Orikaesu © Amanda Crawford
The tubular cast-off method is perfect for creating a smart, professional finish to your knitting project. It's used in knitting patterns such as the Orikaesu cardigan by Amanda Crawford in The Knitter issue 17, page 76. This particular design has an unsual back where ribbed sections are grafted together at the centre, with the remaining rib cast off using the tubular method. However, you don't need to start out with anything quite so challenging. Tubular cast-off is also ideal for toe-up socks, as well as any garment that you want to have a particularly neat edge.
1. Work your ribbing as normal until you are two rows short of the desired length.
2. Work four rows slipping all of the purl stitches with the yarn in front, and knitting all of the knit stitches.
3. Slip alternate stitches onto two double-pointed or circular needles, thus dividing the stitches into two layers. The knit stitches should be on the row closest to you, and the purls behind.
4. Graft the two layers of stitches together using Kitchener stitch as follows:
Thread a tapestry needle with a long length of yarn and pass it through the first stitch on the needle closest to you as if to purl. Pass it through the first stitch on the rear needle as if to knit. Pull gently to tighten, but not over-tighten the yarn. It is easy to tighten it later.
* Pass the needle through the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit and slip it off the needle. Pass it through the next stitch on the front needle as if to purl, but don’t slip it off. Pass the needle through the first stitch on the rear needle as if to purl and slip it off the needle. Pass it through the next stitch on the rear needle as if to knit, but don’t slip it off. Repeat from * until all stitches are joined. You can then work along the row carefully neatening and tightening up the stitches. If your cast-off edge seems a little looser than the cast-on, it may be because you have knitted more loosely in the rows where you are slipping alternate stitches. If this is a problem, then you can simply work these rows with a needle that's a size smaller. Find out how to use the tubular cast on method
About our expert
Jane Crowfoot is one of the UK’s leading knitting experts and author of the book Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters (Search Press, £9.99) Find out more about Jane at janeknits.blogspot.com and www.janiecrow.co.uk
Have you tried this technique? Let us know by posting a comment below or emailing us at TheKnitter@immediate.co.uk