How to Knit the Circular Tubular Cast on for 2×2 Rib

The circular tubular cast on is very stretchy, beautiful, and invisible. It’s great for a hat, fingerless gloves, or other projects that begin with 2×2 rib. The steps are different than the circular tubular cast on for 1×1 rib, although those instructions are also available on the site. While there are several steps involved, they’re not difficult and I think they’re worth it for the result.

You will need the following supplies:

  • Your project yarn;
  • Your project knitting needles (in my example I’m using a long circular needle to do magic loop); use the needle size needed for the 2×2 rib section of your pattern;
  • Another circular needle that can be shorter in length but needs to be at least as long as the circumference of your project. Ideally it would have the same size needles as your long circular needle, but if you don’t have another set they can be one size smaller;
  • 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.

The following 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 short circular needles (not the ones you will ultimately use for your project), cast on half as many stitches as called for in your pattern, then chain a few stitches, cut the yarn and loosely pull through the last loop.
  • Four Rows of Stockinette: Slide your provisional stitches to the other end of the circular needles so you will be ready to knit into the end with the knot. Using your project knitting needles and project yarn, knit across the provisional cast on stitches. At the end of the row, turn your work (do not yet join in the round) and purl across. Repeat another knit row, and then another purl row. At this point you will have your provisional cast on following by four rows of stockinette; your live stitches are on the knitting needles you plan to use for your project.
  • Set Up Row: Using the smaller circular needles, pick up the stitches from the provisional cast on and remove your scrap yarn. Hold the two needles (with the knitting in between them) in your left hand with the tips of the needles to the right and the purl stitches facing up; fold the knitting in half so the purl stitches get tucked into the middle and the two knitting needles are held together. Using the other end of your project needles, two stitches off the front needle, then move the yarn to the front and purl two stitches from the back needle. This is setting up the 2×2 rib. Continue until all stitches are picked up. (This is why you cast on half as many stitches as you needed.) You should end with two purl stitches.
  • Join in the Round: This is when you place a stitch marker and join in the round.
  • Continue with 2×2 Rib: Knitting in the round, you are now starting row three on your pattern of 2×2 rib and you’re ready to knit two stitches, then purl two. Even though you’ve knit more than two rows, all of the steps above result in two rows of 2×2 rib and you’re therefore ready here for row three.

The following video shows how to do every step of the circular tubular cast on for 2×2 rib:

Want to Give it a Try?

The following projects work well with the circular tubular cast on for 2×2 rib:

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