Too tight? Let loose!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


It just so happens that last week I have been asked the same question a couple of times. Funny how that goes. Anyways, the question was “What to do about a too tight cast on edge?”. I have to admit, using the long-tail cast-on method it rarely happens to me that the edge is actually too tight – but there are occasions where you want to add some extra stretch, and I am going to tell you how.

I have been told often that to get a looser edge you use two needles to cast-on. Indeed, the whole shebang will be looser, though maybe not in a way you intended.


First up: What I like to call ‘regular’ cast-on with one needle.


This is a cast-on using two needles.


Have a close look at the stitches of the first row.

You can see in this picture that there is looseness indeed – though not in the cast-on edge where you wanted it but in the first row. See how the stitches of the cast on are elongated? Not a good look.To prove a point, have a look at both versions viewed from the purl side.


On the top you see the purl side of knitting done with a regular cast-on, below is the same done with a cast-on on two needles. See the gap between edge and first row? This means the whole row is loose, while the cast-on is just as tight as before.

To remedy the problem of a too tight cast-on you have to do the following:


Loose long-tail cast-on. Stitches are spaced further apart compared to the ‘regular’ version.

To get a looser cast-on edge, all you have to do is space the stitches further apart. When casting on with the long-tail method, you have two strands of yarn to work with – the end (or long tail) forms the underside of the stitches, whereas the part that leads to the yarn itself forms the stitches. This means you need a bit longer tail to make the space between the stitches larger, which takes a bit of practice but is easily done.


As you can see in this picture, the ‘regular’ cast-on on top looks exactly the same as the looser one below.

The further you space the stitches apart, the looser the cast-on will be without creating the gap that casting on with two needles would. Have a go at it and you will see it is easier than you thought to let loose!

Happy Knitting, as ever!

– Mona

2 thoughts on “Too tight? Let loose!

  1. Quinn says:

    I have always wondered why my laborious 2-needle cast-ons just looked messy and didn’t make my sock cuffs any looser!!! Thank you so much for solving this mystery :).

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