This morning I started the Conversationalist Hat, which calls for a tubular cast on in 1×1 rib. I've done this successfully several times, but I always have to look it up. So I started with the two links to the technique that are suggested in the pattern, neither of which worked for me. I need video, not text when it comes to something like this.
My preference is to use Judy's Magic Cast On (JMCO) to create the tubular bind on, so after deciding the pattern directions wouldn't work for me, that's where I turned. This is a two step video watching process for me. I strongly suggest that you take time to watch each video through before attempting the cast on. My usual style is to watch about 30 seconds of video and dive right in, but these videos are so good that the 20 minutes you invest in watching will pay off big time in a lack of frustrating mis-attempts to create your tubular cast on.
Start with the basic video on how to do JMCO, done by none other than THE Judy herself. (How did she figure this out? I heard it happened while she was home sick and playing around one day. It's amazing, I don't believe I could have figured this out with decades on my hands).
Once you have these simple basics mastered, switch over to Lorilee Beltman's video on using JMCO to create a tubular 1×1 rib.
The logical question at this point is, why would you want to go to all of the bother? And the answer is a simple one. A traditional cast on, like my favorite, the long tail cast on, will leave you with a tight, non-stretchy line of stitches at the point of the cast on. It won't be horrible, and I have perfectly lovely hats that I've knit this way. But a tubular cast on permits you to create a rolled edge of seamless knit stitches. When you use this method for tubular cast on, you will, after casting on, have your knit stitches on the front needle and your purls on the back, and when you begin to work them onto one needle follow a K1 P1 patterning, the bottom, instead of that tight cast on line, will be a sprongy, stretchy, seamless part of the knit fabric.
Give it a try, as Lorilee does in the video, with a smaller number of stitches to get the hang of it. You'll be really proud of yourself when you accomplish this cast on and very happy with the result.