How to Do the Moebius Knitting Cast-On Like a Pro
I thought I’d browse Interweave to see what sort of infinity scarf knitting patterns we have to offer, and I came upon quite a few. The one that really appealed to me was the Roam Cowl by Jennifer Dassau. It’s really an infinity scarf that you can either wear hanging in a long loop or wrapped around your neck as a cowl; it’s equally stunning worn either way.
The thing that sets Roam Cowl apart from other infinity scarf patterns is it’s beautiful drape. This is achieved with a combination of the moebius knitting design, a merino-cashmere blend sock yarn knit on size US 6 needles, and an openwork stripe pattern. Another knitting trifecta!
Moebius knitting was popularized by the amazing Cat Bordhi in her books A Treasury of Magical Knitting and A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting. It’s a wonderful knitting technique and also very addicting! You’ll love it.
I think the most difficult part of moebius knitting is getting started. After you get your yarn cast-on correctly and knit the first couple of rounds, it’s smooth sailing.
How to Do the Moebius Knitting Cast-On:
The Moebius Cast-On by Cat Bordhi
A Moebius requires a long circular needle; do not attempt it with one shorter than recommended. A 40″ length is ideal for hats and a 47″ length is better for greater circumferences.
- Make a slip knot and slide it to the middle of the cable.
- Pick up left needle with right hand and coil it around to form a ring, with the needle pointing up toward the left (you can ignore the right needle).
- Create a pivot point: with right hand, pinch needle, slip knot, and cable so they can pivot from this one point (yellow star).
- With left hand, tension yarn and pinch cable (orange star) about 4″ away from pivot point. Use left index finger to hold yarn up high (green star). The three stars form a triangle of dotted lines: the cable is the base, the yarn is the right side, and your left hand is the left side.
Start the Moebius Cast-On (MCO)
- The needle points at you, dives under the cable, stands up in the middle of the triangle, presses down on the yarn and swings back under the cable to you, bringing along the yarn (the first stitch). The needle swings from home position and back to home position like a child on a swing.
- Next, the needle swoops up over the yarn (the second stitch, which is just like a yarn-over) and is once again in home position.
- Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until you have the desired number of stitches. Count only the stitches on the needle. Each repeat of Steps 1 and 2 creates two stitches on the needle, which are counted, as well as two stitches on the cable, which are not counted. Do not count the slip knot (it is not on the needle) or those on the cable.
Get Ready to Start Knitting
- Hold needles crossed together as if about to start knitting, and tug at the cable rings to make them the same size.
- Spread cast-on stitches until beginning and end are very close.
- Check for one crossing of needle and cable by going for a “train ride” from the left needle around to the right needle, pressing cables into parallel tracks, pushing twist ahead to determine that there is only one crossing at the end.
- Place a marker on right needle. Do not skip the marker!
Knit the first ring.
The slip knot, which was on the cable, is now first in line on the left needle. Knit into it and take it off the left needle. Each remaining stitch on the left needle resembles a triangle, with the cable as its base. To knit a triangle, insert the right needle into the front (where the star is), pull a loop of yarn through as usual, then remove the triangle from the left needle. Repeat until all triangles have been knitted and the marker appears beneath the needles on the cable. You have completed the first of two rings.
The MCO looks like this: All stitches on the needle wrap in same direction. Stitches on cable alternate direction of wrap. Pivot point: Right hand pinches needle, slip knot, and cable.
Remember: Two rings of knitting = 1 Moebius round.
The triangles are now gone, and the stitches on the left needle look more familiar; in fact, they look like they were purled. Continue knitting. If the first stitch appears odd, pull the tail down towards yourself and the stitch will then behave. When the marker appears between the needles (not beneath, as before), this signals the completion of one full round (two rings). Only when the marker appears between the needles (where it could fall off) is a round complete.
When the marker appears on the cable below the needles, only the first of the two rings that make up a round is done. As you keep knitting, you’ll discover that the fabric grows between the cables, pushing them apart.
—Cat Bordhi, from Knitscene Accessories 2012
Cat has a fabulous how-to video on Youtube that shows this technique, and she explains it beautifully in her books, too. You should check them out!
Download the Roam Cowl today and get started on your moebius knitting adventure with this free infinity scarf knitting pattern. You’ll have a ball!