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The Tubular Cast-On & the Tara Jacket

Oct 14, 2013

The Tara Jacket by Ashley Rao,
from Knitscene Winter 2013

The Tara Jacket from the winter 2013 Knitscene is popping up on all of the social media sites, and it so deserves it! This design by Ashley Roa is so cute and, most importantly, wearable. I think I see a knit-along in our future, KDers . . .

Tara is a knitted version of the popular moto-style jacket. I was at Nordstrom the other day and I saw lots and lots of moto jackets, but none as cute as Tara!

One of the building blocks of the Tara Jacket is the tubular cast-on, which is the perfect beginning for this ribbed jacket. In Knitscene, Ashley Rao offers three methods for working this cast-on. She goes deep into the technique, plus, she tells you the pros and cons of each version. Here's Method 1 to get you started.

Creating a Seamless Edge

Using a tubular cast-on creates a stretchy, softly rounded edge that transitions perfectly to k1, p1 rib at the edges of knitting projects. Its elasticity and alternating knit/purl structure make it virtually indistinguishable from the ribbing pattern. Although tubular cast-on may seem like an advanced technique, it builds on many basic cast-on and increase techniques you probably already know.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Method 1

Use for: Even or odd number of stitches.
Advantages: Uses basic cast-on and St st to create a tubular edge.
Disadvantages: Transition row can be awkward to work, waste yarn cast-on must be removed, difficult to adapt to circular knitting This method begins with a backward-loop cast-on in waste yarn, which is picked out and removed once the tubular edge is established. Using a slippery waste yarn (such as mercerized cotton) in a contrasting color ensures that these stitches will be easy to identify and easy to remove.

Using waste yarn and the backward-loop method, CO half the final number of sts needed. Cut waste yarn, turn work, join main yarn, and work as follows:

Row 1 (RS): Knit.

Row 2 (WS): Purl.

Row 3: Knit.

Row 4: With tip of right-hand (RH) needle, pick up main color loop at edge of first main color row 3 rows below [Figure 1]. Place this loop on left hand (LH) needle, k1. *P1, bring yarn to back of work, use tip of RH needle to pick up main yarn purl loop 3 rows below (held between 2 purl loops in waste yarn) [Figure 2]. Place this loop on LH needle, k1; rep from * to last st, p1-full number of required sts are now on the needles (double the original cast-on).

Row 5: *K1, p1; rep from * to end of row. At this point, the work is fully reversible-either side can be used as the RS. Work a few more rows in k1, p1 rib, then unpick and remove waste yarn cast-on edge [Figure 3].

This method is easily adapted to an odd number of stitches. Cast on half the final number of stitches plus 1, then work as described above, but eliminate the first picked-up and knit stitch in the transition row, and work the stitches as p1, *k1, p1*.

—Ashley Rao, from Knitscene Winter 2013

The tubular cast-on is one of those techniques that, once you master it, you'll use it all the time. Anything that starts with ribbing is a candidate for the tubular cast-on: hats, gloves, mittens, sweaters, and so on. This cast-on technique is versatile and attractive, too.

Subscribe to Knitscene today so you don't miss any instant classics like the Tara Jacket—or any fabulous technique tutorials!


P.S. What do you say about a Tara Jacket knit-along? Leave a comment and let me know if you're interested!

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Nancy Eckel wrote
on Nov 2, 2013 5:25 PM

I haven't yet ordered this - I'm an experienced, but far from expert, knitter.  Does anyone know what level this sweater would require? I'm interested in the KAL, but want to be sure... thanks!

bubbysmom77 wrote
on Oct 24, 2013 9:04 AM

Yes!! I'd love to give it a try!!

bubbysmom77 wrote
on Oct 24, 2013 9:03 AM

Oh yes! I would love to try this pattern as a KAL!

Sally Murray wrote
on Oct 23, 2013 10:37 PM

Would love a Knit-along for the Tara Jacket

Sally Murray wrote
on Oct 23, 2013 10:37 PM

Would love a Knit-along for the Tara Jacket

on Oct 23, 2013 9:52 AM

I would love to do a tara jacket knit along!

gumbiecat wrote
on Oct 22, 2013 7:26 AM

Yesterday, I was informed that I need eye surgery PDQ.  Therefore, I will have to reverse my prior choice of participating in the knit-along...Grrrr!  Judy in SE WI

on Oct 20, 2013 4:14 PM

I think that is a great idea how do I get the pattern?

Wnderlnd wrote
on Oct 19, 2013 12:35 PM

Very Interested!  I like KAL, but sometimes they are too fast for me.  (2 weeks to knit a whole sweater isn't doable for me and my schedule.)  If it goes longer, I'd relish the help with a KAL.  

searon wrote
on Oct 19, 2013 11:48 AM

I woul be interested

searon wrote
on Oct 19, 2013 11:47 AM

I would be interested

Pbcreed wrote
on Oct 19, 2013 10:26 AM

I'm interested in a Tara jacket knit along!  Love tubular cast on!

rachaelfaye wrote
on Oct 16, 2013 10:51 AM

I would love a KAL! I have already chosen the pattern to work with some yarn from an Alpaca named Gus.

Rachael Faye

on Oct 15, 2013 9:02 AM

about 2 inches too small for me..otherwise I would knit it :(

MirandaF wrote
on Oct 15, 2013 8:54 AM

A Tara jacket KAL sound super fantastically awesome! It is uber cute!

on Oct 15, 2013 7:03 AM

I flagged this as soon as I saw it! I would love to do a knit along.

on Oct 14, 2013 7:55 PM

I love it and flagged it when I received my copy of Knitscene in the mail...  I'd definitely be more comfortable working this project as a knit along in think so I'm in....

on Oct 14, 2013 5:22 PM

What a lovely sweater! What weight yarn is used? I'm interested in getting the pattern!

Jillyon wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 2:09 PM

It's a good-looking jacket, and the back looks like a lot of fun to knit. However, it won't be flattering on anyone who isn't pretty thin:  a double layer of fabric on the front will be very bulky, and the zipper on moto jackets is designed to create a tight silhouette. In knit fabric rather than leather, the effect will be even more pronounced. This will cling to show your entire outline, while adding bulk at the same time. Moto jackets, like so many current fashions, are designed for women who look like sexless waifs.

shuteysl wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 1:24 PM

Yes, I would do the knit along.  Great Jacket

Claire Sydor wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 12:41 PM

I like it; let's do it!!

Claire Sydor wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 12:41 PM

I like it; let's do it!!

Predmore wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 11:09 AM

Hi  Kathleen,

I would be interested in a knit along for this jacket. It is adorable.



on Oct 14, 2013 10:55 AM

I normally don't do KAL's but for this jacket I would definately make an exception!  It's lovely! :-)

on Oct 14, 2013 9:49 AM

Yes! A knitalong would be great for this sweater.

on Oct 14, 2013 9:42 AM

yes the Tara sweater looks like a gorgeous knit along

on Oct 14, 2013 9:38 AM

Count me in!

on Oct 14, 2013 9:24 AM

If I an get the pattern.  I would love it.  Jackie

LBick wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 8:47 AM

I would definitely be in for a Tara knit along count me in.

gumbiecat wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 8:41 AM

I'm in for the Tara Jacket Knit-Along, and I've ordered the Knitscene 2013 magazine.  

Judy in SE Wisconsin

slee332485 wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 8:05 AM

A knit along for the Tara Jacket sounds like a perfect idea.....count me in!

stef@7 wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 7:57 AM

I would definitely be interested in joining this KAL!

stef@7 wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 7:55 AM

I would definitely be interested in joining this KAL!

ravityanay wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 7:41 AM

Would love to try it

Babylady1990 wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 7:37 AM

I think it's a great idea!  Count me in!

bennycatgirl wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 7:27 AM

Lots of interesting shaping and finishing techniques. A KAL would be terrific!

annie1st wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 7:19 AM

I'm not sure I know what a knit-along entails, but it sounds interesting.

fiberfeend wrote
on Oct 14, 2013 7:17 AM

Yes a KAL is a great Fall idea.

on Oct 14, 2013 7:06 AM

Might be hard for me but I would try it!