Learn to Graft!
This is my version of Purl Soho's Classic Cowl [Purl Soho is a great source for easy-to-follow, free patterns]. For this pattern I used two skeins of Fiberstory Core Bulky [in Milo]. Because of the weight discrepency between the suggested yarn and my selected yarn, I cast on about half of the suggested stitch count-114sts. [Remember, patterns are not written in stone. You can change them to suit your project].
I did use the tubular cast on recommended in the pattern, but I used a differnet method [See my preferred method here. I think it's easier]. Using waste yarn and a crochet hook I worked a provisional cast on to cast on 58 stitches, which was increased to the required 114 pattern stitches. After the cast on I worked 4 rows in 1x1 rib, then worked the 4 row pattern repeat 11.5 times. Finally I worked another 4 rows of 1x1 rib before working a tubular bind off. Purl Soho has a helpful link for this on the pattern page.
Part of the tubular cast on requires you to graft live stitches together [this process is synonymous with the kitchener stitch]. I wanted to focus on this skill a bit today, as it can seem quite challenging, but just as knitting, has an inherent rhythm that once found can be quite soothing.
When you graft stitches you are joining two sets of live stitches in such a way that it looks as though you knit around an edge seemlessly. It really is a beautiful effect. To do it you will need two needles [straight, circular, and dpns are all fine, depending on what you're working] held in parallel. You must have the same number of stiches on both needles and your working yarn should start from the back needle. To get started you'll cut your working yarn, leaving a tail about 3x the length of your edge, and thread on a tapestry needle.
Into the first stitch on the front needle, insert the tapesty needle purlwise [from back to front] and pull the entire tail through. Leave the stitch on the needle. Then into the first stitch on the back needle, insert the tapestry needle knitwise [from front to back] and pull the entire tail through. Again, leave the stitch on the needle. That's the preliminary stuff. From here on out, you're going to repeat the same four motions until there is only one stitch remaining on both needles.
Those motions are:
Insert tapestry needle into the first stitch on the front needle knitwise. Drop stitch from needle.
Insert tapestry needle into the next stitch on the front needle purlwise. Leave stitch on needle.
Insert tapestry needle into the first stitch on the back needle purlwise. Drop stitch from needle.
Inert tapestry needle into the next stitch on the back needle knitwise. Leave stitch on needle.
So, you work two front stitches then two back stitches. Each set you're dropping only two stitches: the first stitch from the front needle and the first stitch from the back needle. Keep this pattern in your head: knit, purl, purl, knit. This is the pattern that you're following as you thread the tail and tapestry needle. If you have to walk away from grafting, do it at the end of one of these sets.
When you finally have only one stitch remaining one each needle you will thread the tail knitwise on the front needle before dropping the stitch and purlwise on the back needle before dropping the stitch. Then weave your ends like normal. That's it. If you have a long edge to graft it may be time consuming, but it's not tricky. You've got this!