2 x 2 Tubular Cast-On

The 2 x 2 tubular cast-on gives a very firm but stretchy edge to your knitting. It is meant for an edging that is knit 2, purl 2 ribbing.

Tubular vs. Long Tail Cast-On

Left: 2 x 2 ribbing with tubular cast-on, Right: 2 x 2 ribbing with long tail cast-on

Step 1

Start with two circular needles: the needle that gives the correct gauge for the project, and a needle one size smaller than the “gauge” needle. The needles will be held side-by-side (with the smaller needle on the bottom).

Two Needles

Here a wood and a metal needle are being used to distinguish the two. The metal needle is a US 4 and the wood needle is a US 3.

Make a slipknot and put it on the smaller needle.

Needle with Slipknot

Now wrap the yarn around both needles. Wrap under the gauge needle and then over both needles.

Making the Wraps # 1

Then continue to wrap around both needles. The number of wraps is one-half of the number of cast-on stitches.

These 10 wraps will make 20 cast-on stitches.

These 10 wraps will make 20 cast-on stitches.

Step 2

Next, knit in stockinette for a few rows across the “top” of the wraps on the gauge needle.

Identifying the Part of the Wraps to Knit

To make the knitting easier, pull the tip of the smaller needle so that only the smaller needle’s cord is holding the stitches on the bottom.

Removing Smaller Needle Tip

Now the “tops” of the wraps can be knit without the extra thickness of the smaller needle’s tip.

First Row Knit

The tops of the wraps have been knit across from left to right.

Only 3 rows of stockinette are needed for this cast-on. This swatch shows 5 rows to make it easier to see what’s going on.

There are 10 stitches on the top and 10 on the bottom. The left-most stitch on the bottom is from the slipknot, which will be dropped in the next step.

There are 10 stitches on the top and 10 on the bottom. The left-most stitch on the bottom is from the slipknot, which will be dropped in the next step.

Step 3

Pull the smaller needle’s tip back into the stitches.

Both Needles Ready

Here is where the magic happens. The stitches on the gauge needle will be the purls in the 2 x 2 ribbing. The stitches on the smaller needle will be the knits in the 2 x 2 ribbing.

Identifying Knits and Purls for Ribbing

The fabric is folded so that the purl sides face each other. The gauge needle’s stitches will be in the back and the smaller needle’s stitches in the front.

Ready to Complete Cast-On

Left: underside view, Right: top side view

Note: The setup below (p1, k2, p2, …) is for when the knitting will be joined in the round after the cast-on is complete. In other situations, like a button band, it might be more appropriate to start p2 from the gauge needle, then k2 from the smaller needle, and repeat.

Start the ribbing by purling 1 stitch from the gauge needle. Then knit 2 stitches from the smaller needle. Now purl 2 stitches from the gauge needle. Repeat the knit 2, purl 2 process until the last stitch on the gauge needle. Purl this last stitch.

After ribbing has been completed.

After ribbing has been completed.

And now the stitches can be joined to work in the round!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *