, and pull the tail end of your yarn up with your thumb in a scooping motion to create an "x" with the yarn. Since we didn't make a slip knot in this tutorial, it may help you to visualize by pulling the yarn between your thumb and forefinger toward you.

Estonian Cast On Step 2

Step 3: Cast On the First Stitch

Using the longtail method, cast on your first stitch. To do this, insert your yarn into the loop created by your thumb and pull out a loop from the ball end of the yarn. Pull on ends to tighten.

Estonian Cast On Step 3

Step 4: Position Your Yarn for Second Cast On

Rather than scoop the yarn back up with your thumb like you would for the longtail cast on, insert your thumb through the other side of your yarn and pull down a "u"-shaped loop. This time, you will not create an "x" with your yarn.

Estonian Cast On Step 4

Step 5: Cast On the Second Stitch

Insert your needle underneath the lefthand leg of your "u," and scoop a loop from the ball yarn on your forefinger through the loop between your thumb and your needle. Pull to tighten. This time, you will have cast on a stitch with a length of yarn grouping this stitch and the first stitch you cast on.

Estonian Cast On Step 5
Estonian Cast On Step 5B

Step 6: Repeat Steps 2-5

Repeat steps 2-5 until you have the number of stitches cast on that the pattern calls for. This method works best when an even number is cast on to accommodate 1x1 or 2x2 purling, but if you prefer to use a slip knot, for the first set of two stitches, create a slip knot and skip down to steps 4-5.

Estonian Cast On Step 6
Estonian Cast On Step 6B
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