How to knit the cable cast on for the purl side

A step-by-step tutorial on knitting the cable cast-on purlwise and important tips and tricks

So, you already know how to do the regular cable cast-on but now you want to start with some purl stitches? Or does your pattern specifically call for a cable cast-on purlwise? Well, then you came to the right place because this tutorial is all about it.

cable cast on purlwise shown on a knitted swatch

The cable cast-on for the purl side is a lovely technique to have in your toolbox. It creates a very pretty and somewhat sturdy edge that can look marvelous in a lot of circumstances. You can use it for a purl-heavy project, you can alternate it with a standard cable cast-on to create a pretty edge for ribbings, and it actually looks maybe even better for the knit side on top of it.

Let’s show you how to knit it!

Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article.

Instructions: How to knit the cable cast-on purl

someone knitting a cable cast on purlwise

This version of the cable cast-on can be used for any project that starts on the purl side. It's not especially stretchy and requires one simple setup stitch.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  1. Start with a simple slip knot and put it on your left knitting needle.

    starting the cable cast on purlwise with a slip knot
  2. Pick up the second needle and insert it from right to left into the front of the slip knot.

    inserting the right knitting needle purlwise
  3. Purl one stitch by wrapping the yarn around the needle counter-clockwise and pulling through all the way.

    pulling the yarn through to the front
  4. Slip the resulting stitch back to the left needle. This finishes the preparation stitch.

    slipping the purl stitch back to the left needle point to point
  5. Insert your right needle into the gap between the first and second stitch on your needle coming in from behind. Make sure that you don't accidentally split the yarn.

    inserting the needle in gap between stitches from behind
  6. Wrap the working yarn around your right knitting needle counter-clockwise.

    someone wrapping the yarn around counter clockwise for cable cast on purl
  7. Pull the yarn all the way through to the back.

    pulling the yarn through to the back
  8. Slip the yarn back to the left needle point-to-point without twisting

    slipping the stitch back to the left needle
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 until you cast on the desired number of stitches.

    continuing with the cable cast-on purlwise by repeating the steps over and over again


To create a neater corner stitch, you may consider casting on one additional stitch. In the first row, you simply purl the two first stitches together. This prevents an edge on the right side that may look a bit rounded.

Further tips for the cable cast-on purl

alternating cable cast on for ribbing shown with a swatch in green yarn
A 1×1 rib stitch swatch I started with an alternating cable cast-on..

As I said above, you can use the cable cast-on purl to create some stunning edges for rib stitches. For example, for a 1×1 rib stitch you would cast-on like this:

  • CO: Start with as slip knot, then cast on one stitch with the cable cast-on purl, then one normal cable cast-on stitches, one cable cast-on purl, one normal cable cast-on, etc…ending with one purl stitch.
  • Row 1: *K1, p1*
  • continue the 1×1 rib stitch pattern

The resulting edge will almost look a bit like a tubular cast-on but will be much easier to knit. It will, however, be less stretchy. This can be a pro or a con, and I leave it up to you to decide what’s best for you and your project.

cable cast on purlwise as seen on the knit side
The right side of the cable cast-on purl

Another thing you should definitely consider is using the cable cast-on purlwise for a project in stockinette stitch. Why? Because it creates a very lovely and sturdy edge one could say is both prettier and less curly than almost all cast-on alternatives I am aware of for this particular knitting stitch pattern. In this case, you would have to knit it like this

  • CO: Cast on as many purl stitches your pattern requires
  • Row 1: Purl across
  • Row 2: Knit across
  • repeat rows 1+2

So, essentially the whole trick is starting on the wrong side of your project. I personally feel it’s well worth it!

Anyway, that’s how to knit the cable cast-on for the purlside. Comment below in case you have any further questions.

how to knit the cable cast on purlwise - a step by step tutorial for beginners

2 thoughts on “How to knit the cable cast on for the purl side”

  1. I may be somewhat slow or perhaps I missed something but I cannot seem to find detailed instructions for just a basic purl stitch using the continental method.


Leave a Comment

Skip to Instructions