Tubular Cast On Tutorial (for working flat)

The Tubular Cast On is a magical little CO that is nice and stretchy, and blends oh so beautifully into 1×1 ribbing. It is great for starting top-down socks, bottom-up sleeves, hats, and anywhere you need a stretchy edge for ribbing.

finished look1


My upcoming release, Jodi’s Sweater, calls for the Tubular CO on the bottom of the back panel. I’ve added this photo tutorial to the back of the pattern for those that might need a little visual help, and I thought I’d share it with you too.

It starts off with scrap yarn and a regular CO (I use long tail) that will be pulled out later. This initial CO creates your knit stitches, and then you will increase by creating the purl stitches. A few rows of slipping and working alternate sts will magically lock everything into place and then you’ll be able to remove the scrap yarn without the whole thing unravelling. See, I said it was magic!

What you’ll need: Scrap yarn, needles required from the pattern for ribbing (or a even a size smaller).

You’ll also need to calculate the number of initial CO sts. Take the number of required sts for the pattern (must be an odd number), subtract 1, divide by 2 (this will give you an even number), and add 1 back on (odd number). For example, my sweater calls for casting on 149 sts, so I will initially CO 75 with my scrap yarn (149-1 = 148, 148 / 2 = 74, 74 + 1 = 75). This will be your initial CO number. If your pattern calls for an even number of sts you could initially CO half the required sts plus 1, then decrease that extra st at a later point.

Abbreviations: CO – Cast On;  K – knit;  M1PL – Make a left-leaning purl stitch by picking up the bar between the next stitch and the previous stitch from front to back, and purling it through the back loop;  RS – Right Side;  sl – slip stitch purlwise;  st(s) – stitch(es);  WS – Wrong Side;  wyif – with yarn in front.


With scrap yarn, and using your favourite cast on, CO your initial CO number.

waste yarn CO

Now switch to the pattern yarn.

Purl 1 row.

Purl 1st row

Increase Row (RS): {K1, M1PL} to last stitch, K1. [you will now have the number of sts called for in the pattern]

Increase Row

Row 3 (WS): {sl1 wyif, K1} to last stitch, sl1 wyif.

After 2 rows of slipping

Row 4 (RS): {K1, sl1 wyif} to last st, K1.

Row 5: Repeat Row 3.

And you’re done! Continue on to the pattern as written. The scrap yarn can be removed at any point after this and the stitches will not unravel.

Have fun with your new CO technique, it’s my favourite!

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