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Alternating Two-color Long-tail Cast-on for Corrugated Ribbing [Tutorial]

Are you enjoying the Horror-riffic Halloween Mystery Mittens so far? Here's a tutorial for the techniques used in the first clue of the pattern. Actually, it's two tutorials but they go hand in hand: a two-color cast-on for a two-color ribbing. Let's start with the cast-on.

Alternating Two-color Long-tail Cast-on

In the blog post in which I reviewed 5 cast-ons based on the long-tail method, I included both an alternating cast-on and a long-tail cast-on with two strands of yarn. This is a combination of the two methods. In the alternating two-color cast-on you alternate both knit and purl stitches and the colors with each stitch!

Start by tying a slip knot with the two yarns held together and place it on the needle. Note that this doubled-up stitch doesn't count as a stitch — it's just there to hold the two yarns in place.

Hold the two yarns in the usual slingshot position for long-tail cast-on. The color you want to start with is at the back and goes around your index finger.

Here's a shot from above. Notice there are four strands of yarn going into your palm. I'll refer to these as inner and outer thumb yarn and inner and outer index finger yarn in the video tutorial below.

To cast on a knit stitch, go under the outer thumb yarn, grab the inner index finger yarn and pull it through the thumb yarn loop. Let go of the thumb yarn and tighten it around the "neck" of the stitch on the needle.

To cast on a purl stitch, do the opposite. Go behind the outer index finger yarn, drop the needle tip between the two inner yarns, grab the inner thumb yarn from below, and pull it backwards through the yarn loop on the index finger. Now let go of the index finger yarn and tighten it around the stitch.

Alternate these steps with every stitch. You can also use this cast-on for any combination of ribbing: 2x2, 3x3, whatever you want! In addition to corrugated ribbing this is a great cast-on for other two-color stitch patterns worked in alternating knit and purl stitches, such as for doubleknitting or brioche.

Corrugated Ribbing

Corrugated ribbing is just a fancy name for two-color ribbing in which every knit stitch is made with one color and every purl stitch with another color. After the alternating two-color long-tail cast-on above, all odd stitches on the needle are knit stitches, all even stitches are purls. We'll continue the same knit/purl sequence and the same colors into the ribbing.

I've received so many questions about the colorwork tool I'm using in this tutorial. The tool is called a Lankapiika yarn guide and it was made by a local-to-me jeweler Sanni Lehtinen. You can buy the Lankapiika yarn guide ring and other handmade jewellery from her Etsy store.

For this ribbing I'm holding the darker color (brown) as the dominant color. It goes closest to the work; the non-dominant color (orange) is furthest away from the work. Check out the video tutorial below.

To work the corrugated ribbing, knit every odd stitch with the dominant color and purl every even stitch with the non-dominant color. That's it! That's how easy corrugated ribbing is.

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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