How to knit the old Norwegian cast-on

This cast-on is the more elastic variation of the longtail cast-on. The old Norwegian cast-on is suitable for socks and other pieces that need a very stretchy edge. After years of using the longtail cast-on as my default cast-on, I discovered the Old Norwegian and it became my new best friend. I love the extra elasticity it adds – without losing any neatness.


The Old Norwegian cast-on is also called as the twisted German or elastic longtail cast-on.

This cast-on creates a very elastic and neat edge. It is good for any stitch pattern and project, cuffs of socks, mittens, gloves and hats.

How to knit the old Norwegian cast-on

  1. Make a slip knot, leaving a long tail. Place it on a needle and hold yarn in the slingshot position.
  2. Insert the needle tip under both strands of the tail yarn on your thumb.
  3. Come over the top and down into the thumb loop, coming out underneath the strand that is in front of your thumb.
  4. Bend your left thumb toward the index finger and reach over the top of the strand on your index finger. The loop on your thumb now has an X in it.
  5. Bring the needle tip through the bottom half of the X (nearest the needle), grab the index finger yarn to make your new stitch, drop the thumb loop and tighten the stitch.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for the desired number of stitches.

Beginning to knit

As with the long-tail cast-on, this technique creates the first row of knitting with the cast-on. This means that for stockinette fabric, your first row will be a purl row.

Knitting patterns to try out this new technique

Cape Carnival
Cape Carnival
Misty Cliffs
Misty Cliffs

2 Responses

  1. Sarah
    | Reply

    Hi Sabrina,
    Do you use the same size needles as your project, or do you use one size larger? Or both, depending on how elastic the specific yarn is? I like this cast-on for top-down socks and always have this question each time I start.

    • donnarossa
      | Reply

      Hi Sarah,
      I use the same needle size I use for the ribbing. That means, if the pattern says something like use the needle size x, I use needle size x as well for the old Norwegian cast-on.

      I hope that helps.

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