Purl Long Tail Cast-On

I love this counterpart to the regular long tail cast-on. It’s so simple to work them in combination and cast on anything in ribbing! The long tail cast on actually casts on and makes the first row of knit stitches (which is why you purl the first row when starting in St st.) To start with a seamless 2 x 2 rib, for example, you would cast on 2 sts in the usual method, then 2 in this purl variation, then 2 in regular knit, etc. I used this technique in my Zombies Need Not Apply pulse warmers in the April ’06 issue of Magknits. It works particularly well there where the cast on and bind off rows are so close to each other, thus more noticeable if different.
This technique is also perfect for casting on for double knit fabrics. Alternating between knit and purl sets up the stitches so every other one is facing in the opposite direction.
I had more success in illustrating this with a simplified drawing than photographs. With so much going on visually I decided to indicate the movement of the needle with a green arrow.

Step 1
To make a purl cast on stitch start by holding the yarn in the usual manner. Pick up the strand of yarn on the index finger farthest away from you by coming from behind it.

Step 2
Move the needle towards the strand on the far side of the thumb and go under it coming from behind to catch it on the needle.

Step 3
Pull the needle back towards the index finger pulling the yarn through the loop around the index finger. Slip loop off index finger and tighten the stitch.

You can view comparison swatches of this method in my post here (FO: Chunky Newsboy Cap).

Leave a comment ?


  1. Sounds like a great idea! But I need more time to digest and see if I can do it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This seems to be the European version of casting on, at least the one I’ve been learning at school many years ago. In the meantime I tried other cast ons, but none of them seemed as effective and good to me as this version. It’s great to see that you’re enjoying it also, and with your great tutorial perhaps others will get into it as well!

  3. Very handy indeed!! I never really thought about casting on differently for ribbing but it makes perfect sense that you would! Thank you very much for the tutorial!

  4. I’ve got to try this! Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. One sock pattern I used suggested this cast on for the ribbed cuff. It worked well. I really should use it more often.

  6. Great job on the drawings. I’ll have to give this a try.

  7. Thank you for the excellent illustrations! This is such a useful cast on, especially when casting on for ribbing. I’m glad I now know it :-)

  8. yay!!! I finally understand. I tried some other tutorials, and it never looked right. Thanks for the awesome diagrams, much easier to follow. :D

  9. Thank you so much for the great drawings of this technique! If you don’t mind, I’d like to link to this posting from my own site and Ravelry. My knitting friends all need to know about this excellent cast on method. It looks beautiful and can be used for any knit and purl combination. Great job!

  10. Garrett Dostal

    excellent info, keep it comming

  11. I just added your blog site to my blogroll I pray you would take into consideration doing the same

  12. Kerrie Chounlapane

    An interesting blog post right there mate Thank you for that

Leave a Comment

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>