The Alternating Cable Cast On is a variation of the Cable Cast On. It is usually used in projects that begin with a section of ribbing.
In this case, “alternating” refers to the fact that you use both knit and purl stitches to complete this cast on so that it matches the ribbing in your project.
The Alternating Cable Cast On for 1×1 or 2×2 Ribbing
In this video, I show you how to knit the Alternating Cable Cast On for 1×1 ribbing, in both Continental and English styles of knitting. Then I go on to show you how to modify it for 2×2 ribbing.
After watching the 1×1 ribbing section of the video, you might think that you just cast on 2 knits, then 2 purls for the length of the cast on. That seems logical, but nope! It’s a bit more complicated than that. Watch this video to learn how:
Written Instructions for Modifying The Alternating Cable Cast On for 2×2 Ribbing
To Modify the Alternating Cable Cast On for 2×2 ribbing, if your last cast on stitch was a:
- Purl, then repeat this sequence across the cast on: (p1, switch 2 stitches, p1, k2)
- Knit , then repeat this sequence across the cast on: (k1, switch 2 stitches, k1, p2)
REMEMBER: When you switch the 2 stitches, the knit stitch should always cross in front of the purl stitch.
Here’s a photo of the 2×2 cast on done with the method above and one I did by casting on (k2, p2). You can see the (k2, p2) method yields a much different edge.
Tips for Knitting the Alternating Cable Cast On
- Do not pull each stitch tight until you’ve pulled up the loop for the next stitch
- If you pulled your last cast on stitch tight, it might be hard to find it because it kind of crosses over the stitch below it. Gently pick at your work until you find the stitch that’s attached to the working yarn. That will be the stitch to work into for your next cast on or for the first stitch of the first row .
- Look at where your working yarn is positioned to determine whether your next stitch should be a knit or purl. If it looks like it’s coming out of the front under 2 stitches, you just completed a purl and need to knit the next cast on stitch. If it’s only under 1 stitch, you just completed a knit and need to purl the next stitch.
- Remember, the first cast on stitch is the slip stitch, that means the first stitch you actually make is the 2nd stitch of the row or next to the last stitch of the round.
- So that the cast on behaves in the same way as your ribbing, match your cast on to your first row or round of knitting.
- When using this cast on in a project you are knitting in the round, leave an extra long tail (8-10”). Do the cast on and knit the first row flat. Then join in the round on the 2nd row. Sew the very small gap shut with your cast on tail when you finish the project.
An Alternate Choice
The Tubular Cast On is another fantastic cast on for projects that start with ribbing. I prefer it for a lot of projects, but it has more steps to remember. The two cast ons look very similar, but the Tubular Cast On is slightly neater. Here are photos of both cast ons in 2×2 ribbing. The gray is the Tubular Cast On and the pink is the Alternating Cable Cast On.
If you look closely you can see that the Tubular Cast On is a bit neater and straighter than the Alternating Cable Cast On.
A Matching Bind Off
The Tubular Bind Off matches the Alternating Cable Cast On quite nicely. It’s great for projects that end with ribbing.
Try the Alternating Cable Cast On in a Project
Daniel’s Hat uses the alternating cable cast on. It is the 2nd project in our 3-part series of Brioche knit alongs. Each knit along includes lessons to guide you step-by-step through the pattern.
If you are new to brioche or would like to see what the Knit Along Club has to offer, take advantage of our 1 month FREE Basic Brioche Headband KAL (no credit card needed – strings attached). Click here to join today!