Nov 18, 2015

Tutorial: Italian Tubular Cast on

Today I'm going to show you my current project that I am working on (besides some Christmas gifts of course :) ) and I will also give you a photo tutorial on the absolutely great Italian Tubular Cast On!

Let's start with what I am knitting right now, because I took on a huge project. Well, at least for me it is. I thought a little challenge for the end of the year would be nice.

So, what I am knitting now is a bottom-up cardigan with some stranded work. I'm using a Drops pattern for this and will change quite a few things to learn as much new techniques and things as possible and to make it extra interesting! :) And of course I want to share everything with you along the way.

The pattern I'm using is called Winter Fantasy by Drops Design and is available for free here.

As you can see from the picture above, the pattern only calls for two different colors. But when looking up this pattern on Ravelry you immediately see all those absolutely pretty and gorgeous very colorful versions and adaptions of this pattern. This design encouraged so much color-creativity! It's overwhelming!
Also the design is still so very popular, since its release in 2009! That's so great! :)

Infected by all those colors and stunning FOs, I may went a little overboard and chose 4 different colors for my version of the Winter Fantasy pattern.

These are my colors. The main color is the ice blue, the main contrast color will be natural and to spice things up, I added some dark marine blue and lavender.

The yarn is Drops Cotton Merino. Yes, you guessed it, also from the Merino sale that I already told you about :) It's just so soft... although I now have come to know that superwash treated yarn is not the best choice for stranded projects.  But by then it was already too late :)

This is how far I've come for now. Like I said I'm knitting bottom up. At this point I'm going to add two pockets. (also something I've never done before :) but this will be the next step)

I'm already too far now, but in the meantime I was thinking maybe I should have knitted the cardigan from top down. A lot of people on Ravelry wrote that they have knitted it that way and it worked just fine. I mean the main thing changing would be doing increases instead of decreases in the yoke. Sounds not too hard. Maybe next time.

What you can see as well in the picture above is that I am knitting the cardigan in the round because I intend to steek it later. OH SCARRY!! I know, it's scarry for everyone who has never steeked before and so it is for me as well! This is also an idea I got from browsing through Ravelry FOs. And I thought it's a very good one! (You don't have to strand purl stiches!) And it's definately perfect to add to my challenge because I get to learn steeking :)
While looking at it now... I could have started knitting in the round after the ribbing. This would have saved me some yarn and maybe a little bit of steeking time later. Hm, but that's not too bad. Maybe I should have read even more before starting. But learning by doing things is the best way anyway in my opinion!

But the coolest thing so far is the Italian Tubular Cast On that I've used!
I only knew and used the "normal" tubular cast on where you provisionally cast on half of your stiches, knit a few rows and then fold the thing over and gather the stiches alternately from front and back to get your total number of stiches.
But this version doesn't need a provisional cast on, scrap yarn or complicated gathering of stiches. That's what makes it so exciting! And that's also why I want to show you how to make the Italian Tubular Cast On! 

What all the tubular cast on methods have in common is, of course, the great "invisible cast on look" they give you and they are very stretchy which is just perfect for the ribbing. 

Tutorial - Italian Tubular Cast On

It is easier to start with straight needles rather than  circulars. This way the stiches don't twist that easily and you're able to see better what's going on.

First you are going to longtail cast on knit and purl stiches. So, make sure to have a long enough tail.

Bring your yarn and needle in standard starting position. This means wrap the yarn over thumb and index finger and place the neddle in the middle while holding the yarn. (you can also make a slip knot if you prefer)

Now start by taking the needle under the front strand of yarn, ...

... and over the one in the back, grabbing a loop there.

Bring the needle with the loop again to the front.

Congratulations! You've casted on a knit stich! :)

Can you see how it really looks like a knit stich?

Now bring your needle to the back and under both strands of yarn.

Then come up again in the front and bring the needle over the front strand of yarn.

Then bring the needle down and under the yarn in the back, making a second loop.

Now you've casted on a purl stich! See!? :)

Now repeat points 2 to 8 until you have casted on your total number of stiches.

For the tutorial I only casted on 12 stiches to show you.

Ok, the last stich (which should be a purl stich if you started casting on with a knit stich and usually have an even number of stiches to cast on) will be kind of loose, so I like to put it off the needle and do a backward loop instead.
(but you can also keep the last stich as it is and hold the yarn from longtail down to secure it when starting the next row, like in the picture below)

Ok, turn your work and start with the first row.
Knit the first stich. (because the last stich that was casted on was a purl stich, it now needs to be knitted)

The next is to be purled, but you do not actually purl this stich.
Instead bring the yarn in front of the needle, ...

... and slip the stich purlwise with the yarn in front.

Then it looks like in the picture to the left.
Knit the next stich, then slip purlwise with yarn in front and so on until the last stich.

Knit stiches are knitted, purl stiches are  slipped with yarn in front. Easy! ;)

The last stich on this row is then purled together with the first loop you had on the needle from cast on (or the slip knot if you made one).
This is not a stich, that's why it needs to go - by purling it together with the last actual stich.

This is how your first row should look like.
Now knit a second row in this manner. (knit the knit stiches and slip the purl stiches with yarn in front)

After the second row you can already see the pretty "invisible" cast on you made.

When these two rows are finished, you successfully did the Italian Tubular Cast On. :)

Now you can start to knit the k1, p1 ribbing like you normally do. If you want to knit in the round, now would be the perfect time to join.

This is how it looks after continuing in normal 1x1 ribbing for a few rows.

As you can see, it's not that complicated. Definately my new favorite way to do a tubular cast on!
I hope you like this technique tutorial!

Have a great week everyone!

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