When you get to the end of your knitting what do you do? Learn how to end knitting – AKA binding off or casting off.
It feels so good to reach that last row of your knitting project and think – I’m done! But, not so fast. All of those stitches still need to come off the needle, so how do we do that?
This process of ending knitting is commonly called binding off or casting off. These are the two terms you might see on a pattern. It might say “cast off all stitches” or “bind off 2 stitches at the beginning of next 2 rows”. We will use the terms interchangeably here to refer to the process of closing a knit stitch or purl stitch so that it is no longer “live” and able to become unraveled.
First, let’s look at some common questions you may have about a knit bind off. Then, we will get into the details of how to accomplish this vital step.
Common Questions about Binding Off
This process of closing off the stitches so that they cannot be unraveled is called binding off or casting off. To do this, you work a couple of stitches (usually in the same stitch pattern you were using for the last row, sometimes the pattern will specifiy) and then jump the first stitch over the second. Work another stitch and jump the first over the second and repeat. We will take a closer look at this process further down.
Remember, the term “cast off” is the same as “bind off” and is the way we end knitting. As mentioned above, we will work a couple of stitches at a time and jump one over another. If you are working stockinette stitch or garter stitch you would want to bind off in the stitch pattern. Some pattern instructions will tell you to “cast off in rib” or “cast off knitwise”.
Not unless you take out the bind off row. You will need to take out the row where you finished off the stitches and place the live stitches back on your needles. If you’ve already cut the yarn tail, you will need to join a new strand from the working yarn.
Not having a good bound off edge is a one of the common knitting mistakes that new knitters make. You have to work the stitches in a way that keeps them from coming apart, and there are several methods to bind off, but every knitting project has to have some way to keep the stitches secure.
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Knit Bind Off Video Tutorial
In this video tutorial, I will teach you step by step how to bind off/cast off knitting. The skill level for this technique is beginner and it’s a skill every knitter has to know.
How to End Knitting (Photo Tutorial)
You might see this as BO for bind off. Usually CO is not used at the end of a project as it means “cast on“.
It’s important not to knit these stitches too tightly, as this will not allow any stretch in your cast off edge. This takes some practice, so it’s a good idea to start with some easy projects that don’t have to stretch (like a dish cloth or scarf).
Begin on a new row and work the next 2 sts. For this example, we are using garter stitch so we will knit them.
Now, insert the left needle into the first stitch and “jump” it over the second stitch and off the needle.
You now have only one stitch on the right needle.
Work one more stitch (again, we are knitting here but it doesn’t matter if you knit or purl, it just depends on the pattern). Then, insert left hand needle into the first stitch and “jump” it over the second stitch and off the right hand needle as before.
Repeat this process until there is only one stitch remaining.
When you only have one stitch left, cut a long yarn tail. Wrap the yarn tail around the knitting needle and “jump” the last stitch over it.
Then, pull the yarn tail through and pull tightly. Now you’re ready to weave in that end!
See, it’s pretty simple! This is definitely one of the basics that’s important to learn when you are starting out with knitting.
Tips for a Perfect Bind Off
The biggest thing is going to be not working that edge too tightly. Like I mentioned above, it takes practice to get a perfect bound off edge, and don’t let it bring you down if your first couple of attempts aren’t perfect. It’s definitely a journey!
If you find that you do keep binding off too tightly, it’s possible to help that by binding off with larger needles. Just change to a size or two larger when you are ready to bind off – it can really help keep consistent tension on a bound off edge.
Remember you will never have more than two stitches at a time on the right needle. If you do, then you forgot to “jump” one over and need to undo the stitches you worked after two. Once you get going and have one stitch on the right needle, you will always knit one, then “jump” one until you get to the end.
If you have trouble pulling the yarn tail through that very last stitch, it’s okay to take your needle out and make that stitch big enough for your fingers to reach in and grab the tail. I do this often just because I don’t feel like trying to pull the yarn tail through a small stitch.
You can also use a crochet hook to help “jump” the stitches over if you are having trouble with this part. Sometimes they tend to slip off and a crochet hook can grab them and help pull one stitch over the other.
You Might Also Like These Other Knitting Tutorials…
Brand new to knitting? This is the first step!
This is seriously the easiest cast on ever!
- Yarn of choice
- Knitting needles appropriate for yarn weight
- Begin on a new row and work the next 2 sts. For this example, we are using garter stitch so we will knit them.
- Now, insert the left needle into the first stitch and "jump" it over the second stitch and off the needle. You now have only one stitch on the right needle.
- Work one more stitch (again, we are knitting here but it doesn't matter if you knit or purl, it just depends on the pattern). Again, insert left hand needle into the first stitch and "jump" it over the second stitch and off the right hand needle.
- Repeat this process until there is only one stitch remaining.
- When you only have one stitch left, cut a long yarn tail. Wrap the yarn tail around the knitting needle and "jump" the last stitch over it. Then, pull the yarn tail through and pull tightly. Now you're ready to weave in that end!
It's important not to knit these stitches too tightly, as this will not allow any stretch in your cast off edge. This takes some practice, so it's a good idea to start with some easy projects that don't have to stretch (like a dish cloth or scarf).
Today we learned how to end knitting with a bind off. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial!