a comparison of cast ons

I started the second of my Anemoi mittens last week. Unfortunately I had failed to make any notes on the pattern, which meant that I had totally forgotten which cast on I had used. This mattered, as the cast on edge is particularly decorative, with an attractive corded edge.

I ended up going through Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook trying out method after method before re-discovering which one I had used. Incidentally, if  you don’t have this book, I can highly recommend it, if only for the thirty pages of cast on and cast off methods illustrated there.

However, if you don’t have this book, there are some really excellent online tutorials available.

I thought it might be useful to compare a few methods of tubular cast ons, and to include links to some of these tutorials. So, here goes!

Note: As Rose Red quite rightly pointed out in her comment, these samples do look pretty similar. So I have highlighted the ways in which they are different from each other, which is easier to see and feel in person.

1. Italian Tubular Cast On

This is in fact the method that I used for my mittens. It gives the corded edge you can see in the photo above, which is decorative but quite noticable. If you prefer a more unobtrusive cast on, this one might not be the best one to use.

There is a tutorial for this method on Fluffbuff’s website.

Here’s how the edge looks:

2. Long Tail Cast On

I have used this method a number of times. It produces an edge that is very stretchy, and fits in well with 1×1 ribbing. In doing this comparison I have realised that the edging is less neat than the Stocking Stitch method below. It is quicker though, and its stretchiness would make it ideal for socks.

There is a tutorial for this method on Ysolda’s website, and she also demonstrates how to modify the method for 2×2 ribbing.

Here’s how the edge looks:

3. Stocking Stitch Tubular Cast On

This cast on definitely results in the neatest edge of all the methods compared here, but it also takes the longest time to make. It also requires the use of waste yarn. It is slightly firmer than the Long Tail method, and I think it would look really good on the ribbing on a sweater.

There is a tutorial for this method on My Fashionable Life’s website.

Here’s how the edge looks:

4. Alternate Cable Cast On

This one is a bit of a cheat; it is not actually a tubular cast on, but it produces a similar effect. It is quicker to make than all of the other methods here, so would be a good one to go for if you want to save time.

There is a tutorial for this method on Knittinghelp.com (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Here’s how the edge looks:

I hope that was helpful!

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