A Knitting Dictionary—The Letter E is part of a series of posts that will eventually make up the Complete Knitting Dictionary a comprehensive knitter’s resource!


The amount of difference between a garments finished size and the size of the body part it is meant to fit.

positive ease

When the garment is bigger than the body part. The garment flows over your body and there is space between you and the garment.

Any loose fitting garment will have positive ease. The more positive ease there is, the more room there is between the body and the garment.

negative ease​

When the garment is smaller than the body part. The garment needs to stretch to fit your body.

This causes the garment to cling and to minimize the garment’s movement.

Socks require negative ease so that they don’t slide right off your feet. Body suits, very fitted tops and leggings all have negative ease.

zero ease​

When the garment is the same size as the body part.

The cuff of a mitten may have zero ease while the hand part will likely have slight positive ease, whereas gloves often have slight negative ease on the hand.

ease variations​

Even a garment that states it has a certain amount of ease is usually referring to the amount of ease around one measurement. The ease for the rest of the garment will be different unless the shaping of the garment following the shape of the body exactly.

For example, most sweaters measure ease around the bust. If the bust has a bit of ease, usually the rest of the sweater will have more ease. A sock needs to stretch over the ankle and fit the calf, the smallest part of the ankle will have a looser fit than the rest of the sock.

wearing ease

This is the amount of ease you need to actually wear a garment and be able to move comfortably in it and still have it stay on your body. Garments that hang from your shoulders can have any amount of ease (within reason) as long as they allow movement (so not too much negative ease) because the shoulders hold the garment on your body.

Garments that fit around a body part that gets narrower. as you go down need negative ease to hold the item on your body, like a sock or a waist band if your waist is not narrower than the parts just below it.

design ease

Design ease is how the designer has created the garment to fit. Once wearing ease has been taken into consideration, design ease is what determines the look of the garment and how it is meant to be worn.

This is the ease that allows you to look at a garment and say, hey that’s from the 50’s or that’s from the 80’s. The 50’s was characterized by skin tight tops (zero or negative ease) and full skirts (zero ease at the waist and pouffing out into tons of positive ease.

The iconic 1980s big boxy sweater (with lots of ease) paired well with the big hair, big shoulders and baggy pants. There was more positive ease in the 80s than you can shake a stick at.

If I choose knit a sweater with a lot of positive ease in a size far smaller than the recommended size for my measurements, the sweater may fit me with enough wearing ease, but it will not hang like the sweater pictured in the pattern. It will not give me the right look.

Eastern European knitting

See: Continental Combined Knitting

This is another name for a combination of Western knitting and Eastern Purling.

hands making Eastern European stitches

Eastern knitting

This refers to how a knitter enters a stitch and how they wrap the stitch when forming it. This ancient form of knitting is practiced in many Arabic countries and countries with a strong Arabic influence, in some Eastern European countries and in parts of South America.

Eastern (or Western or Combination) knitting is independent to the style of knitting (Continental American/English or Portugese). Instead it describes how a stitch is formed and as a result how the formed stitch sits on the needle.

Eastern stitches have the leading leg (the leg closer to the tip of the needle) at the back of the needle, while Western stitches have the leading leg at the front of the needle.

Eastern knit

To create an Eastern knit, go into the leg on the back of the needle (the leading leg in this case), wrap the yarn by moving the yarn up from behind, around the needle and down in between the needles, and pull through the old stitch.

Eastern purl

To create an Eastern purl, go into the back leg of the stitch from left to right, bring the yarn up between the needle tips, up over the needle and down to the front.

Once worked, the stitches are indistinguishable from Western knitting,

Eastern Crossed

Eastern Crossed knitting produces twisted stitches, but they twist in the opposite direction of the twisted stitches produced by knitting through the back of Western stitches. Eastern stitches cross with the front of the stitch crossing from the bottom left to the top right whereas Western twisted stitches cross from bottom right to top left.

To create Eastern Crossed stitches enter the stitch through the front (like in Western knitting) and wrap the yarn the same way as you do when doing Eastern knitting.


In pattern directions, edges refer to the sides of your knitting when you are knitting (knitting in the round obviously does not have edge stitches).

How you treat the side edges of your knitting will affect the finished project.

Different edges work better for some projects and other edges work better for others.

Here is a great discussion on edges on the Knit with Henni blog [https://knitwithhenni.com/2020/06/07/selvedges/].

(aka selvedge)​

Edge stitches also refer to the balancing stitches added on one or both sides of pattern stitches when knitting flat.

More generally, the term edges refers to any edge of your knitting, the
sides, the beginning or the end, anywhere that the fabric ends.


Strips of knitting (decorative or practical) knitted on or sewn onto a fabric edges.

Edgings can be added to any edge of the project, sides, cast on or bind off edge.

They can be knitted as the project is worked, they can be added by picking up stitches and then working the edging from there or they can be a finished strip of fabric sewn onto the finished edge of the project.

  • Some edgings are worked across live stitches, adding a decorative edging and binding off the end of the fabric at the same time.
  • Other edgings create a button band or buttonhole band. ​
  • Sometimes an edging is worked all the way around a finished project.


There are two types of elasticity: yarn elasticity and pattern elasticity

yarn elasticity

Yarn elasticity is dependent on the fibre that a yarn is made form.

This refers to the ability of the yarn to stretch and then bounce back. Elasticity in yarn allows for easier knitting and means that the fabric will bounce back to it’s original shapes after washing. This is particularly important in garments meant to be worn with negative ease such as socks. Socks stretch out of shape with wear, but go back to their original shape after washing.

Wool has a lot of elasticity and cotton has almost none.

pattern elasticity

This refers to the elasticity of the stitch pattern (or cast on/bind off).

Ribbing for example is a very elastic stitch pattern while linen stitch is a very inelastic stitch pattern.

Elastic stitch patterns are great when a garment has to stretch over a larger body part to put on (for example socks need to stretch over the heel) and then snap back to hug a smaller body part.

Inelastic stitch patterns are great when you need sturdiness and for the fabric to hold its shape under pressure. Using linen stitch for the strap of a bag, for example is a great way to minimize the stretch of the strap.


e-loop (aka Backwards loop) is a simple, cast on usually used in the middle of the work. It is not very sturdy cast on, but in the middle of a project this is usually not an issue. I have also seen this cast on used for a very loose cast on for some shawls.

The yarn is looped from the outside of the thumb and back towards the palm in between the thumb and index finger. The right needle slides up the outside of the thumb, and slides the loop off the thumb. Then the procedure is repeated for each stitch cast on.

elongated stitches

(aka dropped stitches, horizontal dropped stitches)

These are stitches that incorporate more yarn than a standard stitch. The yarn is usually wrapped around the needle two or more times when forming the stitch, or that yarn is added before or after the stitch by adding a yarn over. This extra yarn is dropped on the next row or round elongating the stitches.

Elongated stitches can be used across a whole row or section, leaving lacy, open stitches or they can be worked across a background of stockinette or other stitch as decorative elements a with


Embroidery on knitting can be used for practical purposes as well as for decorative stitches.

Duplicate stitch is often used for weaving in ends or fixing errors.

You can add small pops of colour without having to do intarsia or without having to strand the yarn all through the rows or rounds for the sake of a few stitches. with embroidery.

Most embroidery stitches can be done or adapted to knitting.

Traditional Bavarian knitting incorporated embroidery and for a more contemporary look, see Anna Zilboorg’s amazing book, Splendid Apparel: A Handbook of Embroidered Knits

Emily Ocker’s cast on

(aka pinhole cast on)

This is a centre out cast on that borrows from crocheting.

After making a loop, using a crochet hook and do a single crochet (US) (or a double crochet – UK) stitch for each stitch that you cast on. Transfer the stitches to your needles and work the first few rounds. Then pull on the yarn end to make the hole disappear. This is also known as the magic loop (or magic ring) cast on in crochet.

This is also known as a magic loop or magic ring cast on in crochet.


end (row with)

If you see “end”, in a row (or round) instruction, it usually means “end the row with”.

Row 3: *K2, p1, repeat from *, end k2.

After working as many full repeats of k2, p1, you should be left with 2 stitches, knit them.

end (with this row or round)

If you see “end” in the description of a set of row (or round) instructions, it usually means follow these instructions until you have worked the row mentioned. For example,

Work rows 1 and 2 until the piece measure 15 cm (6″), end with row 1.

This means to repeat the instructions working row 1, then 2, then 1, then 2 and so on until you have 15 cm. Make sure to end after a row 1 instruction, do not work the row 2 instruction.

end (yarn)

A yarn end is sometimes referred to as just an end. The is the bit of yarn that hands out at the beginning or end of your yarn strand that you work into your project. These ends are almost always meant to weave in to secure them so that they don’t come undone. Occasionally, ends are incorporate into fringe or other decorative elements.

end of row/round (EOR)

This is where you are after you have finished working the last stitch of the row or round.

English style knitting

In this method of knitting, the knitter holds the yarn in the same hand as the working yarn (usually the right hand).

This is also sometimes called throwing (though not all English-style knitters throw their yarn), right-handed knitting, .

This style is very common in the UK and in North America.


Even usually refers to working the rows or rounds with no more shaping increases or decreases. This instruction is usually given after instructions for increases or decreases are completed, just to clarify that you should not be doing further shaping.

When you see the instruction “work even”, continue in the established pattern (whatever patterning you were doing
while shaping) but stop doing the shaping. This will result in the fabric having straight sides (except for undulations due to the pattern.

Work even also is sometimes used when there is no shaping whatsoever in the project to indicate that there is no shaping. In that case, just work the patterning as described without adding or removing stitches.


This usually refers to increasing or decreasing across a row or round.

You want to make the increases or decreases as evenly distributed as possible,

In general, divide the number of stitches on the needles by the number of increases or decreases (X).

If working in the round make one increase or decrease every X stitches.

If working flat, divide X by two, work that many stitches, then one increase or decrease every X stitches. This will give you the same number (give or take 1) stitches on each edge.


a knitting technique that creates pattern resembling interlaced woven strips. The technique is worked in diagonal short row rectangles. First you work the rectangles facing one direction all the way across the row or round, then work you work the rectangles in between on the return row (or next round).

brown toned entrelac knitting on white background


Errata are corrections of errors (hence errata) for published patterns. These are generally errors found or clarifications needed after the pattern was originally published.

If you have purchased a printed pattern (leaflet, magazine, book) or an older version of the a digital pattern check for errata before starting the project. Errata are usually noted on the publishers or the designer’s website and on the pattern page Ravelry.

extreme knitting

Extreme knitting usually refers to working with extreme materials: vary large to gigantic needles and yarns. Julia Fink has examples of extreme knitting with stitches the size of her head. [https://jacquifink.com/] This can include arm knitting (where you use your arms as knitting needles) and yarns that are either roving (unspun yarn) or yarn composed of many strands of regular yarn.

very llarge purl stitch blanket on couch

Sometime extreme knitting also refers to knitting under extreme conditions (while sky diving, scuba diving, marathon running or rock climbing) or to knitting that is extreme in its complexity (such as non-mirrored double knitting) , miniaturization [https://www.altheacrome.com/gallery]or materials (knitting with glass, sort of [https://www.carolmilne.com/], or instant noodles [https://www.cynthiadsuwito.com/knitting-noodles.html])


Eyelets are individual, deliberate holes created by working a yarn over.

An eyelet pattern in knitting generally has only a few holes distributed over the fabric as opposed to lace knitting which refers to more yarn overs arranged in more complex patterns or motifs.

This entry was posted in General, Knitting Dictionary, and tagged dictionary.

What kind of knitter are you?
Find out!