This is a great cast-on! It gives a great professional result that’s both stretchy and looks superb. Please give it a try on Brioche knitting and 1×1 ribbing! It’s more-complicated but it’s truly not hard with our step-by-step pictures. And your knitting deserves it!
2 colors of yarn – one dark (DC) and one light (LC)
Setup 1: Knot the 2 colors together with a slip knot, leaving a 6” tail to weave in later. This knot will NOT be part of the knitting, so I suggest that you don’t tighten the knot a lot because you want to be able to take this knot out later.
Setup 2: Put the knot on the needle.
Setup 3: Hold the yarns in a sling shot, just like you would do for a long-tail cast on. The LC should be the bottom yarn that goes around your thumb.
The yarn that’s over your index finger will become knit stitches and the yarn over your thumb will become purl stitches (when viewed on the RS). You may want to swap the colors depending on your project.
There are A LOT of steps here but that’s so we’re super-clear with what you need to do. Once you get a rhythm going, it actually grows very quickly! And given that you always need to alternate the two colors, you can easily tell if you’ve done anything wrong. Meaning – it’s a great way to learn the Italian Cast On!
Tip 1: Hold the cast on stitches with your thumb and always make sure they’re pointing up with the twisted bits at the bottom. You want to avoid it rotating around the needle like it will try to do.
Tip 2: Even if you need to work in the round, work a few rows flat and THEN join in the round. If you have a lot of stitches, it will be VERY HARD to avoid a twist with this cast on.
Cast on an LC
Note that I use my index finger to stop the yarn from twisting around the needle. I highly suggest you do this because this cast-on has a tendency to wind around the needle.
Step 1: Rotate the needle under DC…
Step 2: Under LC…
Step 3: Grab the LC…
Step 4: Go under the DC again
Step 5: Put needle in starting position. One stitch is cast on (a LC stitch).
Cast On a DC
Step 6: Rotate the needle under the LC…
Step 7: Go over the DC and grab it…
Step 8: Go under the LC again.
Step 9: Put needle in starting position. One stitch is cast on (a DC stitch).
Continue in this fashion, repeating all 9 steps.
When you’re almost done
When you need 2 stitches more…
Repeat a final set of steps 1-5. This will mean that you’ll have an odd number of stitches and that both the start and end will be an LC stitch. Remember, that knot at the beginning DOES NOT COUNT.
One more stitch to go
Finally, cast on one last stitch with the long tail cast on in DC. This final stitch will lock the stitches so they don’t unravel. There are other tricks as well, but this is my favorite because it DOESN’T BUDGE.
Here we have 8 stitches cast on. Remember that the slip knot with both yarns DOES NOT COUNT. So, if you just look quickly, you might think you have 10 stitches cast on, but it’s really only 8 plus that funky slip knot that’ll be slipped off the end.
Make It Your Own
There are several customization options as well:
- Do it all in just a single color. You could knot 2 strands of the same color.
- Swap the order of the colors. Just remember that wherever I say DC to think “LC” and wherever I say LC to think “DC”.
- These instructions result in an even number of stitches. If you need an odd number, don’t repeat the final steps 1-5. DO NOT skip that final long-tail cast on though. You really need that to lock the stitches in place. Believe me, it would be A TON more difficult if you didn’t do that.
- Use it for a regular 1×1 ribbing (use a single color).
- Remember, if you need it to be in-the-round, work a few rows and THEN join. Do this because it will be VERY difficult to avoid a twist. This cast-on is VERY twisty.
Practice makes perfect
I definitely suggest you give this a try with some scrap yarn first. It would be better if you did use both a light color and a dark color so you can see them alternating on your needle. This way, you’ll know quickly if you’re doing something wrong.
About the Instructor: Jody Richards
Jody loves poring over stitch dictionaries and trying out new stitches. And while she likes all things crafting (well ok, except that one thing), yarn crafts are her true love (and she has the stash to prove it).
She’s a serial starter-of-projects and has a serious problem with finishing things without a deadline.
And don’t get her talking about hand-dyed yarns. You’ve been warned.