Casting Off

So now you have finished your lovely knitting project - but how do you get it off the needles? Just like casting on there are many ways to cast off too. 

Cast off edges can be firm, stretchy, decorative and even sewn. Your project pattern should give you some indication of the best cast off method to use.

  • Knitted Cast Off - also known as the traditional bind off. Gives a firm, smooth edge
  • Lace Bind Off - produces a stretchy, flexible edge. Ideal for lace projects
  • I-Cord Bind Off - gives an attractive, rounded and flexible edge
  • 3 Needle Bind Off - used for grafting 2 sets of live stitches together

Knitted Cast Off

This is one of the most commonly used methods of casting off knitting, and it produces a nice firm edge. For a looser finish you may want to go up a needle size.

1. Knit the 1st and 2nd stitch

2. Insert the left hand needle into the front of the first stitch on the right hand needle and lift this over the 2nd stitch

3. Knit the next stitch on the left hand needle

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you get to one remaining stitch on the right hand needle

5. Break off the yarn leaving a tail long enough to weave in

6. Thread the yarn through the last stitch and pull to close

Lace Bind Off

This cast off technique creates a lovey stretchy edge, making it an ideal choice for lace projects.

1. Knit 2 stitches together through the back loop

2. Slip the stitch just made back to the left hand needle, purlwise

Repeat these 2 steps to the last stitch.

Handy hint: As you get into the flow of this cast off you may find it easier not to pull the right hand needle right out of the stitch when transferring it back to the left hand needle. 

Instead take the tip down and insert it straight into the back of the next stitch on the left hand needle, before knitting the 2 stitches together through the back loops

I-Cord Bind Off

This bind off takes quite a bit longer than other methods and uses more yarn, however it does give a lovely, clean and professional finish. 

It creates a nice elastic edge and is good for necklines and cuffs etc.

In this demonstration I am casting off with a contrast colour

1. Cast on 3 stitches using the knitted cast on method (see cast on tutorials for instructions)  

2. Knit the first 2 stitches

3. Insert the right hand needle into the back loops of the 3rd i-cord stitch and the 1st stitch of the original knitting. 

4. Knit these 2 stitches together through the back loop5. Transfer the 3 stitches on the right hand needle back to the left hand needle taking care not to twist them*Repeat steps 2 - 5

*You may find it easier to transfer these stitches in one go by inserting the left hand needle into the front of all 3 stitches on the right hand needle and then sliding the right hand needle out (see the video at 2:45 for a demonstration)

The I-cord Bind Off

3 Needle Bind Off

This is a great way to bind off 2 sets of live stitches without the need for sewing. It creates smooth join and a solid seam.

In this demonstration I am binding off the 6 stitches for each loop of the Chain Reaction shawl. 

1. Hold both sets of live stitches, with the right sides facing together in your left hand, lining them up so that the first stitches to be worked are at the tips of the needles.

2. Using a third needle, insert through the front legs of the first stitches on both needles.

3. Wrap the yarn round and bring through both stitches, knitting them together at the same time.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the next stitch on the front and back needles.

5. Using one of the needles in your left hand, lift up the first stitch on your right hand needle and pull it over the 2nd stitch - binding off 1 stitch.

6. Repeat steps 2 - 5 until you reach the end of the row, or section that requires binding off. When you get to the very last stitch, cut the yarn and pull this through the stitch to close.

Top: 3 Needle Bind off - Right Side, showing the joined stitches

Bottom: 3 Needle Bind off - Wrong Side, showing the seam