How to Cast Off

If you’ve made it to this article, you’ve already come a long way with your knitting. Once you’ve finished the knitting your first piece of a sweater or a blanket, it needs to be cast off. In American English, this is called bind off. This process basically means creating an outer edge around your knitting that will keep your great project from unravelling. This page will teach you how to cast off (or bind off) your knitting. I will first explain the basic bind off process with words and step-by-step images on how to bind off and I’ll show it to you in a short video at the end of the article. If you are only interested in the video, just scroll down to the end of this site.

How to Cast Off Knitting

To start to cast off, slip the first stitch from the left hand needle to the right hand needle. Do this by putting the needle into the first stitch as if to knit it and pull it off the left needle. Now you will have one stitch on your right needle.

Now take the second stitch from your Knit the left needle and knit this second stitch. So you will do a normal knit stitch with this second stitch. Now you will have two stitches on your reight needle as shown in the picture below.

Taking the point of the left needle, insert it into the slipped stitch on the right needle, from the front and from left to right. Carry that stitch forward over the second stitch on the right hand needle and let it go.

Cast off start
Binding off: take the first stitch (from behind) from the right needle and move it over the second stitch.
Knitting casting off pass stitch over
… and let it go.

You have just cast off the first stitch.

Now you need to knit the next stitch so that there are again two stitches on the right needle. Again, using the left needle, pick up the first stitch and lift it over the second stitch and off the needle. You have just cast off your second stitch.

Carry on casting off one stitch at a time like this until you reach the last stitch. Cut off the yarn leaving about 6 inches for sewing in and pull the end right through the last stitch.

Casting off last stitch

That’s how to cast off on a knit row.

How to cast off in purl or rib stitches?

Sometimes you will need to cast off in purl or in rib. In these cases the principal is exactly the same. Make the stitches, either knits or purls, and lift the first stitch over the second one at a time as above.

The binding off is achieved by lifting the first stitch over a second stitch on the needle and releasing it. This cross-pattern will guarantee that your knitting will not unravel once finished.
Tip: Make sure not to bind off your stitches too tightly as that might contract the shape of your knitting. If you tend to knit too tightly, use a one size larger needle to bind-off.

Knitting Casting Off, or Binding Off, Video

This video demonstrates how to bind off (or cast off) your knitting. Click the video to start playing.

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Now your first knitting piece should be finished. Congratulations! If you are knitting a sweater or a cardigan, check out our article with videos on how to attach the sleeve to the body here.

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