Just one e-wrap
Friday January 01st 2010, 9:56 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Family,LYS

I know, it sounds like having Amazon put paper and ribbon to your Christmas presents.  I can’t believe it–it took me how long to figure this out?!

Purlescence was having a don’t-make-us-count-inventory sale New Year’s Eve, and Sam and I did that errand, too, before she left.  We walked in and people jumped up and offered us seats; have I ever mentioned it’s a nice place? (Oh, never…) Thanks, but I was there with a specific purpose in mind.

I wanted fingering weight, but color and feel rated highest. Sam picked out this one.

Venezia merino and silk, in a shade of green she pointed out just about anybody with any coloring could wear, with a nice sheen to it.  Spun quite finely into many plies then cabled together–Cascade did a very nice job with the spinning. This one shouldn’t pill.  This one kept its softness despite the rate of twist. Well done!

Worsted weight. (Oh well, can’t win’em all.)  The Rooster Rock shawl proved to me I could work with that, so, okay.

I started to knit a variation on my Water Turtles shawl, and the slip knot at the beginning of my traditional long-tail cast-on stopped me right there.  In that yarn, it was just too thick.  I didn’t like it.  I started again.



Hey.  What if…

Now, I once explained to someone that there is almost never a good use in knitting for an e-wrap.  If you cast on via e-wraps, ie simply twisting the yarn into a loop like the cursive letter e and putting that loop straight onto the needle, when you go to knit the first row, there will be a length of yarn hanging down between those e-wraps that will get longer and looonger and looooonger as you go across the row, like a dog on a retractable leash running after a squirrel.

And yet.  I tried it. One e-wrap, just on that first stitch only, just there at the start, just that very first stitch.

I had to do several rows to see how it would really play out in context.  And when I did, it was, WOW.

I have knitted over a hundred of these top-down shawls by now.  Not so many on the heavier weight ones, so I guess I didn’t have quite the motivation to go looking before, but still–a hundred shawls! And I only just now get it.  This is how they all should have started. This is how all the ones I’ll do after this will.

I guess my surprise New Year’s present to myself and the whole wide world arrived e-wrapped after all.

14 Comments so far
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I love e-wraps! I call ’em backwards loop cast on and Meg Swansen calls them EZ wraps (I think, my brain is a little fuzzy).

Comment by Michelle 01.01.10 @ 9:59 pm

For me, that’s what makes knitting endlessly fascinating.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 01.01.10 @ 10:44 pm

LOL…that long string you get from using that cast on, whatever you call it,…..I call the string an “unbilicus”!

Comment by Ruth 01.02.10 @ 12:43 am

AHA!!! I love those “brain flash” moments! I usualy cast on with a sort of abbreviated long tail cast on — I do two stitches using the long tail method, then I do a knitted cast on – pick up a loop in the previous stitch, put it on the needle. I hate knots, so I don’t make them. When I’m casting on one of your patterns, since they usually start with a fairly small number of stitches, I just do a full long-tail cast on. Heck, even I can figure out the length of yarn I’ll need for 10 or even 20 stitches!!

Comment by Pegi 01.02.10 @ 6:32 am

There is also a way to do a knotless long-tail cast on. It makes the first two stitches in one go, and Elizabeth Zimmerman describes it in Knitter’s Workshop, but I learned it from Joan Schrouder at a shawl workshop. You hold the yarn in the slingshot setup and put your needle behind the horizontal bar of yarn, pull the needle towards you into the center of the slingshot then move your hands and needles to cast on another stitch, scooping to left and right. Voila, two stitches and no knot!

Comment by Kathleen 01.02.10 @ 7:13 am

Cute!!! Love your sense of humor! e-wrap it is from now on!!!

Comment by Joansie 01.02.10 @ 7:40 am

I read a hint once where it was suggested that the knitter should use the slip knot to begin and, after the knot,cast on the number required; then on the next row, drop the slip knot off. Why do all that extra? Just use an e-wrap to begin with. BTW, the yarn is gorgeous and I love the feel of merino and silk–you will enjoy it, I know.

Comment by sherry in idaho 01.02.10 @ 9:44 am

That’s exciting! I’m knitting with Malabrigo Silky at the moment, so I’m rather in love with that combination (and the laceweight in my travel project is also merino silk). I have another of your shawls in my sights soon, and I’ll have to try an e-wrap!

Comment by Channon 01.02.10 @ 10:29 am

Sam has good taste — that is a gorgeous shade of green. I wouldn’t know an e-wrap if it sat on me.
I do know what you mean about that Aha! moment. I’ve had that happen to me (not in knitting), and I wonder why I hadn’t thought of that before.

1010 humor –

What’s white and goes up and down?
a confused snowflake.

What is Santa’s wife called?
Mary Christmas

What do snowmen eat for lunch?

Why did the tightrope walker visit his bank?
To check his balance.

What sort of sentence would you get if you broke the law of gravity?
A suspended sentence.

Comment by Don Meyer 01.02.10 @ 11:19 am

Now that’s the way to start the New Year–learning something new! I’m going to have to look up an “e-wrap.” Don’t know how to do it!

Comment by Karen 01.02.10 @ 12:01 pm

The color is gorgeous! So glad you finally figured things out!

Happy New Year!

Comment by Momo Fali 01.02.10 @ 2:12 pm

Ok, I have to ask, what was the advantage of the first stitch being e-wrap? How does it do when you knit back to it on the next row? The curiosity in me has been aroused. My mom used the e-wrap when she knit and it didn’t have as nice an edge as the long tail (tho I hear it is better when you need a stretchy edge), but maybe just one on the start wouldn’t be so bad :).

Comment by LDSVenus 01.02.10 @ 5:14 pm

I just discovered that darned Venezia, too, and two skeins of that green walked out of the store with me. It’s not like I really needed another yarn love. 🙂

Comment by twinsetellen 01.03.10 @ 2:01 pm

Goes to show that presents come in all shapes and sizes, though the size and the shape sometimes don’t tell the whole story… 😉

Comment by Suzanne in Mtl 01.04.10 @ 7:30 am

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