How to Stop Knitting: Bind Off or Cast Off
A Free Knitting Lesson from Liz @PurlsAndPixels
Once you’ve finished knitting a pretty project, you will want to know how get your work off the needles. You will need to “bind off” or “cast off” the piece. There are several ways to end a knitted project, but here I will show you the basic bind off.
Tips & tricks: Keep in mind that this bind off tends to be a bit tight, so you may want to loosen up your tension when knitting the bind off stitches. As I bind off, I will usually switch to a needle that is two sizes smaller than the one I’ve been using for the rest of the pattern. This allows me to keep the same knitting tension in my yarn as I bind off, while still loosening the bind off stitches enough to match the rest of the piece.
Basic knitting bind off – Video tutorial
Basic knitting bind off – Written instructions
For this basic knitting bind off, you’ll continue to follow the pattern you have been working when you make your last row, except you’ll add an extra step. You will make two stitches in the knitting pattern, then pass the first stitch over the second, then slip it off the needles. Slipping the first stitch over the second keeps the first row from unraveling. You’ll make another stitch in the pattern, then slip the second stitch over the third. You’ll always have two stitches on your needle as you bind off, until you come to your last stitch. On the last stitch, you can cut your work free from the ball of yarn (leave a tail to weave in). Pull the tail through the stitch to keep the last row from coming undone. Now you can weave in your ends.
For example, let’s assume you’ve been working in only knit stitches. For your bind off row, knit two stitches. Lift the first stitch up and over the second stitch, then off the needle. One stitch (the second knit stitch) should remain on your right needle. Knit another stitch. Lift the first stitch on your right needle over the second knit stitch and off the needles. Continue to knit one and pass the first stitch over the second until only one stitch remains. Pull this final loop until it is 6-10 inches long, then cut it. Your work should be free of the yarn skein now and you should have a 6 – 10 inch tail left hanging from your knitted piece.
If your pattern includes purls as well, you’ll want to follow the pattern for the last row. For example, if your pattern is *knit, purl* repeat, you would bind of by knitting 1, purling 1, then slipping the knit stitch on your right needle over the purl stitch. Continue knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches while binding off. When your piece is fully off the needles, cut your yarn, leaving a tail to weave in. You’ll usually want to leave between 8 and 10 inches for a tail, but your pattern may tell you a specific length.
You can now bind off knitting for most of your beginner projects. Next, learn how to tie or weave in your yarn ends here.
Learn a few more advanced bind off tricks in my How to Bind of Knit Mittens lesson.