How to Cast Off Knitting

How to Cast off Knitting? So, you are done knitting but can’t figure out how to cast off knitting? Don’t be anxious because you are not alone in this. Most novice knitters feel excited about their WIP, but it gets challenging to complete them.

The good thing is that you can learn how to cast off knitting whether you are a beginner or expert knitter. You can explore the numerous options for beginners and use one that meets your needs to finish your project.

To know more about casting off, let’s delve in. 

What is ‘Casting off’ in Knitting?

How to bind off in knitting
Image source: Spruce Crafts

How do I cast off in knitting? When learning how to knit, you need to start and complete a project. While this may seem easy, it can be difficult if you do not have clear instructions. You may get caught up in the confusion of ‘cast off’ and ‘bind off’ terms.

Unlike crochet, knitting has a whole row or round of live stitches. If left in that state, your knitting project will unravel and make your efforts unavailing. That’s why you need to learn how to end knitting through casting off.

What is casting off? Casting off refers to taking stitches from a needle via looping each over the next to finish knitting. It allows you to complete your project, leave it intact and add woven labels or care labels to enhance your work.

What is the difference between casting off and binding off? Just like football vs. soccer, loo vs. bathroom, and trousers vs. pants, casting off and binding off refer to the same thing. The only distinction is that finishing an edge in the US is binding off while in the UK is casting off.

Cast off Knitting Techniques

How to finish knitting
Image source: Knitting Universe

After learning how to cast on knitting, you need to master cast-off techniques to complete your projects. Similar to casting-on, binding-off has numerous methods you can use according to your skill level and project type. Here is how to finish off knitting

    1. Super Stretchy Bind off

Learning how to knit socks? If yes, here is an ideal technique to end those toe-up socks. Super Stretchy cast-off is a great and easy-to-follow method you can learn within a short time if you are a novice knitter. It is more appropriate in shawls that require stretching and other projects such as socks, mittens, gloves, and cuffs. 

It also offers you an edge with a snap that you can pull, and it easily goes back to shape. While it’s straightforward, you can only use it in specific projects. For instance, you cannot use it in knitting work that should be snug. 

      2. Three Needle Bind Off

Three Needle bind off is an advanced cast-off technique that loops stitches over each other in two needles simultaneously. Most knitters apply it when using the circular needles to knit hats, socks, or any other round project. It is a great technique for seams since it does not show on the outside. To knit such projects, check this guide on how to join knitting in the round.

      3. I-Cord Bind Off

If you are working on a project that requires a sturdy edge, I Cord bind-off will do great. It provides a strong end and gives shape to your sweater and cowls. This cast-off creates a tube that is neat and decorative, making your work unique. 

The I-Cord’s edge can withstand wear and tear and therefore is suitable for different projects. While it is time-consuming, this technique gives your work a clean look. Learn how to knit a sweater and complement it with this bind-off.

      4. Tubular Bind Off

Tubular bind off is a variation of the Kitchener stitch that knitters use to cast off ribbing projects. It is stretchy and therefore suitable for sleeve cuffs and sock ribbings. It leaves a neat finish on projects. 

      5. Picot Bind Off

Looking for a stretchy and decorative bind off? Picot bind-off gives a snap to your project. It also beautifies your knitting by adding picots. Most novice knitters use it to finish knitting shawls since it is simple and takes less time.

      6. Standard Bind Off

This technique is versatile and can adapt to different projects’ needs. For example, you can use it for knit-purl patterns and other projects that require a bit of stretching. 

While it’s not suitable for bottom-up sweaters or toe-up socks because it does not stretch enough, it’s perfect for other projects. For instance, scarves, shawls, and non-wearables like bags and dishcloths.

      7. Sloped Bind Off

Some bind-offs leave a hampered edge on your work which can be frustrating. If you need a clean and smooth slope instead, you can use the Sloped bind off for a sweater or other fitted garments. This method also offers you a seam with stitches that are easy to pick.

      8. Lacey Bind Off

This cast-off does great in wide gauged patterns, such as the Lace pattern. It is over-stretchy, preventing the edge from bunching up at the bind off. It adds some flair to your knitting, although it is not good for close-fitting garments.

You can also learn how to finish knitting through other bind-offs. For example, Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Better Bind Off, Lori’s Twisty Bind Off, Suspended Bind-Off, and Icelandic Bind-Off.

How to Cast Off Knitting for Beginners

Are you a novice who wants to learn how to end a knitting project? You can start by choosing from the numerous options of simple bind-offs to close your knitting. Below are instructions on how to tie off knitting.

This video can also help you learn casting off faster.

    1. The Standard Cast Off

Standard bind off
Image source: Knit Freedom

Step 1. Knit Two Stitches

In this technique, you start by knitting the first two stitches. This step moves the stitches from the left to the right needle.

Step 2. Standard Bind Off

    • Insert the left needle’s tip into the (first) stitch closer to your right hand. 
    • Lift the first stitch above the second stitch and off the right needle. Then pull the left needle from the wrap to bind off. 
    • Knit another stitch from your left needle onto the right needle to have two stitches.

Step 3. Repeat step two until you have no stitches on the left needle. At this point, you will only have one stitch on the right needle; you can end your knitting.

Complete the project by cutting the yarn while leaving a 15 cm end. Then using your fingers, pull the last stitch to create a big loop and insert the dangling yarn through it. Slide the needle out and pull the yarn to tighten it. 

      2. Stretchy Cast Off

Stretchy cast off in knitting
Image source: Pinterest

Step 1. Knit Two Together

This bind-off plays a significant role when learning how to knit a scarf. To execute the stretchy cast off start by knitting your first two stitches together to the right needle. After that, you will remain with one stitch on the working needle.

Step 2. Slip the Stitch

Slide the left needle under and up the stitch on the right needle. Then pull out the working needle from the stitch.

Step 3. Repeat steps one and two until you have no stitches on the left needle. 

      3. Picot Bind Off

How to work a picot bind off
Image source: Baroque Purls

Step 1. Cast On

Start by casting on two stitches on the right needle. You can use a straightforward technique such as the Single cast-on. 

Step 2. Knit the Casted Stitches

    • To knit the two stitches:
    • Slide the needle behind the first stitch, yarn over, and tug the new loop through.
    • Slide the left needle out of the stitch.
    • Repeat this for the second stitch.

Step 3. Bind Off

    • Slide the left needle into the first stitch on the right needle and move it over the second stitch. 
    • Slide off the first stitch from the left needle while you loop over the second stitch. 

Step 4. Knit One Stitch

    • Knit one stitch and slide it onto the left needle to have a total of two stitches. 
    • Slide the second stitch over the initial stitch using the left needle
    • Pull off the left needle to remain with one decorative stitch on the right needle.

This step helps you make picots that leave a decorative edge on your knitting.

Step 5. Repeat steps one to four until all the stitches on the left needle are over and you have one stitch on the right needle. 

These techniques are easy to follow and take less time though you need to practice to ensure you get better results in knitting. You also need to learn how to close knitting since there will be a loose yarn even after you bind off.

Technique

Features

Standard cast-off

A bit stretchy and can adapt to different projects’ needs.

Stretchy bind-off

Highly stretchy and good for toe-up socks.

Picot cast-off

Decorative and is suitable for projects such as shawls and scarfs.

Intermediate and Advanced Cast Off Knitting Techniques

After mastering the simple bind-off methods, you can try out more complex techniques to achieve different looks on your project. Below is how to cast off stitches in knitting using intermediate and advanced cast-offs

    1. I-Cord Cast Off

How to end in knitting
Image source: Knitting Nuances

Step 1. Cast on Stitches

Start by casting three stitches on the left needle above the existing ones. You can apply the Backward Loop cast-on when executing this step.

Step 2. Knit Two Stitches

    • Knit the first two stitches at a time. 
    • To knit, slide the working needle from the front and up the first stitch.
    • Yarn over the working needle’s tip and pull the wrap through the stitch and out.
    • Slide the left needle from the stitch to remain with one stitch on the right needle
    • Repeat this process on the second stitch to have two stitches on the right needle.

Step 3. Knit Two Together 

    • Insert the working needle into the first two stitches in a front and up direction.
    • Yarn over and slide the two off the left needle to remain with three stitches on the right needle.

Step 4. Slip Stitches

To continue in the technique, slip the three stitches on the working needle onto the left needle. 

Step 5. Repeat steps one to four to end the project.

While this method leaves a clean look on the knitting, it consumes much time. When learning how to knit a blanket or sweater, you can apply this technique to decorate your project. 

      2. Invisible Ribbed Bind Off

How to tie off knitting
Image source: Knit Freedom

Step 1. Cutting Yarn

Start by cutting yarn that measures three times the width of the project. Then thread into a tapestry needle.

Step 2. Work from right to the left as you insert the tapestry needle purlwise through the first stitch and pull the yarn through.

Step 3. Insert the tapestry needle into the second stitch (from left to right) and pull the yarn through. 

Step 4. Using the tapestry needle, slip the first stitch from the knitting needle and insert it into the next stitch purlwise. Then pull the yarn through.

Step 5. Slide the first stitch from the knitting needle purlwise and bring the tapestry needle to the back of the next stitch. 

Step 6. Insert the tapestry needle into the next purl stitch knitwise and pull the yarn through. 

Repeat the above steps until you end the knitting. This technique is suitable for neckbands because it adds a rounded edge with high elasticity.

      3. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Bind Off

How do you cast off in knitting
Image source: Stylish Knitting

Also known as the Sewn bind-off, this method is elastic and leaves a ropy look on your projects. How do you cast off in knitting using the Sewn bind-off?

Step 1. Cutting Yarn

Similar to the Invisible cast-off, start by cutting yarn that measures three times the width of your knitting and thread it onto the tapestry needle.

Step 2. Ensure you are working from right to left, insert your tapestry needle purlwise into the first two stitches, and then pull your yarn through.

Step 3. Take the needle and slide through the first stitch from left to right.

Step 4. Pull the yarn through and slide this stitch from the knitting needle. 

Repeat the process until you end your knitting. This technique is easier compared to the Invisible Ribbed cast-off. That’s why most knitters prefer it as they transition from beginner to intermediate level.

How to Bind Off Knitting in the Middle of a Row

How to end a knitting row
Image source: New Stitch a Day

When learning how to knit a hat (Growltiger hat), or buttonholes, you need to cast off stitches at some point amid your work. You will also need to bind off in the middle of a row to create necklines and armholes in sweaters. 

For such parts, you can apply bind-offs according to the pattern, although there is one challenge that knitters face; the gap before the first cast off. You can eliminate this by beginning with a lifted increase. Then, the stitch will create a smooth and neat cast-off edge.

How do you bind off in knitting in the middle of a row? 

Buttonhole Bind Off

Step 1. Knit the last stitch before you start binding off. Then slip the new stitch onto the left needle.

Step2. Knit into the slipped stitch to make a lifted increase. 

Step 3. Knit the next stitch in the left needle

Step 4. Pass the increased stitch over the second stitch and out of the right needle

Step 5. Continue binding off normally until you finish the specific number of stitches. 

This technique is suitable for making buttonholes and the Growltiger hat. It’s fast and easy to follow. So, if you are looking for a simple bind-off after learning how to start knitting, you can try it out.

How to Finish a Knitting Project; How to Cast Off Knitting Scarf

Red knitted scarf
Image source: Knitfarious

Searching for how to end a knitted scarf? Here is a precise guide on how to complete knitting a scarf.

Step 1. Binding Off

    • After you finish knitting the last row, apply the standard cast-off to bind the scarf’s edge. This process will leave you with one stitch on the right needle. 
    • Cut the working yarn a few centimeters away (20cm), then adjust the stitch to pass the yarn through it.
    • Pull the yarn to tighten the knot on the last stitch.

Step 2. Weave in Ends

When knitting, you may cut yarn several times for effective knitting, especially when changing colors or patterns. You need to do away with all these loose yarns while ensuring all the stitches are secure. 

    • To accomplish this, start by threading a loose yarn into your tapestry needle.
    • Hold the tapestry needle with your thumb and pointer finger on the eye. It will help you keep the thread in place.
    • Identify a close stitch, then weave in the yarn, insert the needle and pull the yarn through.
    • Insert the needle on the next stitch from the opposite side of your scarf and pull the yarn through.
    • Repeat the weaving process until the loose yarn is too short to weave anymore.

Step 3. Repeat step two until all the loose yarns are weaved in to complete your project. If you want to decorate your scarf, you can learn how to add fringes

Conclusion

Learning how to tie off knitting is fundamental in creating exceptional knitted garments. You can choose from different bind-offs depending on the edge you prefer and your skill level to avoid straining.

Some of the simple techniques you can apply include standard cast off, stretchy bind off, and Picot cast off. You can also use intermediate or advanced methods such as I-Cord cast off, Invisible Ribbed bind off, and Sewn cast off. 

After binding off the knitting, ensure you close the last stitch and weave in loose ends. You don’t want your sweater to unravel. Did you get an idea of how to finish knitting your project? 

Terms

Meaning

Knitwise 

Working from the left to right

Purlwise

Working from right to left

Tie off knitting

Refers to closing knitting.

Bind off or Cast off

Ending a row of chains through yarning them over each other.

 

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