Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Italian Tubular Cast-on

Last time I mentioned that I will show you a few cast-ons that are exactly the same - but done in different ways, and used for different purposes. I stumbled on this while hunting down various knitting technique videos last week. I was watching one of a cast-on and thought, Wait! that's the same thing as the Italian Tubular cast-on! Then during the week as I was pondering the wonder of all that, I realized that a certain designer's supposedly 'magical' cast-on was yet another slight variation of the exact same technique. I don't know which came first, the chicken or the egg, but you watch and see what you think.

I first found the ITCO about a year ago and immediately loved it. Like many other knitters, I really like the effect that a traditional tubular cast-on gives but find doing it very fiddly and a pain in the neck. Consequently, I was overjoyed to find a way to get the same result without all the fuss and bother. I use this whenever I am working on a project that requires a 1x1 rib (K1, P1). Socks, sleeves, sweater hems, hats... Once you give this simple and fun cast-on a try, you'll find yourself using it every chance you get.

Because my camera will only record short videos I have broken this up into two steps - the actual cast-on itself and working the first two rows are in the first video. Go grab some light-colored yarn in a weight you're comfortable with and a set of needles in the appropriate size for your yarn, and follow along with me.

The original directions I found said a couple of things that I'd like to touch on. One was that this cast-on can only be used with a even number of stitches. I've tried it with an odd number of stitches as well and found that it works just fine.

Those directions also said that you can work either 2 rows or 4 rows of the K1, slip one as if to purl wyif. I've always worked just two rows of this pattern before diving into the 1x1 rib and been happy with the result. Try it both ways and decide which you like the look of best.

Finally, the demo that I saw of this cast-on showed the knitter holding her needle between her knees while she did the cast-on with both hands. It may feel awkward to you at first, but with a tiny bit of practice it is perfectly comfortable to do this cast-on while holding the needle in your hands as you work, and I think this is far less awkward than trying to hold the needle steady between your knees.

After filming the first video, and before filming the second, I next worked about 4 rows of the 1x1 ribbing before finishing off the cast-on. You may do as many or as few of these rows as you like before taking the bottom of the cast-on apart, but do work at least a couple of rows of the ribbing before doing this next stage.

And there you have it, the Italian Tubular Cast-on.

Next time I'll show you the second of these three cast-ons.


PS- It apparently rouses the ire of the techno gods when you are smug enough to announce publicly that you have mastered any form of technology. Just so you can learn from my mistakes...

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I'm glad to have this blog to refer to for the next time I try this cast-on. Video is a great way to learn knitting techniques, since it never cares how many times I hit "play." (And look! I figured out how to leave a comment!)