Lesson 2: E-Wrap Cast On

Blue Cat Tutorial | Lesson 2: E-Wrap Cast-On

This is a step-by-step review of an e-wrap cast-on method used on a flat-bed knitting machine. You can skip the detailed description and jump to the Blue Cat Summary for E-Wrap Cast On.

An open cast-on method demonstrated in the previous lesson is the simplest cast on, but, when used by itself, it’s not very attractive. It merely looks like a drawstring threaded through the first row of stitches. E-wrap cast on has a nice finished look. It stands on its own and it gives a neat appearance to the garment.

Knitting Machine Setting

Before we begin the e-wrap cast on, we need to make sure the knitting machine settings are correct.

The working needles will be pushed all the way out (E-position). The knitting machine needs to be set to operate these needles as working needles, not holding needles. The bottom left corner of the carriage in my Knitking Compuknit IV machine is the Holding Cam Lever. It is set to N.

Carriage settings
Marked with blue ellipse, the Holding Cam Lever is in N-Position.
Switch is set to N.
Cam Lever in N-Position

If I set the lever to H-position and push out my needles to E-position, and then move the carriage across the needles (in either direction), the machine will not move these needles back to the working position (B-position). You can test your machine for the correct settings. Push a few needles all the way out, then change the lever, and move the carriage from side to side across the needles. If the needles stay in the same E-position, the carriage is set to holding position. If the needles move to a working position, it means that the carriage is set to a working position. You need the working setting.

Blue Cat checks the setting.
The working needles are pushed all the way out to D position.
The working needles are pushed all the way out to E-Position.

The carriage is placed on the right of the working needles. It can be on either side. E-wrap begins with the needle furthest from the carriage and moves towards the carriage. If the carriage is on the right, e-wrap begins on the left and ends on the right. This is easier for a right-handed person. If you place the carriage to the left of the needles, you need to e-wrap the needles from right to left with the working thread facing the carriage.

The carriage is on the right.
First pass of the carriage.
Test pass of the carriage from right to left. The carriage moves the needles to the working position.

Now, we can repeat the test from left to right. Let’s push the needles back to E-position.

The needles are set in E-position again to repeat the test.
Test run has set the needles back to the working position.

Now, that the machine is set, we can start e-wrapping the needles. I started with a slip knot the size of an individual loop.

First loop is a slip knot starting on the left is the carriage is to the right of the working needles.
The yarn is wrapped counterclockwise around the next needle to the right, forming a cursive letter “e”.
Continue wrapping each needle keeping tension down.
All needles are wrapped now. I disengaged the tension unit for this photo. You can see the yarn on the right has no tension.

The tension of the e-loops should be not too tight, but not too loose either. If it’s too tight, the machine may have difficulty knitting these loops. If the tension is too loose, the edge of your work will look uneven and messy. It may take some practice to achieve the right tension.

To avoid tension of the working yarn when you are making the loops, you can slip the yarn through the clip of the tension unit as shown in photo below.

I threaded the yarn through the clip to keep it loose.
Blue Cat check: All working needles are e-wrapped from left to write with relatively loose and equal tension. The needles are in D-position. The loops are pushed all the way back. The carriage is on the right.
The e-loops are pushed all the way back on the working needles.

The next step is to take the working yarn and thread it through the carriage as shown in photos below.

The working yarn is threaded through the carriage. It is still loose in this photo.
Weeee! Blue Cat is demonstrating how the working yarn is threaded.
The carriage is on the move from right to left.
The first row is made. The wrong side of the work is facing you.
Working needles and the first row viewed from above.

At this point, you can attach the cast-on comb and weights to the newly-made stitches. You may find it a little difficult to do so because there isn’t enough length of the knitted fabric. You can run the carriage from left to right to gain more length. To make sure that the machine knits properly without weights, it’s best to push the working needles all the way out to E-position again. The stitches (loops) should be pushed all the way back.

I push a few needles at a time while using my left hand to keep the stitches in the back.
All working needles are out in E-position now.

Next, I move the carriage from left to right. The next row is made. Now, the fabric is long enough to attach the cast-on comb and the weights.

Cast-on combs and the weights are attached.

You can knit your project now.

The photo below shows the e-wrap border. It’s the top border of this small knitting project. When you knit on the machine, the e-wrap border is at the bottom of your work. I turned is upside-down for a better view. The opposite edge has free loops.

The top border is made using e-wrap method.
Blue Cat check

Blue Cat Summary: E-Wrap Cast On

1. Machine setting: Holding Cam Lever in N-Position

2. Push working needles out to E-Position.

3. Test the machine by moving the carriage from side-to-side. The carriage should move the needles from E to B-Position.

4. Push working needles out to E-Position again.

5. And test the machine again by moving the carriage in opposite direction.

6. Start with a slip knot on the needle furthest from the carriage. E-wrap the remaining needles.

7. Thread the carriage.

8. Move the carriage from right to left. This makes the first row.

9. Push the working needles back to E-Position (all the way out) while keeping the loops in their original place (in the back).

10. Move the carriage from left to right to create the second row.

11. Attach the Cast-On Comb and weights to the work.

12. Knit and enjoy 🙂

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