Once you have finished knitting a project, you will want to know how get your work off the needles. You’ll need to “bind off” or “cast off” the piece to secure your last row of stitches in place. There are several ways to end a knitted project. Here I will show you a basic bind off, commonly known as the “standard bind off.” This method can be used on a wide variety of knitted items.
A standard bind off chains together the stitches in your last row so you can remove them from your needles without your work coming undone. To finish your knitted piece, you will work the first two stitches of you last row. Then, you’ll slip the first stitch over the second, which will start removing stitches from the needles and keep them securely in place.
Here, you will learn to bind off in only knit stitches. Later, after you have learned the purl stitch, you can learn to cast of a piece that was made in a pattern of knits and purls.
Before you start, remember to loosen up:
Keep in mind that 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.
Video Guide: How to Bind Off Knitting
Written Guide: How to Bind Off Knitting
The steps below assume you have been working in a pattern of only knit stitches (garter stitch). Find a free sample pattern to follow here; it is a face scrubby made of only knit stitches. If you have been knitting in a pattern of knits and purls, make sure to follow your pattern as you bind off.
Bind Off, Step 1:
Following the pattern you have been using for previous rows, knit the first two stitches of your last row.
Bind Off, 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, Step 3:
Lift the first stitch on the right needle up and over the second stitch on the right needle.
Bind Off, Step 4:
Pull the second stitch on the right needle through the first stitch on the right needle.
Bind Off, Step 5:
Slide the left needle out of the stitch on the right needle.
Bind Off, 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, Step 7:
Knit the next stitch off your left needle and onto the right needle.
Bind Off, 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, 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, Step 10:
Lift the first stitch on the right needle over the second, leaving only one stitch on your right-hand needle.
Bind Off, 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, 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
Knit along with me and practice your knit stitches with my Free Beginner Face Scrubby Pattern.
If you would rather try a longer pattern, my Free Beginner Scarf Pattern is made entirely of knit stitches, as well. Because it has more stitches in the pattern, it will take longer than a scrubby to finish.
Once have learned to take your knitting off the needles, you will have a couple of loose ends to take care of. Next, you can learn to weave in and tie off the ends on your flat knitted piece.