Learning a new cast on and knitting in the round

My top-down raglan jumper is progressing slowly but surely. Along the way I've had to learn the 'backward loop' cast on. As you'll know if you've used this cast-on there's nothing to it:

So the 11 new stitches at each arm and 39 for the front panel took no time at all to add, and for the first time it looks like the start of a jumper.

The needle is a bit longer than recommended, so at first I pulled out an extra loop of the circular needle's cable (like Magic Loop). A friend had told me that this was a 'pain in the ass' because you have to keep pulling out that loop again as you pass it. I wouldn't have put it so strongly, but I'm not a fan of the technique. Happily having done a few rows I found that the stitches distribute themselves quite well on the length of needle I'm using without that magic loop.

With half a dozen rounds done since joining, the pattern on the front panel is starting to appear. It's quite simple to follow, and with the rest of the round being plain, I'm finding that the rounds are going really quickly.

My pattern is the Opulent Raglan from Interweave - here it is with my original swatch.

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