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What is E-Wrap Cast On?

E-wrapping needles from left to right.
E-Wrap Cast On

In machine knitting, e-wrap (aka e-loop) is a type of cast on in which yarn is wrapped around each needle counterclockwise forming loops that are shaped like a lower-case cursive letter “e”.

Unlike open cast on, it gives a secured finished edge to your knitting. E-wrap cast on stands on its own and it gives a neat border to the garment. How to cast on a finished edge using the e-wrap method on a flatbed knitting machine?

Follow this tutorial for step-by-step instructions with photos. Or, see the outline above for a quick review.

Let’s get started by setting up the knitting machine.

The Process:

Step 1. Prepare the knitting machine settings.

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

Set the working needles to the holding position.

Push the working needles into the holding position (HP). (D-position on Knitmaster, Empisal, Silver, Singer, and Studio; and E-position on Knitking and the modern Brother.) These needles, however, should be engaged in knitting, and not just holding. To accomplish that, make sure the carriage settings are correct.

Image: Blue Cat pushed the working needles all the way out to E-Position.
Blue Cat pushed the working needles all the way out to the holding position.

Set the cam lever on the carriage to the normal position.

Switch the holding cam lever to the normal position to ensure that the machine operates the needles as working and not holding needles. (The cam lever setting is N in Brother/Knitking, triangle in Singer/Studio machines).

Image: Holding cam lever is in N-position.
Marked with the blue ellipse, the holding cam lever is in N-Position (normal on Knitking machine).
Image: Holding cam lever in N-position.
Holding cam lever in N-position.

Side note: If you set the lever to the holding position and push out the needles to the holding 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 to the holding position. Then change the lever, and move the carriage from side to side across the needles. If the needles will stay in the same holding position, the cam lever is not set correctly. If the needles move to a working position, it means that the carriage is set to a working position. You need the working setting.

Image: Blue Cat checks the setting.
Blue Cat checks the setting.

Place the carriage on the opposite side from the starting needle of the e-wrap. The right side is most commonly used.

The carriage can be on either side of the needles. But it should be on the opposite side from the starting needle.

E-wrap begins with the needle furthest from the carriage and moves towards the carriage. If the carriage is on the right, the 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.

For the sake of this exercise, park the carriage on the right of the needles.

Image: The carriage is on the right.
The carriage is on the right of the working needles.

Run a test pass.

Pass the carriage from right to left to make sure the working needles move from the holding to the working position.

Image: Test pass of the carriage from right to left. The carriage moves the needles to the working position.
Test pass of the carriage from right to left. The carriage moves the needles to the working position.

Now, repeat the test from left to right. Push the needles back to the holding position and run the carriage to the right (back to its original place). The test run should set the needles from the holding to the working position again.

Image: The needles are set in E-position again to repeat the test.
The needles are set in the holding position (all the way out) again to repeat the test in the opposite direction.
Image: Test run has set the needles back to the working position.
The test run has set the needles back to the working position.

Now, that the machine is set, we can start e-wrapping the needles.

Step 2. E-wrap the working needles starting with a slip knot on the furthest needle from the carriage

Begin with a slip knot the size of an individual loop.

Image: A slip-knot is on the opposite side from the carriage.
The first loop is a slip knot starting on the left when the carriage is to the right of the working needles.
Image: First e-wrap after the slip-knot.
The yarn is wrapped counterclockwise around the next needle to the right, forming a small cursive letter “e”.
Image: E-wrapping needles from left to right.
Continue wrapping each needle keeping the tension low and even.
Image: E-wrap cast-on.
All working needles are e-wrapped in this photo.

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 too much 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 the photo below.

Image: Yarn is pinched in the clip of the tension unit.
I pinched the yarn in the clip to keep it loose.
Image: Blue Cat check of e-wrap cast-on.
Blue Cat check: All working needles are e-wrapped from left to right with relatively loose and equal tension. The needles are in the holding position. The loops are pushed all the way back. The carriage is on the right.
Image: E-loops are all the way back on the working needles.
The e-loops are pushed all the way back on the working needles.

Step 3. Thread the carriage with the working yarn.

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

Image: Working yarn is threaded through the carriage.
The working yarn is threaded through the carriage. It is still loose in this photo.
Image: Blue Cat demonstrates how the yarn is threaded through the carriage.
Weeee! Blue Cat is demonstrating how the working yarn is threaded.

Step 4. Move the carriage from right to left.

Image: The carriage is moving from right to left making the first row.
The carriage is on the move from right to left.
Image: First row with e-wrap cast on.
The first row is made. The purl side of the work is facing you.

Step 5. Attach the cast-on comb and the weights to the first row of stitches.

At this point, you can attach the cast-on comb and weights to the newly-made stitches. But, you may find it a little difficult to do so because there isn’t enough length of the knitted fabric. To make it easier, you can run the carriage from left to right to gain more length.

To make sure that the machine knits properly without the weights, it’s best to push the working needles all the way out to the holding position again. The stitches (loops) should be pushed all the way back.

Image: Pushing the working needles to E-position and the stitches to the back.
I push a few needles at a time while using my left hand to keep the stitches in the back.
Image: Working needles in E-position with stitches in the back.
All working needles are out in the holding position now with all stitches in the back as far as they can go.

Move the carriage across the working needles once or twice more. When the fabric is long enough, you can attach the cast-on comb and the weights.

Image: Cast-on combs and the weights are attached.
The cast-on combs and the weights are attached.

Step 6. Knit your project.

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 it upside-down for a better view. The opposite edge has free loops.

Image: The top border is made using e-wrap method.
The top border is made using the e-wrap method.
Image: Blue Cat Tutorials: E-Wrap Cast On
Blue Cat check

Knit and enjoy 🙂

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