Get the Perfect Edge: Tubular Cast-ons Part 2
Last week, in Get the Perfect Edge: Tubular Cast-ons, Part 1, we looked at working a tubular cast-on using the folded method. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll make swatches using a yarnover technique to achieve virtually the same result as the folded method, and then we’ll use make-ones to get a similar, but slightly different, effect.
Note: To calculate the initial number of chain stitches to place on the needle for both the yarnover and make-one methods, add one to the final number of working-yarn stitches desired (an odd number) and divide that number by two.
Tubular Cast-on for K1, P1 Rib
The Yarnover Method (odd number of sts)
With a double-pointed needle, and calculating the chain-stitch count as described above, work a chain onto the needle as for working the chain-edge provisional cast-on (see Glossary), but instead of knitting one row with working yarn to complete the cast-on, work that row as directed in the set-up row below.
Set-up row K1, *yo, k1; rep from * to end (see photo below).
Row 1 (RS) *K1, sl 1 pwise wyf; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 2 (WS) *Sl 1 pwise wyf, k1; rep from * to last st, sl 1 pwise wyf.
The cast-on is now complete and the waste yarn chain can safely be removed by unzipping the chain and sliding out the straightened strand.
The stitches are now set up perfectly for k1, p1 rib. But before proceeding, extend the “tube” (as we did in Part 1) by repeating Rows 1 and 2 three more times so that you can really see the structure of the cast-on. If you’re familiar with double knitting, you might recognize what is happening: two layers of stockinette-stitch fabric are forming, back to back, with the right side of each layer facing out. From the needle, you can follow the knitted face down to the cast-on edge, around the edge, and back up the other side to the needle. Now work six rows in k1, p1 rib and bind off all stitches (for the swatch).
To see how this cast-on works, consider how a strand of yarn traverses a row of knitting. In any row of knitting, the tops of the stitches (shown in light red) sit on the needle, and the valleys between the stitches (shown in dark red) are secured, either by the stitches of the preceding row or by the cast-on row.
In the set-up row of the yarnover method, the valleys between the stitches are elongated (by working the yarnovers) and brought up and onto the needle.
After the set-up row, the tops of the stitches are worked on right-side rows and the yarnovers (the elongated valleys) are slipped; on wrongside rows, the yarnovers are worked and the tops are slipped.
Compare the swatch for the yarnover method to the swatch for k1, p1 rib using the folded method from Part 1. In the earlier swatch, because the stockinette-stitch fabric was knitted flat and then folded, there is an opening at the selvedges that does not occur in the yarnover version. Other than that, the two techniques achieve the same end result. You might find that one is a little looser or stretchier than the other, but the stitch structure is the same.
The make-one method is similar to the yarnover method, but it produces a slightly different result in that it adds a subtle texture to the edge. Versions of this technique have appeared several times in Interweave Knits patterns and have been popularized by Brooklyn Tweed. The Brooklyn Tweed methods often include a selvedge stitch, and the valley between the first two stitches is not worked in pattern; instead, it is secured by picking it up and working it together (as a k2tog or ssk) with the adjacent stitch. Doing so allows for two stitches without a make-one between them at each edge. The method I’ve shown here omits the selvedge stitches for simplicity.
Tubular Cast-on for K1, P1 Rib
The Make-One Method (odd number of sts)
With a double-pointed needle, and calculating the chain-stitch count as described in the second paragraph, work a chain onto the needle as for working the chain-edge provisional cast-on and knit 1 row with working yarn to complete the cast-on, as directed. Then work as follows:
Set-up row (RS) K1, *insert left needle from front to back under strand between needles (photo 1) and purl it (photo 2), k1; rep from * to end.
Row 1 (WS) Sl 1 pwise wyf, *k1, sl 1 pwise wyf; rep from * to end.
Row 2 (RS) K1, *sl 1 pwise wyf, k1; rep from * to end.
(At this point, the waste yarn can safely be removed.) Rep Rows 1 and 2 two more times, then work Row 1 once more. Work in k1, p1 rib for 6 rows. BO all sts (for swatch).
As a point of comparison, examine the foundation rows of the yarnover and make-one tubular cast-ons. In each, the yarnover or make-one row was knitted in light gray. In the yarnover version (top), the lighter yarn snakes up and down following the classic hills and valleys of a knitted row. In the make-one version (bottom), the light gray yarn crisscrosses with the dark gray as it moves from hill to valley, creating a little bead in the foundation row.
Next week, in the final installment in this series, we’ll look at one more way to work a tubular cast-on.
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