Henry Scarf and Tubular Cast-on

I thought that I could do it.  After all, it is only a scarf, and I gave myself 2 weeks to knit it up.  But I should have heeded the comments on Ravelry.  It was the Henry after all.  I read about people who have been knitting on this scarf for a year.  That seems a bit excessive to me.  I am about 1/2 way through it.  It was an uncompleted Christmas gift for my husband.  I used Malabrigo sock yarn in the colorway Impressionist Sky.  It is very dense.  After conversing with someone making the same scarf in the same type and color of yarn, I decided to go up a needle size to #2.  I probably could have even done a size 3.  This is a very dense knit, and has the look of a woven scarf.  It will definitely be warm when finished.

For the tubular cast on I did not follow the directions in the pattern.  I usually do a crochet chain stitch cast-on (of 1/2 of the desired stitches plus one), and pick up a stitch in each chain.  Then knit 4 rows on a needle 2 sizes up from what the garment will be knit on, before picking up the alternate stitches.  If this is done correctly, you just unzip the crocheted chain, and Voila! it is done.  The only problem is that I have a hard time keeping the chain straight, and end up having to fiddle a lot with it, especially when the rows are long.

This time I used a different variation:

  • Cast on 1/2 +1 the desired number of stitches in a contrasting color.  I used a cotton yarn of approximately the same weight, so that it would be easier to separate the yarns apart.  You need to use a needle approximately 2 sizes larger than what you will knit the garment with.
  • Knit 4 rows or so in the contrasting color.  The number of rows does not really matter much, as these will be cut away later.  You just need enough of a bite so that when you do cut the yarn, you do not damage the edge of your knitted garment.
  • Change to the yarn that you are knitting your project with.  Knit 3-4 rows in stockinette stitch, ending with a knit row.
  • Now, the tricky part.  Using the smaller needles that you will knit the finished project with, Purl the first stitch.  *Take your left needle and reach down into bump that you will see at the front of the knitting, and pick up that bump (highlighted, as it stands out against the contrasting knitted fabric), and knit that stitch.  Purl the next stitch.*  Repeat from * to * until you have completed the entire row.  This gives you a K1, P1 rib starting and ending with a Purl stitch.  You can then continue in ribbing, or, as in the case of the Henry, changing over to the pattern.
  • After you have completed a few rows, take out the contrasting yarn by simply cutting it, and pulling the left-over remnants of yarn away from the edge. You will have a very smooth elastic edge.

Very important that you use a needle 2 sizes larger for the contrast knitting, and the set-up rows.  The down side to this technique is that you are knitting 3-4 rows more than you would with the crochet chain.  That said, I think it is a bit easier to start, and easier to unzip.  Here are photos of the method with the crochet chain used for the cast-on (note I was doing a K2, P2 rib here) :