You know how a knit 1, purl 1 rib is nice and stretchy except for that taut line along the cast on edge? The Long Tail Tubular Cast On is designed to fix that problem! Once you try this cast on, you will appreciate how magical it is. The technique is surprisingly simple and very similar to the traditional long tail cast on, but it creates a beautiful, elastic edge, perfect for hats, socks, cuffs or anywhere you need a little give! We used this cast on technique in our Classic Cuffed Hat project.

Notes

  • If you are an especially tight knitter, try this cast on using a needle 1 or 2 sizes larger than the needle you will use for the ribbing.
  • Regardless of your knitting tension, it is much easier to see and count the stitches if you use a straight needle for this cast on. After completing the cast on and the first 2 foundation rows, you may change to the needles you will use for the ribbing.

Long Tail Tubular Cast On | Purl Soho

The Long Tail Tubular Cast On begins exactly like a regular Long Tail Cast On: Pull a length of yarn 3 or 4 times the width of what you will knit. Tie a slipknot. Thread the slipknot onto the needle. Holding the needle in your right hand, grasp the yarn and the tail with your left hand, exactly as you would for a Long Tail Cast On.

Long Tail Tubular Cast On | Purl Soho

From back to front in a towards-you motion, dip the needle under the yarn coming off your left index finger.

Long Tail Tubular Cast On | Purl Soho

From front to back in an away-from-you motion, grab the yarn coming off your thumb and make a loop by bringing the needle under the yarn coming off your index finger.

Long Tail Tubular Cast On | Purl Soho

Gently pull to take up the slack. This is the first cast-on stitch, and it is a purl stitch. You can tell it is a purl stitch because of the small bump below the stitch.

Now you will make a knit stitch.

Long Tail Tubular Cast On | Purl Soho

From front to back in an away-from-you motion, grab the yarn coming off your thumb.

Long Tail Tubular Cast On | Purl Soho

From back to front in a towards-you motion, grab the yarn coming off your index finger and make a loop by bringing the needle under the yarn coming off your thumb.

Long Tail Tubular Cast On | Purl Soho

Gently pull to take up the slack. The stitch you just cast on is a knit stitch. You can tell it is a knit stitch because it doesn’t have a bump below it.

Repeat the above steps, making alternating purl and knit stitches, until you have cast on the correct number of stitches. Don’t join to work in the round just yet, instead turn the work.

Long Tail Tubular Cast On | Purl Soho

To secure the last cast on stitch, twist the tail around the working yarn once or twice.

Now you will work two foundation rows.

The first foundation row is done like this: For every knit stitch, knit 1 through the back loop. For every purl stitch, slip 1 with yarn in front.

The first row will be:

Row 1: *Knit 1 through the back loop, slip one with yarn in front, repeat from * to end of row.

(If you cast on an odd number of stitches, the first row will end with a knit 1 through the back loop.)

The second foundation row is done like this: For every knit stitch, knit 1. For every purl stitch, slip 1 with yarn in front.

The second row will be:

Row 2: *Knit 1, slip 1 with yarn in front, repeat from * to end of row.

(If you cast on an odd number of stitches, the second row will end with a knit 1.)

Long Tail Tubular Cast On | Purl Soho

If you are working in the round…

Transfer all stitches to the circular needle you will use for the ribbing. With the working yarn needle in your right hand, place a marker on the right needle and join to work in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

If you are working flat (i.e. turning the work after every row)…

Turn the work and continue to work in regular k1, p1 rib.

At the end…

When you weave in the ends, use the tail to sew together the two sides of the cast on edge.