Visit http://knitfreedom.com/brioche to watch the entire video course and get more great tips to help you learn how to knit brioche.
The Italian cast-on makes a stretchy invisible edge that blends perfectly into 1×1 ribbing. The trick is the stitches that are used in the cast-on.
With a normal long-tail cast-on, the stitches that go on the needle are knit stitches, with a chain of stitches around the bottom to hold them together.
With the Italian cast-on, you actually cast on a knit stitch and then a purl stitch (I show you how in the video), thereby avoiding any line or separation when you start ribbing.
The trouble is, even though the Italian cast-on makes a perfect edge for ribbing, it's not very sturdy on its own. It's just one strand of yarn, like the backwards-loop cast-on.
So in order to make a gorgeous edge, the Italian cast-on needs reinforcement.
To Protect The Cast-On Edge, Add Tubular Set-Up Rows
For whatever reason, that's what they're called, and they are the perfect partner for the Italian cast-on. They add sturdiness and strength to the edge by creating a reinforcement of alternately slipped and knitted stitches.
Know how when you slip a stitch, the working yarn makes a little ladder across the back of the stitch?
On projects like Fair-Isle sweaters, the unused colors "float" across the back of the work, adding strength and warmth.
When we use that same technique on the Italian cast-on, the little floats pull the knitting together while the slipped stitches reinforce the columns of the ribbing and make the knit stitches stand out.
Use This Cast-On For Projects With Worsted to Bulky Yarn
Anytime you have a project that starts with highly-visible ribbing, you can add a nice edge using the Italian cast-on.
I especially recommend it for projects using bulky yarn, like my bulky-weight mitten pattern.
The reason for that is, the thicker the yarn, the more visible the cast-on edge.
Tip: Brioche projects are a great opportunity to use the Italian cast-on.
Brioche knitting is just ribbing at heart, only stretchier, so you do need to use a special cast-on like this one to make sure that the edge doesn't look funny.
In the video, I use a bulky-weight yarn to demonstrate the technique. You can see what the edge is supposed to look like and how nice it looks, especially on thicker yarns.
Tubular Set-Up Written Instructions: Cast on an even number of stitches using the Italian cast-on. Turn work.
Row 1: K1, sl 1 wyif, move yarn to back. Repeat across row. P last 2 sts together. Turn.
Row 2: K1, sl 1 wyif, move yarn to back. Repeat across row. P last st.
● sl 1 wyif — slip 1 with yarn in front
Are you going to try this technique out? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
See photos and read the blog post here:
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