How to Wrap Cast on Stitches in Knitting

Wrapped cast on stitches

The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson

The wrap cast on method, which is sometimes called a loop or thumb cast on, lets you add new stitches to your knitting needle quickly and easily. It creates a stretchy edge when starting your knitting project, but it also works well for adding more stitches along the way. Another name for this method of casting on stitches is the e-wrap cast on. That's because each new stitch starts with a wrapped loop that looks like a lower case e. It's helpful to remember that as you form the stitches so you know that you're making them correctly.

This method is easy to learn so it's great for beginners, but it does take practice to keep the first stitches even. Just like with any new stitch technique, making a few sample swatches can make all the difference.

Knitting patterns often tell you what kind of cast-on method to use for a particular project, but if you're looking for a cast-on edge that is simple and has some stretch, the wrap cast on might be a good choice for you. One thing to be aware of is that it may start to stretch more than you expect over time.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Knitting needles


  • Yarn


  1. Set up Your Yarn and Needle

    Most cast-on methods begin with a slip knot on the set-up needle. With the wrap cast on, you can skip that step.

    Grab one needle and your yarn. If you're right-handed, the tail of the yarn should go to the left along with the needle. You'll pull the working yarn from the right. Left-handed knitters should flip these instructions.

    Before you start wrapping and casting on, take a look a the placement of the yarn, and especially the loop. The tail of the yarn goes behind the needle and the loop forms an e.

    Starting the Wrap Cast-On
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson
  2. Hold the Needle and Yarn

    Hold the needle and tail end of the yarn in your left hand. Remember to keep the yarn behind the needle. 

    Wrap the working yarn around your right thumb as shown, while also holding it with your fingers to keep it taut. 

    Wrap the Yarn Around Your Thumb
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson
  3. Transfer the Stitch to the Needle

    Bring your thumb almost parallel to the needle, then slide the tip of the needle under the loop. Slip the loop off the end of your thumb and tighten the stitch by pulling the working yarn.

    Slide the Stitch to the Needle
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson
  4. One Stitch Cast on

    You now have one stitch on the needle, but right now it's really just a loop of yarn.

    If you let it go, it will come undone, so hold it in place. As you add the next stitch in the same way, it will secure your first stitch.

    One Stitch on the Needle
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson
  5. Wrap Another Stitch

    Repeat the wrapping process just like before, wrapping the loop around your thumb.

    As you cast on more stitches, you'll find that this feels more natural and you'll get a rhythm that makes it go quickly.

    Wrap the Next Stitch to Cast On
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson
  6. Cast on the Next Stitch

    Transfer the loop to the needle and pull the yarn to tighten it. 

    Each loop on the needle counts as a stitch. They are secure and ready for you to repeat the process until you have as many stitches as you need.

    Transfer the Wrapped Stitch to the Needle
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Tips as You're Working

  • With each stitch that you add, try to keep the tension even and the stitches evenly spaced. 
  • If you notice a larger gap between some stitches, it will show up when you start knitting. It's best to adjust the stitches now. 
  • As you start knitting the first row, work carefully so the stitches don't loosen as you begin. Wrapped stitches are looser than other cast-on methods. But once you finish that first row, you're ready to work on the rest of your project.
Wrapped Cast-On Stitches on the Needle

The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson

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