Casting-off 1: Knitted, Elasticated and Crochet

There are as many ways to cast-off/ bind-off (b/o) as there are to cast-on and getting it right may make the difference between producing a much loved favourite-wear garment or a disappointing wardrobe stuffer. Taking time to learn and become comfortable with the different effects produced will help you to determine which you wish to use in any situation. Here are three easy techniques to start you off;

Knitted
– easy, quick, neat, tight. Best suited to areas that don’t require stretch, like shoulder shaping or pocket tops. For a looser b/o change up to a larger needle – ideal for scarf ends.

  1. Work the first and second stitch (st) of the row, in pattern (i.e. knit the knits or purl the purls), from the left-hand (LH) to the right-hand (RH) needle.
  2. Place the tip of the LH into the first st, now on the RH needle, from left to right and front to back, as if knitting it.
  3. Lift the first st with the LH needle over the second st and drop it off both needles.

    Lift the first stitch over the second

    Drop the first st off the RH needle, over the second st

  4. Work the next st in pattern so that you have two st on the RH needle again.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until all the required st have been worked from the LH needle.
  6. To b/o the last st remaining on the RH needle (not required if casting-off a central portion) remove the needle and enlarge the st so that the remaining yarn can be threaded through from left to right and pull tight.

    Draw out last st

    Pull yarn through to knot off

    RS knitted cast off

    WS purl cast off

  7. For an interesting gartered effect try knitting-off the purl side or purling-off the knitted side.

    Purl cast off on K side

    K cast off on P side

Elasticated
– easy adaptation of the above b/o, neat and quick but looser, maintaining the elastic tension of the pattern below – ideal for necklines.

  1. Work the first st from the LH needle as normal.
  2. Work the next st from the LH needle but do not let it drop off.
  3. Use the LH needle to lift the first st from the RH needle over the second and drop it off.

    Place LH needle into 1st st on RH needle

    Lift 1st st over 2nd

    Drop 1st st off RH needle

  4. Now allow the last worked st on the LH needle to drop off.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 and knot off the last st of the row as above.

Crochet Cast-Off
– very neat, flat, not too tight, can be used as a platform to work a fancier crochet border.

Double Crochet (UK)/ Single Crochet (US)

  1. Using the crochet hook of the same or slightly larger diameter as your RH needle work a knit or purl in the first st as the pattern demands (like a chain st).
  2. Work the crochet into the next st on the LH needle in accordance with the pattern.
  3. Wrap a loop of yarn and draw through both the st on the LH needle and the st on the crochet hook.
  4. Drop worked stitches from LH needle and crochet hook.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until all st have been worked from the LH needle and knot off as above.

Treble Crochet (UK)/ Double Crochet (US)

  1. For a treble/ double crochet effect wrap a loop of yarn around the crochet hook before placing it into the next st on the LH needle.
  2. Pull a loop of yarn through the LH needle st and the first loop on the crochet hook.
  3. Drop the worked stitches from the LH needle and crochet hook.
  4. Wrap and pull a further loop through the two remaining stitches on the crochet hook.
  5. Drop the worked stitches so only one st remains on the crochet hook.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 till the end of the row and knot off as before.

Photo’s and text copyright ©onehandknits (Anna Richardson) 2010. Not for redistribution.

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About Onehandknits

I am a former doctor now designing knitwear and teaching in SE London.
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