No matter what you want to knit, the first step towards machine knitting is to cast on. Followed by much to-ing and fro-ing, then cast off. Keep reading for the How To Cast on and How To Cast Off guide for beginners, to show how quick and simple machine knitting is. By the end of this page, you will be able to make as many scarves as you like
The knitting machine being used for the guide is the Brother KH-940 without the ribber attached, and acrylic 4 ply yarn. If you are using acrylic, and the single bed, like this example, the finished product will have rolled edges, pressing will fix that. We will assume you have some documentation regarding how to thread your particular knitting machine and have threaded it. For casting on, the “simple cast on” will work on Brother knitting machines and the “e” wrap method should work on the majority of Japanese machines eg. Brother, Singer, Toyota and Empersal. Passap knitting machines use a different method which will be covered in the Passap pages.
I find using photos and videos as a learning tool easier than a whole lot of writing, so I have included them also.
Learn how to cast on
Simple Machine Knitting Cast On
Move your K-Carriage to the right of the needle bed (knitting carriage, the bit you grab onto and move side to side to knit). Locate all the needles to the A position (positions are marked on each side of the needle bed). Click your weaving brush levers into the up position.
Working from the center (so the counter works reliably) push every needle for your required width (the width of the finished product will be smaller that the width the needles represent) to the B position. Now push alternate needles to position E (all the way out). Pull your pre threaded yarn from under the K-Carriage, across the E needles, resting it in front of the bed but behind the hooks of the needles. Angle the end of the yarn you are holding down and away from the K-Carriage.
Be sure to hang onto the end, not pull tight, just don’t let it go. Slide the carriage from right to left, it might feel like things aren’t right, but it should go fairly easily, slide it until you have cleared the pushed out needles.
The carriage will move the needles automatically so don’t panic that they aren’t in the same position as where you left them. Keep holding the end of the yarn and move the carriage back to the right, once again moving all the way past the moved needles.
Guess what? You have cast on! Keep a grip on the end of the yarn for another couple of rows. Return the weaving brush levers to the down position, now is also a good time to add some weights to the emerging knitted product to keep an even tension on it. Try using a cast on comb if you have one. Uneven tension makes the finished product knit unevenly with some holes larger than others. If you don’t have any weights, pull lightly downward on the knitted article as you knit so it doesn’t drop stitches due to the lack of downward pressure keeping the yarn on the needles.
This simple cast on is great for making quick swatches of machine knitted fabric to assess the tension and also the number of stitches and rows required to create a finished article from a particular yarn, the results do vary from yarn to yarn.
Learn how to “e” Wrap Cast On
Named from the shape the yarn makes on the needles, it gives a nicer finish, but is a bit more fiddly. Putting this process into words may come later, but I find it easier to see whats going on rather than read it. Simply click the play button below to see e wrap casting on being performed.
Learn how to cast off
Simple Machine Knitting Cast Off
Once again, a text translation may come after, but for now, the video below will give a visual guide to a simple machine knitting cast off.
Looser Machine Knitting Cast Off around gate pegs
This method of casting off produces a nicer finish more reliably keeps a uniform tension. It achieves this by keeping the but the stitches you are casting off on the knitted article on or near its needles on the gate pegs that protrude from the front of the bed. The result is the article cannot bunch up or fall down, pulling the yarn unevenly.