Now you’ve learned how to cast on knitting, mastered the knit stitch and made some knitted fabric, it’s time to finish off your piece of knitting to give a neat edge. This is called casting off, the opposite of casting on. Some patterns will call it ‘binding off’ instead – these are usually US ones. When you come to the end of your knitted item, it’s important to cast off properly, to make sure all the knitted loops you’ve worked don’t unravel.
There are lots of different ways to cast off, but the one shown below is the simplest cast-off technique and the one that you’ll use most. To learn how to cast off knitting, you’ll first need to cast on some stitches onto your left needle – about 22 stitches is a good number to practise with, using double knitting (DK) yarn and a pair of 4mm needles. Then just knit a couple of rows in garter stitch before casting off all the stitches.
Remember to try not to hold your needles too tightly or to pull the stitches too tightly as you go. If the cast-off is too tight, it will bunch up and won’t lie flat. Don’t worry if your casting off looks uneven – just try again. Undo your work, cast on some more stitches, and give it another go!
How to cast off knitting: step-by-step guide
You Will Need
- Knitting needles
Knit the first two stitches
Start by knitting the first two stitches of the row as normal, but don’t go any further along as you usually would.
Lift the first stitch over
Insert the left-hand needle through the first stitch on the right-hand needle, as shown. Lift this stitch over the other stitch on the right-hand needle and off the needle point.
Knit the next stitch and repeat
Knit another stitch so you have two on the right needle again. Use the left needle to lift the first stitch over the second stitch, as shown in step 2. Repeat this process all the way to the end of the row.
Cut the yarn and pull through
When you only have one stitch left on the right-hand needle, cut the yarn about 15cm away. Feed it through the last stitch and pull through firmly to fasten off.
You’ve learned how to cast off knitting and your fabric is off the needles – hooray! If you’re following a pattern you’re now ready to block your knitting to make it look its best, and follow any further instructions for making up.
Next, why not discover more knitting techniques with our complete guide to knitting for beginners?
Knitting patterns for beginners
Ready to cast on your first project? We have lots of free beginner knitting patterns for you to choose from!