I love learning just the right technique for a given purpose. When I need to cast on for a sock, I’m always worried about whether the top will stretch enough. Same thing for cuffs for mittens.
When I first started knitting, I quickly learned the hard way that the standard long-tail cast-on tended to be too inelastic for the cuffs, especially on socks, even if I casted on loosely, and even if I went up a needle size or two.
I recently started a new pair of cuff-down socks. The cuff is a 2x ribbing. I’ve come to love the Rolled-Edge cast-on as described in Cap Sease’s fantastic Cast On, Bind Off book. It starts with a few rounds of waste yarn, then a row of a strong yarn in another color. I used some white sock yarn I had on hand, and then a row of smooth pink cotton which you can see just below the green ribbing:
When the waste yarn was removed, I was rewarded with a lovely ribbed top that stretches like mad:
I next casted on for a pair of mittens. The Cast On book has a variation of the Rolled Edge cast-on that’s for 1x ribbing. I love the way it looks and how stretchy it is.
This photo shows one mitten with the waste yarn and the ribbing just started and the other mitten with the waste yarn removed. Isn’t the cuff lovely? I’m very happy with this technique.
Once in a while, if I’m in a bit of a rush or the ribbing doesn’t have to be quite as stretchy as the rolled-edge one, I’ll cast on in the ribbing pattern using the long-tail knit and purl method. Here’s my video of the technique if you want to give it a try:
What is your favorite cast-on for cuffs? Please leave a comment with your recommendation. I’d love to try some new techniques!
If you’d like to explore more cast-on ideas, you might like to visit Helen Griffin’s wonderful web page which not only lists a variety of cast-ons, but also links many of them to videos. It’s a fantastic collection, compiled by a very talented and experienced knitter.