How to Knit the Circular Tubular Cast On for 1×1 Rib

The circular tubular cast on used when knitting in the round (also called the tubular cast on or invisible cast on) is a very beautiful and extremely stretchy cast on. It almost looks like your knitting starts from thin air as the stitches roll seamlessness from the outside to the inside of your project. This cast on is great for starting a glove or hat. The particular variation in this post sets you up to do 1×1 rib. It’s possible to knit a tubular cast on that prepares the knitter for 2×2 rib, but that’s in a separate post.

Admittedly, there are a lot of steps to this cast on; you essentially knit six rows in order to end up with two rows of 1×1 rib, although I think it’s absolutely worth it.  For me, about halfway through I’m sometimes unsure if it’s going to come together, but it always does and turns out beautifully.

You’ll need the followings supplies:

  • Your project yarn;
  • Your project knitting needles (in the example in this video, I’m making a hat and using 16” circular needles; rib stitch is typically knit with needles 2-3 sizes smaller than you will use for your main pattern, and I’m using size 3 needles in the video);
  • One knitting needle several sizes larger than you need for your project (I used a size 10 straight needle);
  • Scissors;
  • A small amount of smooth scrap yarn in a contrasting color;
  • A crochet hook (any size will work; if you don’t have one, I suggest size G); and
  • One stitch marker. 

These are the steps, which are demonstrated in the video below:

  • Provisional Cast On: Tie a knot at the end of your scrap yarn, then an inch or so above that tie a slip knot and place it over the crochet hook. Chain a few stitches. Using the knitting needle that’s several sizes larger than your project needle and the provisional cast on method, cast on half as many stitches as your pattern calls for, chain a few stitches, cut the yarn and loosely pull through the last loop.  My pattern calls for 88 cast on stitches, so I started with 44 provisional cast on stitches.  
  • Set Up Row: Using your project yarn and needle, K1, yarn over, repeat all the way across. As you transition from the set up row to row 1, you’ll need to join the project into a loop. Remember to make sure your stitches aren’t twisted, do the final yarn over, add the stitch marker, then knit the first stitch of row 1.
  • Row 1: K1, move the yarn to the front and slip one (insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle as if to purl and slide over to the right needle.) In other words, you’ll knit every stitch you knit in the previous row and slip every yarn over (remembering to hold the yarn in the front.) Repeat all the way across.
  • Row 2: Move the yarn to the back and slip one (insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle as if to purl and slide over to the right needle), then move the yarn to the front and purl the next stitch. Repeat all the way across. You will be slipping the stitches you knit in Row 1 and purling the stitches you had previously slipped.
  • Row 3: Repeat Row 1.
  • Row 4: Repeat Row 2.  
  • Remove the Scrap Yarn: Start with the tail end that does not have a knot at the very end. Untie the knot at the first chain and pull gently until you can remove all the scrap yarn.  At the other end, you may need to untie the first slip knot and then pull the yarn completely from your work.  
  • Continue with 1×1 Rib: You’ve now completed two rows of 1×1 rib stitch and are ready to K1, P1 across.  

The following video shows how to do every step of the tubular cast on in the round for 1×1 rib:

Want to Give it a Try?

The following projects would work well with this cast on:

6 thoughts on “How to Knit the Circular Tubular Cast On for 1×1 Rib

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