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Circular Tubular Cast On Awesomeness!

2010 May 25
by ltkmama

Have any of you been searching for the perfect tubular cast on?  One that can be worked in the round, without the tightness of the “cast on half” methods.  One that actually looks great, has great stretch, and doesn’t require starting on straights and then seaming up that little bit once your join the round?  I know I have! I like the Italian tubular cast on, which this one is obviously very similar to, but I always despised that half the stitches were mounted wrong and needed to be knit through the back loop.  I also really wanted to be able to join the round immediately and not do that wee bit of fiddly stitching. So, since I haven’t been able to knit for a while, getting this cast on just right i’s all I’ve been thinking about.  I’ve been imagiknitting it in my head for days, but never quite getting it right.  This morning, the pieces all came together and the needles in my head clicked.  I was so excited, I actually took off the wrist immobilizer and risked the pain to try it out.

Verdict?  Wrist didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would, and the cast on rocks.  Totally worth the twinge!  Check it out and decide for yourself (I suggest watching the video first before trying to wade through the written directions.  This is definitely a “read a hundred times and still not get it; watch it once and know it forever” kind of things!)

For your wordy learners, here’s the written directions!

  • Make a slip knot, with long tail (roughly equal to the tail length if you were doing a regular long-tail cast on) and place it on your circular needle with the working yarn (attached to ball) over left index finger, tail hanging between index and middle finger. This yarn will be called the “index yarn”
  • Place the long tail yarn over your thumb, with tail hanging on outside of thumb. This yarn will be called the “thumb yarn”
  • With yarn positioned as outlined, hold both tails loosely at the base of the palm with the remaining three fingers of the left hand.  Hold the working needle with the right hand. This is your “base position”

Step 1
Bringing ndl clockwise over the index yarn, under both, and up counterclockwise to catch the thumb yarn (forming a loop over the ndl with the thumb yarn), then under the index yarn counterclockwise, return to base position
(one “purl” stitch made)

Step 2
bring ndl counterclockwise under the thumb yarn, and then clockwise over the index yarn (forming a loop over the needle with the index yarn), then counterclockwise around the thumb yarn, returning to base position
(one “knit” stitch made)

Repeat these two steps until the desired number of stitches is cast on, ending with a “purl” stitch (step 1) The slip knot will be a knit stitch.

If working in the round, carefully stretch the cast on around your circular needle, being sure that it isn’t twisted.
Place a marker to note the beginning of the round and work as follows:

Rnd 1: *knit 1, bring yarn forward, slip one st, bring yarn back, repeat from * to end of rnd.(check once again at the end of this rnd to be sure that your work isn’t twisted around the ndl; if it is you can untwist it now, letting the twist fall between the needles into the yarn from the join.  Once you knit the first stitch of the second round, the twist will be set and there’s no way to fix it except for ripping out!)
Rnd 2: *bring yarn back, slip one st, bring yarn forward, purl 1, repeat from * to end of rnd.

If you plan to continue with a 1 x 1 ribbing, the cast on is complete at this point.  If you wish to continue with a 2 x 2 ribbing, work the following round:

Rnd 3: *knit 1, right twist (knit second stitch on ndl, purl first stitch, and then remove both), purl 1, repeat from * to end of rnd.  Your 2 x 2 ribbing is now established, and you may continue in your pattern.

That’s it!  It’s really a lot easier than these complicated instructions make it sound.  Watch the video a few times, and I’ll bet you’ll be hunting down projects to use your nifty circular tubular cast on!

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. Carol Baker Melançon permalink
    September 5, 2010

    Love the imagiknitting! Thanks so much for working this out, and the helpful video. (Isn’t technology wonderful, I can’t imagine learning this from a book.) I refuse to knit flat if at all possible (the only item I’ve ever made flat is a scarf) so I really appreciate you sharing your method.

    [Reply]

  2. Knarly permalink
    October 14, 2010

    I’m a fairly new knitter so maybe this is a silly question… But can I use this method to knit on straights, too?

    [Reply]

    ltkmama Reply:

    Yes, you can :) You’d obviously not join the stitches into a round, and on the second row you’d knit the stitches that were slipped in row 1, and slip (with the yarn in the front) the stitches that were knitted in row 1. (to help you differentiate which are which, the perviously slipped stitches will look like elongated knit stitches, and the previous knitted stitches will look like purls)

    [Reply]

  3. Chloé permalink
    January 3, 2011

    Thank you so much for figuring this out and sharing it with us! I used this cast on on a beret I just finished and the cast on edge looks great (which is probably a first for me) :)

    [Reply]

  4. Tina permalink
    January 5, 2011

    I’ve been using this method for at least the last 15 years. I saw it in a Japanese knitting book when I got back into knitting during my twenties. I think the part that took the most getting used to was slipping the last purl stitch at the end of the first round then slipping the knit stitch at the beginning of the second round. Doing this still ‘feels’ wrong to me but the results are fabulous.

    [Reply]

  5. Aislinn permalink
    February 8, 2012

    Can’t wait to try it. can this be used for more than two rounds? ie 4 rounds?

    [Reply]

  6. November 5, 2012

    Thank you so much. This was very helpful. Do you have the cast off available too?
    Nancy recently posted..links for 2011-04-08

    [Reply]

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