After making a pattern of knits and purls, you will want to take your stitches off the needles in a way that matches the rest of your piece. Following the design of the previous row as you bind off creates an edge that blends with your work.
In this lesson, I’ll show you how to do a standard bind off while following a pattern. This method works on both flat knits as well as items knit in the round.
This sample is made with a knit, purl rib stitch pattern, which is just a swatch I made to show you this technique. If you would like to make it as well, you can follow these instructions:
Use US No. 7 (4.5mm) knitting needles and worsted weight cotton yarn.
Row 1: Cast on 14 stitches. Turn.
Rows 2 – 10: *knit, purl* x 7. (14 stitches)
Row 11: Bind off in pattern. Cut yarn leaving an 8-inch tail and pull through.
Before you start, remember to loosen up:
Keep in mind that the standard bind off tends to be a bit tight, so you may want to loosen up your tension when knitting this last row. Many patterns will specifically tell you to “bind off loosely,” to remind you to adjust the tightness of the stitches.
Or, go up two or three needle sizes:
Instead of adjusting how tightly you knit, you can also switch needle sizes. Try moving to a needle that is two or three sizes larger than the one you have been using for the rest of the pattern. This allows you to keep the same knitting tension in your yarn as you cast off, while still loosening the bind off stitches enough to match the rest of the piece. Some patterns instruct you to switch needle sizes for the last row, to help you ensure your ends are more even.
Video Guide: How to Bind Off in a Pattern
Written Guide: How to Bind Off in a Pattern
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 1:
Following the pattern you have been using for previous rows, make the first two stitches of your last row. In this example, knit one, then purl one.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 2:
Insert the left needle tip into the front loop of the first stitch on your right needle from front to back.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 3:
Lift the first stitch on the right needle up and over the second stitch on the right needle.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 4:
Pull the second stitch on the right needle through the first stitch on the right needle.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 5:
Slide the left needle out of the stitch on the right needle.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 6:
At this point, the first knit stitch should be anchored onto the second, and only one loop should remain on your right-hand needle.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 7:
Following your pattern, work the next stitch off your left needle and onto the right needle.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 8:
In the same manner as before, lift the first stitch on your right-hand needle over the second stitch, drawing the second stitch through the first, leaving only one stitch on your right-hand needle.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 9:
Repeat steps seven and eight until you have reached the last two stitches and freed the left-hand needle from your work.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 10:
Lift the first stitch on the right needle over the second, leaving only one stitch on your right-hand needle.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 11:
Set your work down, leaving the knitting needle in the last stitch. With very sharp scissors, clip the working yarn about eight or ten inches away from your last stitch. This will free your work from the ball of yarn.
Bind Off in Pattern, Step 12:
Pull the yarn tail through to anchor it in; do this by enlarging the last stitch with your knitting needle until the tail slides completely through. The loop will become a straight loose end.
Practice With My Knitting Patterns
If you’ve been following my lessons, you now have enough information to knit all of the washcloths and face scrubbies in my Simple Washcloth Knitting Pattern Collection. Happy knitting!
Now that you’ve learned the basics, let’s work on perfecting your skills. In the next lesson, we will learn how to make stitching more even by improving knitting tension. (Tutorial coming 3/13/2021).