How to Do the Moebius Knitting Cast-On Like a Pro
Many of my friends have kids graduating from high school this year, so there are lots of family pictures flowing down my newsfeed on Facebook. One thing I noticed, besides the beautiful smiles on proud parents and excited kids, is that many of the gals are wearing infinity scarves. They’re so fashionable and easy to wear, and they enhance just about any outfit—from summer suits to jeans and a tee … and they can be made with an amazing knitting technique: the moebius knitting cast-on!
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 its 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 nail the cast-on and knit the first couple of rounds, it’s smooth sailing.
Cat Bordhi’s Moebius Cast-On
A Moebius requires a long circular needle. A 40″ length is ideal for hats and a 47″ length is better for larger circumferences.
Make a slipknot, leaving a 6″ tail, and place it on the circular needle, at the center of the cable. Hold the slipknot and center of cable between the thumb and first two fingers of your right hand, leaving the needle tips hanging down. Take the left needle tip in your left hand and bring it around counter-clockwise to the slipknot, making a circle (Figure 1).
Hold the left needle tip (hereafter referred to as the active needle) along with the slipknot and cable, with the needle tip in front. Leave the right needle tip hanging down and out of work. With your left hand, hold the cable several inches to the left of the slipknot and active needle, between your thumb and middle finger, and hold the ball strand comfortably between your palm and fingers. Sling the yarn over your left index finger, up and away from the cable. As you cast on, you will work into the strand that runs from the slipknot to the top of your left index finger.
Step 1: Bring the active needle forward and under the cable, over the ball strand, catching the ball strand, then back under the cable to its original position (Figure 2). One stitch is cast on; stitch is anchored under the cable.
Step 2: Bring the active needle behind and under the ball strand (Figure 3).
One stitch is cast on; stitch resembles a yarnover and is not anchored under the cable (Figure 4).
Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until you have cast on the required number of stitches. Each time you cast on two stitches onto the active needle with these steps, two matching stitches will have been cast on to the cable beneath the active needle. Count only the stitches on the active needle; do not count the stitches on the cable beneath, nor the slipknot. When you have finished, the stitches will have filled up the circle created by looping the needle around, and both needle tips will meet at the center of the cable where the slipknot was placed (Figure 5).
Holding both needle tips between your thumb and middle finger, adjust the cable so that you have two circles of the same size. Distribute the stitches evenly around the doubled cable so that the round may be worked comfortably. Make sure that the doubled cable runs parallel for the entire circumference, except for one point at the beginning where the active needle must cross the lower cable. Place a marker on the right needle.
For each round given in the pattern, work two rings.
First ring: Work to marker (marker is between needles, on the cable below the needle tips).
Second ring: Work to marker (marker is on the left needle and can be slipped to the right needle). The first time the first ring is worked, the stitches will be mounted in an alternating fashion with the front leg of the loop either behind or in front of the cable, and each stitch forms a triangle with the cable upon which it is mounted. Knit into the center of each triangle as you work the stitches. The first time the second ring is begun, the stitches will appear as though they have been purled; knit into these as well. As the work progresses, the two loops of the cable will grow further apart.
Cat has a fabulous how-to video on YouTube that shows this technique. Download the Roam Cowl today and get started on your moebius knitting adventure with this infinity scarf knitting pattern. You’ll have a ball!