Mitten Question

I’m having trouble with the thumb opening of a mitten pattern, and I wonder if anyone can help. These are the directions:

Divide for Thumb Opening:
K2, place the next 13 sts on a holder, cast on 3 sts, knit to end of round.

My problem is that after putting the 13 stitches on a holder, I can’t seem to cast on 3 more without creating a long strand of yarn across those 13. I took this to a yarn shop and the guy working there couldn’t help either. What am I doing wrong?

Thank you for any advice!

Do you mean there’s a long strand between what you’ve cast on and the stitches you originally had?

If so, try to cast on as close to the original stitches as possible.

Oh, wait, you’re not casting-on on the opposite side of the mitten are you?

Yes–what’s happening is I’ve knit 2 stitches, which are now on the right needle. Then I’ve put the next 13 onto a holder, and I’m trying to cast 3 more onto the left needle (which I assumed I would then knit, or is this where I’m messing up?). Right now, I’m trying to cover all the ground taken up by those 13 stitiches, but there are so many of them that I can’t get close enough to the left needle when I cast on.

What if you knit across those 13 stitches and then put them on the holder. The yarn would be in the right place to cast on the 3. I’d do a backward loop cast on on the right needle and then finish the round.

Does that make sense with what you’ve got in front of you?

OR, since the 13 are supposed to be the thumb, then you could knit the 2, put the 13 on a piece of yarn, cast on the three and bringing the cast on stitches right next to the 2 that you knit. This would make the thumb stitches close in a circle. Is that clear in any way?

That’s a good idea to try using yarn instead of a holder–it would allow those 13 sts to curve around, closing up the hole. Thank you so much!!