Ask Patty: Tubular Stockinette Hem
As is often the case here in Patty’s mailbox land, knitting questions seem to travel in packs. Last month’s Ask Patty covered how to get a painless, twist-free long-tail tubular cast-on, and this month a brand-new tubular question sends me back to the swatching drawing board.
Totally (stockinette) tubular.
I used the tubular cast-on for the last two sweaters I knit for myself and I really like the method. Can the cast-on be done in stockinette? I’m not really a fan of ribbing at the bottom of my sweaters and would rather have a hem.
Love your teaching style and all the “whys.” It really helps me learn something new if I understand why as well as how.
Hmmm. That’s a good one. Of course, I could suggest a folded hem, where you cast on the total number of stitches needed, knit a few rows, fold it, and either seam it later or work each stitch together with the cast on loop. But that’s not what you asked. You want a true tubular cast-on that could go into stockinette.
That’s a tricky request. To get that rounded edge, you are in fact working a double-thick fabric for a few rows before you get into rib. This looks fine since the ribbing itself is a thicker fabric. (See the why here.) But stockinette is a much flatter fabric. But since “no” would not make for a very satisfying column, I thought I’d give it a shot.
There are several ways to get to the tubular cast-on. I tried working off of scrap yarn and, off the Italian cast-on (from last month), and neither looked great. Then I said to myself “Self, what about Judy’s Magic Cast-on? Can we trick it?”
It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty nice. Here’s a picture of the finished product:
You can see it has the rounded edge at the bottom, and then sort of oozes into stockinette.
Here’s the trick in a nutshell:
1) Start by casting on half the total number of stitches needed on each needle using Judy’s Magic Cast-on (and if you’re not familiar with Judy’s Magic Cast-on, I demonstrate it in the video below). If you needed 50 stitches, you’d have 25 on each needle.
2) Knit one full row on each needle. This is usually when you fold the cast-on edge and, using a separate needle, take one knit from the front, a purl from the back, etc., and get into your rib. But here’s the cheat …
3) Turn the top needle around so the wrong side (purl bumps) are facing you, and knit one row.
4) Turn your work so the single row of purl is facing you.
Tuck your bottom needle in and fold your work so the two needles are next to each other. Notice that you have purls facing you from both needles:
5) With a separate project needle, you will slip one stitch from the front needle and one stitch from the back needle.
All your stitches are now sitting on your project needle with the working yarn to the right.
6) Slide your work to the other side of the needle. Work across the row by purling a stitch and slipping a stitch with yarn in front.
And you’re done, from there you’ll go into your stockinette.
Yes, of course there’s a video. Have you just met me?
Is it real? Is an Impossible Burger a burger? I don’t know. But give them both a try and see what you think.