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Get Gorgeous Reversible Edges With This Chinese Waitress Cast-On Tutorial

Most knitters have their tried-and-true favorite cast-ons that they use for different situations — stretchy edges, tubular cuffs, provisional cast-ons for joining later. Why step outside our comfort zone when we know that these cast-ons do the trick?

A cast-on can help you get the perfect amount of stretch on the edge of your project. The Chinese Waitress Cast-On, for example, is a medium stretchy cast-on that looks just as neat on the front as it does on the back.

Chinese Waitress Cast-On Tutorial

I was intimidated by the Chinese Waitress Cast-On at first because it is a bit odd. I felt like my fingers were getting all tangled up and I kept dropping the needles when I first tried it. After a few times practicing it, though, it became just as familiar as my usual long-tail cast-on.

Read a little about the characteristics of the Chinese Waitress Cast-On, then give it a try. You might like it enough to add it to your usual lineup of cast-ons!

Origins of the name

The Chinese Waitress Cast-On is from Cap Sease’s book Cast On, Bind Off: 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting. The cast-on has this unique name because a Beijing restaurant waitress showed the author’s friend how to do it. I wonder if that waitress knows she’s famous now?

When to use the cast-on

This cast-on is a short-tail cast-on that creates a reversible double chain on both sides. It’s a knitted cast-on, so you’ll use both knitting needles to work the stitch.

Because it’s reversible, it’s perfect for two-sided projects like scarves and blankets where both sides will be visible. The cast-on not only makes the project look neat, but it gives it a little bit of extra decoration that you can’t get with just any cast-on.

How to make the cast-on

Step 1:

Make a slipknot and place it on the left needle. This is not a long-tail cast-on, so just leave a tail that’s long enough to weave in later.

Step 2:

Place your right-hand needle on top of the working yarn and under your left-hand needle so that the two needles cross and make an X.

Chinese Waitress Cast On Step 1
Step 3:

Wrap the working yarn over the left-hand needle and around the back of the right-hand needle. It’s almost like making a knit stitch except that there’s some extra wrapping going on.

Chinese Waitress Cast On Step 2Chinese Waitress Cast On Step 3Step 4:

Pull the loop of yarn through.

Chinese Waitress Cast On Step 4Step 5:

Remount the stitch on the right needle so that it is facing the opposite way. Do this easily by slipping the stitch off the needle, then inserting the needle through the stitch from the opposite direction.

Chinese Waitress Cast On Step 5
Step 6:

Repeat Steps 3 to 5. You should have 2 stitches on your right-hand needle.

Chinese Waitress Cast On Step 6

Chinese Waitress Cast On Step 6.1
Step 7:

Bind off one stitch by pulling the stitch furthest to the right over the left stitch and off the needle. Since the left-hand needle is already occupied, you’ll need to bind off using your fingers.

Chinese Waitress Cast On Step 7
Step 8:

Repeat steps 5 to 7 until you have cast on the number of stitches desired.

Finished Chinese Waitress Cast On

Interested in learning even more cast-ons? There are countless styles you can try!

Start and Finish Every Project with Ease

40 Ways to Cast on and Bind Off

Give your work a look you love and just the right amount of stretch. Learn all the cast-ons and bind-offs you'll need in this online video class.Enroll Now »


Helen (of Troy)

The Chinese Waitress Cast on, is a double chain cast on –that is, it creates 2 chain stitches, one on each side of the work, making it a reversible cast on. It is very attractive.
There are several other versions of this cast on, Tilybuddy (her ravelry name) has created one, Dolly, (another Ravelry name) has created another method that produces the same results, and so has Skeincharmer!.

If you like the results, but find the process hard to master, google search for videos of these different versions, that all give the same results! To my knowledge, there are 5 methods,
1 –Chinese waitresss
2–Dolly’s double chain
3–Tilybuddy’s double chain
4–Skeincharmers double chain (done with a crochet hook)
5–the double chain (no credit to this cast on)

That is the fun thing about knitting–there are so many methods for doing the same thing!
All the above cast ons create the same double chain edge, but each uses a different process.


Thank you!


The one with a crochet hook is definitely the easiest one. No fiddling and once you get it is almost as fast as the longtail

Myroslava D Jacklitsch

Thank you for sharing the 4 other versions !


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