Some knitting patterns require you to perform the long-tail cast-on purlwise. This is usually done to change the visual appearance of the garment edge on the RS. For example, Alana Dakos’ Autumn Vines Beret requires you to cast-on both knitwise and purlwise so that the cast-on edge lines up perfectly with the stitch pattern.
First, let’s look at the long-tail cast-on. If you use this method to cast-on, you have probably noticed that there is a smooth, braided edge that is more suitable for Stockinette stitch and a bumpy (purl) edge that is more suitable for the purl stitch. So, if you are knitting something in reverse Stockinette stitch, it may be useful for the purl edge to be showing on the RS of the garment vs. the smooth edge. It’s completely up to the knitter which side of the cast-on is showing but it’s important to know how to work the cast-on knitwise and purlwise to meet the intended aesthetic of the designer or knitter.
To work the long-tail cast-on purlwise, do the following:
- Hold the yarn as if you are working the regular (knitwise) long-tail cast-on.
- Wrap the needle around the outer strand on the index finger and pull it through the middle of the loop from bottom to top.
- Next, bring the needle over the top of the inner strand on the thumb (the strand closest to the index finger). Swoop the needle under this strand and grab it from below (the strand of yarn will be over the top of the needle).
- Pull this strand through the loop on the index finger and tighten. This creates the purl stitch.
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