Moebius bowls

Midweek Masterclass: Moebius Knitting – part 1

This interesting seamless cast-on, explained by Jane Crowfoot, can be used to create knitted objects with rounded shapes such as the felted baskets from The Knitter issue 3.

13th April 2016

A Moebius loop or strip is the formal name of the mathematical phenomenon consisting of a single surface and a single boundary edge that can be recreated in 3D knitting. The discovery of the Moebius loop is attributed to the German mathematician of the same name, but it was Elizabeth Zimmermann who first realised that she could use her circular knitting needles and her yarn to recreate it in a knitted physical representation.

To describe the appearance of a Moebius knitted piece isn’t easy. about the only way to do it is to imagine a tube of circular knitting with a deliberate twist in it. You can recreate it by cutting a strip of paper that is significantly longer than it is wide, giving one end a half-twist, then taping the ends together to form a loop.

The technique looks pretty complicated and takes quite a few step-by-step instructions, but once you start you will be surprised (as I was) at just how easy it is.


The key is to make sure that you have the correct knitting needles and a stitch marker to slip over the knitting needle.

You will need to source circular needles with a long connecting cable. I worked with a pair of 100cm needles, but if you can source some that are a little longer then you’ll make life easier for yourself.

It may be a good idea to steam the cable area of the needles to stop them from twisting too much.

Casting on

Step 1 Place a slip knot on the left needle and push it down onto the wire. Position your needles as shown below.

Moebius step 1

Hold the knot and the yarn in the following way: keeping the needle in the right hand, pinch the slip knot with your right hand’s middle finger and thumb. Pinch the cable area of the needle with your left hand and lead the yarn over towards your left and over your left index finger – you may feel the need to hold the tension of the yarn in your left hand by wrapping the yarn around your little finger also.

This will be relatively easy if you either knit using the continental method or know how to crochet, but might be a little more tricky if you’re used to knitting using just the right hand.

Step 2 Bring the tip of the right needle towards you and then away from you, passing it under the cable area of the circular needle as you do so.

Moebius step 2

Step 3 Take the needle over the top of the yarn which is held in your left hand, thus positioning the needle behind the yarn.

Moebius step 3

Step 4 Bring the needle back towards you catching the yarn as you do so and bringing it forward under the cable area of the circular needles.

Moebius step 4

You will see that you have one loop of yarn now sitting over the tip of the right knitting needle. This loop forms your first stitch.

Step 5 To make the subsequent stitch, repeat the same movement of the needle tip, but this time take it over the top of the connecting cable, catching the yarn and bringing it forward as you bring the needle back towards you. You will now have two loops on your right needle, and thus two stitches.

Moebius step 5

Step 6 Repeat from the start of step 2 until you have the correct number of stitches. You will find that you need to push the stitches around the needle in small groups as you make your stitches.

Try to spread them out evenly – this will help you achieve an even tension.

Moebius step 6

Counting the stitches

The cast-on is created by wrapping the yarn around both the cable area of the circular needle and the needle tip. You will see that this means you have stitches on two areas of the circular needle and that the cable has formed a loop.

Every stitch on one part of the needle has a corresponding stitch on the other part, so it’s probably best that you think of the stitches as pairs. You will see that you have one predominant stitch and one smaller one sitting below it on the other part of the circular needle – this is a pair.

Do not count the slip knot as a stitch.

In part two we examine how you can put the twist into your Moebius knitting.

The third post in this masterclass series covers knitting your first round.

The fourth post in this masterclass series will introduce how you can go about adding things onto your Moebius knitting.

The final post in this masterclass series on Moebius knitting will take you through adding an i-Cord edging to your Moebius knitting.

If you enjoyed this, you can find all our Masterclass tutorials right here.

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The Knitter issue 90 cover