Get 25% off patterns in the Fasten Off Sale with the code FO2020

Estonian Cast-On

Also known as the Alternating Cast-On, German Cast-On and Latvian Cast-On, this is a cast-on with a lot of names! I love it for anything that needs stretch – fingerless mitts, cuff-down socks, hats, or anything else!

This is a long-tail cast-on, so try to ensure you have left enough of a yarn tail for the stitches you need!

A left hand with yarn wrapped around it. The yarn starts between the ring and little finger, crosses the palm, wraps behind the thumb and index finger, then crosses the palm in front of the middle and ring fingers before finishing where it started.
1. Start by holding the yarn around your thumb and index finger. The ball end should be round the thumb and the yarn tail round the index finger.
A knitting needle with a twist of yarn that comes from the strand between the thumb and index finger.
2. Take the needle from the back of the hand under the yarn between your thumb and index finger and twist it through 180°.
The knitting needle is lifting the strand of yarn that runs from the ring finger to the thumb on it's tip.
3. Take the needle tip under the yarn on your thumb.
The knitting needle now has two strands of yarn from the previous steps and is catching the strand of yarn that runs from the needle to the index finger
4. Next take the needle over, then under the yarn on your index finger.
The strand of yarn from step 4 has been pulled through the gap and now sits on the needle as a stich.
5. Bring the needle back through the thumb loop.
The stitch that has just been formed is being pulled tight.
6. Drop the yarn from your thumb and tighten the stitch.
The knitting needle is ready for a new stitch. The yarn now runs from the knitting needle around the back of the thumb to the ring finger.
7. Pick up the yarn with your thumb, but this time it should go round the opposite way.
The needle tip lifts the yarn that rubs between the ring finger and thumb
8. Take the needle tip under the yarn on your thumb.
The knitting needle catches the yarn running from the knitting needle to the index finger
9. Next take the needle over, then under the yarn on your index finger.
The new stitch has been formed by being pulled through the loops made in the previous steps.
10. Bring the needle back through the thumb loop, then drop the yarn from your thumb and tighten the stitch.
A cast-on on a needle with stitches arranged in pairs with a horizontal band of yarn wrapped around them.
Pick up the yarn as in step 2 and work from step 3 to 10 repeating until you have the required number of stitches. The stitches should be arranged neatly in pairs.
Skip to content