To finish a knitted tube, such as an ear warmer or headband, you can bind off in the round on circular needles. A “standard bind off” on circular needles allows you to end your knitted work with a smooth edge. You can use any type of needle to take live stitches off circular needles (circulars, straight, or a DPN) – all you will need is one needle tip in the correct size.
Before you start, remember to loosen up:
This 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.
Below you will find both video and written guides to help you learn how to bind off on circular needles.
Video Guide: How to Bind Off in the Round on Circular Needles
Written Guide: How to Bind Off in the Round on Circular Needles
Bind Off on Circular Needles, Step 1:
Following the pattern you have been using for previous rows, knit the first two stitches of your last row.
Bind Off on Circular Needles, Step 2:
Insert the left needle tip into the front loop of the first knit stitch on your right needle from front to back.
Bind Off on Circular Needles, Step 3:
Lift the first stitch on the right needle up and over the second stitch on the right needle.
Bind Off on Circular Needles, Step 4:
Pull the second stitch on the right needle through the first stitch on the right needle.
Bind Off on Circular Needles, Step 5:
Slide the left needle out of the stitch on the right needle.
Bind Off on Circular Needles, 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 on Circular Needles, Step 7:
Following your pattern, work the next stitch off your left needle and onto the right needle.
Bind Off on Circular Needles, 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 on Circular Needles, 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 on Circular Needles, Step 10:
Lift the first stitch on the right needle over the second, leaving only one stitch on your right-hand needle.
Bind Off on Circular Needles, 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 on Circular Needles, 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
Ready to try it?
My Beginner Knit Ear Warmer Pattern will ask you to bind off in the round at the end of the project.
My Basic Ear Warmer Pattern uses this technique, as well.
You’ll knit the larger sizes in the round on circular needles, so you can practice this standard bind off.
The “Magic Loop” is a knitting method that allows you to knit small tubes in the round on long circular needles. This style is a great substitute when you don’t feel like using double point needles (DPNs). Find out how to knit in the magic loop with the next lesson.