As we’ve been doing work backend on the website I realised I didn’t have a tutorial for the standard method of casting off…. and seeing as I use it in a multitude of ways I figured I’d better rectify that!
1) In this example I’m casting off in the round across garter stitch, but the same will apply if you’re working flat and with whichever stitch pattern you’re using.
Firstly, grab yourself a spare needle that’s bigger than the one you’ve used for the main part of your knitting. This cast-off method can be a bit tight, and a larger needle helps keep it loose. If you’re going to be picking up stitches from it then you’ll need a much larger needle than you’d normally use.
2) Insert the larger spare needle into the first stitch of the stitches that will be cast off
3) Wrap your working yarn around the needle and pull it through, just as you would to make a knit stitch
4) and do the same on the next stitch – knit it with the larger needle and slip it off the right hand needle.
5) You’ll now have 2 stitches on the left hand needle.
6) With the tip of the right hand needle, lift the first stitch up and over the second stitch and take it off the needle
7) You’ve just cast off your first stitch and you’ll see it creating the start of the cast-off chain.
8) Insert the larger needle into the next stitch and repeat steps 4 to 7 until you have only one stitch remaining on the left hand needle.
9) You have now cast off all the stitches! We now need to close the bind-off and finish this very last stitch.
10) Slip this very last stitch off the needle and enlarge the loop slightly, and break the yarn leaving a reasonably long yarn tail – we’ll use this for weaving in ends or sewing short seams, depending on where you’ve cast off and your pattern instructions.
A number of tutorials will tell you to pass the yarn tail through this loop and tighten to close off the bind-off. However, I find this creates a really loose tension at the end, so I suggest you don’t do that. If you’re picking up the stitches from the back of the cast-off chain then threading the yarn tail through maintains more of the structure of the last stitch, but otherwise I don’t recommend it.
11) Instead, keep extending the loop. You’re going to pull the yarn tail up!
12) And now you’ve completely finished the bind-off! Weave in all ends, block as instructed etc.
If you’ve a question about this technique, pop it in a comment below or visit the forum! I’m unable to offer help with patterns or techniques via email.