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Binding Off In Knit: A Video Tutorial

 When I was knitting the St. Patrick's Day pattern from Holiday Knit Dishcloths last week, I noticed the bind off instructions.

And it got me thinking.  When I first started trying more crochet patterns, I used to panic at the phrase "finish off" because it just seemed like I should be doing so much more than pulling my hook out of its singular loop and tying a knot.  "Finish off" sounded like a huge task I should perform with some ceremony.  Or maybe a weapon.  But nope.

Remove the hook from your work:

Tie a knot:

Ta da! You have finished off a crochet project.  (You monster.)

Binding off, however, is different.  You're still knitting a row.

You need to have plenty of yarn still on hand.

And sometimes, you have to do it in a knit.

Okay, I shouldn't be dramatic.  Binding off all stitches ("stitches" = "sts" in patterns, by the way) in a knit usually just means that if you're working knit stitches, you'll keep working in knit stitches as you're binding off.  If you were purling, your instructions could tell you to "bind off on the purl side" or something similar.  Some patterns just say "Bind off in pattern."
But binding off in knit stitches is its own special lesson, and that's what we're talking about today.  So here's the video tutorial:


There, see?  Nothing too crazy at all!  It's like one long row of decreasing, or passing a stitch over the stitch just worked.  Honestly, you could bind off every knitting project you ever made just like this for the rest of your very long life and very few people--if anyone--would look at your bind-off edge and know that you worked your bind off in knit stitches and not whatever other technique the pattern called for.  And if they did, who cares?  Who inspects bind-off edges?

(Do you do that?  Please let me know if you do.  I'm very curious as to why, out of all the quirks most of us have, checking bind-off edges is yours.)

So!If you don't know how to bind off, now you do.  Obviously, learning tons of different ways to do something is always ideal.  But binding off all stitches in knit is a really great way to simply finish off a project and now you can do it!

8 thoughts on “Binding Off In Knit: A Video Tutorial”

  • Deborah Hamilton

    I don't inspect bound off edges, but I have found out the hard way that a cabled projects should be bound off in pattern, which means binding off the stitches as the next row would be made. This makes them look SO much better than if it's all bound off in knit only. I learned it the hard way.

  • Peggy

    On a dishcloth if the last row in your pattern is the wrong side and you bind off in knit in the next row, the bind off chain will fall to the wrong side. If your pattern ends on a right side row, bind off in purl and the chain will fall to the wrong side. The dishcloth seems to look better with the bind off rolling toward the wrong side. I still have problems with having the first and last stitches looking "squared" off. Any hints?

    • Goodenough

      Try knitting two together for the first two stitches and the last two before you pass the stitch over to get them to square off. I do that to the last two stitches all the time so it does not leave that "pulled out" look and leaves less lf a lump when you weave in your tail.

    • Peggy

      Thanks so much! I will give it a try, as I make many dishcloths and baby washcloths (with really soft cotton yarn) for gifts. These little projects are perfect for me. Love all the patterns on Ravelry and from various Leisure Arts Booklets I have purchased.

  • Jen Howe

    I have a bad habit of looking at everything a person knits. The binding off is one of them. The reason is I have been looking for a way to not have the knot sticking out and unfortunately I'm a critic with my work and working it in and down and hidden drives me crazy. I had started hand sewing it in. I close the work with a stitch and maybe a couple more and weave in my yarn. I don't think I'll be doing that now since I really like Goodenoughs suggestion. That sounds fantastic and so much quicker than my way. I think looking over others work you might see something they did and you can ask them how it was done and how difficult and such. So you could say I'm just looking to improve myself. My neighbor from England had a way of sewing sweaters together that I would never do. Sides together and about a 1/2" in she used big stitches to sew them up. I cringed. BUT... she won ribbons at the County Fair. I didn't understand. She saw my way and it looks like almost they were knitted together on the outside and well stitched on the inside... she was amazed and said it looked like to much trouble. Since she was winning ribbons why change? So I guess the way you do is your way... I'm just an old fussbudget from the old days I guess.

  • Peggy

    I did a sample and tried your way of beginning and ending the cast off row, Goodenough! It works beautifully! Thanks again for the wonderful hint. I like you, Jen, am a critic, particularly of my own work, and never liked the cast off row. I too tried several different ways of using a tapestry needle to "sew" it in, etc. Not any more!

  • Jen

    I feel like I should be adding something to these comments, but I'm just in awe of this 'K2TOG on both ends' business. Genius. It's been really interesting to see what everyone thinks of cast-off techniques!

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