While there are lots of ways to cast on a project, the cast on we learn first is the E-wrap Cast On. But most people do not like to use it because it is also the loosest cast on. Which, of course, leads to questions… Why is my cast on edge so loose? How can I make it tighter?
Most will answer by saying “use a different cast on”. There really is a cast on for every type of project. And we all have our favorite cast on. But most of those do have have enough stretch for some projects.
I want a stretchy cast on but the e-wrap cast on is still too loose making the edge messy! Not a question but is still a cry for help. Let’s get going on how to work a not-so-messy-tight-and-tidy e-wrap cast on!
How do I work an e-wrap cast on?
If you think that we are learning a new cast on, then you might be a bit disappointed. You will not be disappointed in the outcome of this e-wrap cast on when finished though.
While most already know how to work an e-wrap cast on, there are some that need to make a small adjustment in order to get a cleaner finish. And that small adjustment is how you use the slip knot to start.
If you are new to loom knitting, then here is how to work an e-wrap cast on.
First, make a slip knot. But do not put it on the first or last peg depending on if you are working a flat panel or in the round. You will want to use an anchor peg. If your loom doesn’t have an separate anchor peg, then you will need to use an adjacent peg to put the slip knot on. Then you will take it off after you get going on your project. Just be sure to not use it as as a loop on the cast on.
Why can I not use the slip knot as the first loop?
Besides not having a knot in your work, you will not be able to completely finish tightening up the cast on if you use the slip knot as the first loop.
If working a flat panel, most patterns are written so that the first row is worked from right to left. That means that the cast on must be worked from left to right.
This is my Peg 1.
This will be the last peg for my flat panel.
If you have more pegs than being used, place the slip knot next to the last peg so you are starting your cast on on the last peg of row 1.
If you are using all the pegs on a round loom, then you will need to actually place the slip knot on the first peg. Then start working the cast on to the right back around ending on the first peg.
In The Round
For hats and other projects worked in the round, place the slip knot on the last peg and then work the cast on from the first peg around from right to left.
How do you work the e-wrap cast on after the slip knot is placed?
Wrap each peg by bringing the working yarn around the back of the peg
to the front and around to the back again.
Then go the back of the next peg and wrap it in the same manner.
Continue wrapping all the pegs.
The pegs look like this when the cast on is finished.
And how the cast on looks from the top of the pegs.
Do I need to work the 1st row on a flat panel from right to left? Or work from right to left when working in the round? Why can I not go in the other direction?
Generally speaking, yes. While most of use are more comfortable working only one direction, patterns are written this way for a good reason. Consistency is one. Also certain stitches like cables are written this way so the stitches can be worked correctly.
A lot of patterns can be worked either way. But remember when you want to say it’s easier working in a certain direction: when working a flat panel, you must work in both directions. That cannot be avoided.
Therefore the sooner you start being consistent with working row 1 from right to left and always working in the round from right to left, the easier it will be to follow patterns that require it.
Do you work a row of stitches before starting row 1?
The e-wrap cast on is just that. Every peg is wrapped once. Once the number of pegs are wrapped, the cast on is complete, and row 1 is ready to be worked.
The cast on is NOT considered the first row. It’s more like the foundation to get started.
How do I tighten the cast on so it’s not messy and loose?
While you can tighten the cast on while it’s still on the loom, I wait until it’s off the loom before starting.
Now is when the magic happens.
On a flat panel, start on the end opposite from the tail. I hold my panel with the tail on the left side and work from the right to the left.
When working in the round, find the last stitch next to the tail which was the last stitch in each round. Then you will work from the left to the right around the piece to the tail.
I will continue to demonstrate on a flat panel.
Find the first loop and with your fingers or loom pick,
gently pull it snug from the edge.
Then find the next loop
and gently pull it snug.
Continue with each stitch until you get to the tail. With each stitch, the loop you are pulling will get bigger.
Then when the tail is reached, the loop itself will disappear as it’s pulled snugly. This is why the slip knot is not used as a cast on loop. You will not be able to tighten up that last loop with the tail if you used a slip knot.
The cast on will then be tidier but still stretchy.
I preferred the yarn over (double e-wrap) cast on for the longest time when I needed a cast on that is stretchy. But now I prefer to tighten the e-wrap cast on instead. It gives you more control over how tight you make the cast on edge but still has stretch.
I hope this helps so that everyone has a nice, tight, and tidy e-wrap cast on! Happy loom knitting!