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Basic Bind Off's

Bind Offs

(video links now slowly being added)

While there are any number of ways to Cast on, there are, to my knowledge, there are far fewer ways to bind or cast off—but there are still more ways to bind off than you might think!

Standard Bind Off

This is the most common bind off:
K1 *K1, pass first knit stitch over just knit stitch, K1. Repeat from * till there are no more titches to knit, cut or break yarn, pass tail of yarn through last knit stitch loop and pull closed.

This Bind off, and all the variations of the basic bind off, result in a chain stitch edge.

This edge with roll to front if worked in knit stitches, and to the back--if worked in purl stitches, and will not roll when worked in alternating knits and purls.

Variation of the Basic Bind off include:

Binding off in Pattern-instead of knitting each stitch, work stitch as it appears (knit or purl as case may be--such as bind off in ribbing.)

3 Needle Bind Off--with a three needle bind off, 2 pieces of knitting are held parallel, (right sides face, or wrong sides facing--depending on desired finished effect) in the left hand.

The 2 pieces of knitting are JOINED together, and bound off at the same time. Both pieces of knitting must have an equal number of stitches, such as shoulder seams in a sweater

To bind off using the 3 needle bind off: make a stitch by working the first stitch from front piece and the first stitch of back piece of knitting together. *Make the next stitch the same way, and then pass the first stitch over the second, (as in standard knitting)

A 3 needle bind off can be done with the RIGHT (out/public) side of the work facing (and the bind off will be on the wrong side of the work) or with the WRONG (inside) facing each other, and the bind off will create a raised row of chain stitches on the RIGHT(out/public) side of the work. This can be particularly attractive for joining panels of knitting—for sweaters or for hats, or for panelled afghans.

Lori's Twisted Stitch bind off--another variation of the basic bind off.. But just as twists add stretch to cast on, the twisted stitches in this bind off make it stretcher--and less likely to roll either to front or back  This bind off is excellent for ribbing.

Russian Bind Off

* P2tog tbl, return the resulting stitch to left needle --stretching the stitch (loosening tension) on it as you do so. Repeat from *, till there are no more stitches to knit, cut or break yarn, pass tail of yarn through last knit stitch loop and pull closed.

Tunisian Stitch bind off

K2tog, return stitch to left needle, and repeat.  this bind off is less stretchy than most--its good to use on shoulders to stabilize.  It's also a good choice for back  neck and shoulder edges, or for pockets, where it can act as a 'stay stitch' and prevent stretching.

Crochet Bind Off

Both the Standard and Russian bind offs can be done using a crochet hook in the right hand instead of a knitting needle. A crochet hook 1 or 2 sizes larger than the corresponding knitting needle helps keep the bind off loose and stretchy, with out looking sloppy.

In addition, a crocheted cast off is often used for lace bind offs. Especially in the case where a number (3 to 7 or even more) of stitches are worked together, (KX tog) and then the yarn is used to create a crochet chain stitch between the grouped stitches. This leaves an attractive picot like edge.

Picot Bind Off

An other variation of the standard Bind off.
Bind off a number of stitches (2 to 5), cast on a number of stitches. (2 to 5)  then bind off the newly created stitches and some more. You start by binding off a few stitches.--Standard bind off.  Put the single stitch on right needle, back on to left needle, and using the knit cast on, cast on (2 to 5 stitches) then  bind off the just cast on stitches, and a  number (2 to 5) more. 

Or work as this person suggests-using a cable cast on.  I think small (2 or 3 stitch picots) look best.. but huge ones --made with bulky yarn can create an interesting edge. 

It looks best when numbers are paired and consistent --bind off 3, *cast on 3, bind off 3 just cast on, and 3 more.(6 bound off) repeat from *.

This video demo's a super picot (3 sets of cast on/bind off).. but smaller picots can be made by just making a single picot (cast on 2, bind off those 2 --plus 3 more.  

Another method to make a Picot bind off  uses  a crochet hook in the right hand (not a knitting needle) bind off X, chain 2 (or 3). Crochet together last chain stitch with last bound off stitch, (to make a small open loop picot) continue bind off

A nice detail is to make sure the picots are centered --even if you have to do 1 or 2 more (or fewer) plain bind off stitches at the beginning and end of the row.

Other Bind Off's

The Icelandic Bind Off

Almost a standard bind off--but with a twist or too.  it creates a interesting edge--there is another way of working this bind off--which is the Out of Order bind off.

Tubular or Grafted Bind Off

Particularly suited for 1 X 1 ribbing, a tubular bind off is identical in appearance to a tubular cast on.
To enhance the appearance, work 2 or more rows of simple double knitting before grafting.
Simple double knitting is normal worked over an even number of stitches:
* K1, bring yarn forward (as if to purl), slip 1, bring the yarn back (as if to knit) repeat from * (pattern is worked the same on all rows.)
When worked on odd number of stitches, end with a K1, and on row 2, start with a slip stitch and end with a slip stitch.

The grafted bind off can be done 2 way:

1—divide the work in the last round of simple double knitting so that half the stitches are on 1 needle and half are on a second needle. Then follow a standard directions for grafting

2—The grafting can be done without dividing the work—see this Video for directions.

Sewn (aka EZ’s sewn/back stitch bind off)--to match a standard long tail

A sewn bind off is the closest in appearance to Long Tail cast on. It’s done by sewing a form of a back or double stitch—which is 2 stitches forward, 1 stitch back. 

1-After working last row, cut yarn, leaving a tail at least 3 times longer than edge to be bound off. --a 20 inch length of knitting will need about 60 inches (+) of yarn.) Thread tail onto tapestry needle. 

2-Pass tapestry needle through Stitch 1 and Stitch 2 on needle, placing the tapestry needle as if to purl, 

3--Then pass the needle through the first stitch on needle, as if to knit, and let the first stitch fall off needle

4-Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the new stitch 1 and 2.

When the last 2 stitches are reached, sew through them twice. Break yarn and weave in 

If working in the round, a stitch marker in the first stitch dropped is helpful—the last stitch bound off can be sewn together with the first to make a jogless finish. 

Here is a link to a still photo tutorial...

Sewn, To Match Latvian (aka Open/Closed loop) Long Tail

This Video is short, and not the best, but.... It shows how to do a Sewn bind off to match this popular cast on.

Drawstring Bind Off

Cut yarn, leaving a tail of 6 or more inches
Thread tail onto tapestry needle and starting at stitch 1, pass tapestry needle through every stitch. Repeat once. Then working slowly and gently pull drawstring tight, (knot) and weave in tail.

All bind off methods run the risk of being tighter than the rows of knitting that proceed. But this is especially true for knitted bind offs.

If you have trouble keeping your bind off loose and stretchy, try using a right hand needle (for Standard, Russian or crocheted bind off) that is 2 or 3 sizes larger than the needle used for the knitting.  Or replace the right hand needle with a crochet hook.

OR use one of these stretchy bind offs:

Jeny's Super Stretchy bind off

Dolly's Mock I-Cord bind off --Another double chain bind off that matches her double chain cast on--bind off starts at about 6:50)

Helen'sdouble chain bind off (similar, but not as stretchy)

Icelandic bind off or Out of order bind off)--these are indentical results, with different processes.

Edging (as bind off)

Many laces are not bound off at all (in the conventional sense) but are finished by knitting on edging. The outer edge of the lace forms the ‘bound off edge’, on the inner edge, the last stitch of the edging pattern is a K(or P)2 tog, that eliminates the ‘live stitch”.

The simplest edging is I-cord.
--Finish last row of knitting, cast on 3 (use simple, knit or cable cast on) then using a single DPN in right hand, (usually 1 to 2 sizes larger than size use to knit the piece), *K 2, then K2tog.

Slip  these stitches to main needle and repeat from * until all stitches have been bound off, and only 3 I-cord stitches remain. Bind these three stitches off (standard bind off or your choice.)

The i-cord can be larger (cast on 4 or 5 stitches,) but the process is the same--the last stitch of I-cord is knit together with next stitch to be bound off.

The list of edging (besides I-cord) that can be used, fills books.
(see Nicky Epstien’s Knitting On the Edge and Knitting Over the Edge for several hundred examples of edgings.)

Is an option for finishing knitting with out having a bound off edge
“Life stitches”--from a provisional cast on, can be grafted to the last row of knitting. to make a seam-less join, (there is also a grafted bind off--but grafting can be used to join flat knitting into a tube--a cross wise knit tube.

The last row of knitting can also be grafted to a bound off edge (
half grafting) or to a conventional cast on, such as Long tail.

Half grafting can create a seamless look—but provide more support and have less stretch than a grafted seam. The back shoulder of a knitted lace sweater can be bound off—to provide a sturdy, not to stretching edge—the front shoulders can then be grafted to the bound off stitches. This will create a seamless look with more support, and a less stretchy shoulder seam. 

See Cast on Reference list many of the these cast ons are also available in these books as well.

Note: There tricks and persnickety details to make the last stitch bound off look nicer--Both for flat knitting and when binding off in the round.

The LAST STITCH  can sometimes be wonky... a little over sized, and 'fly away' there are solutions.

Here is one 

Here is another

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