Binding off your knitwear

Knitted sweater, binding off

There are some techniques in knitting that are vital to know. One of them is to cast on, another is to be able to bind off your knitwear properly. If you bind off too tightly, the sweater or blouse will be difficult to get on and off. But binding off too loosely can also give the blouse an unwanted look - who wants a rib that is not tight enough? In this blog post you can learn to bind off your knitting projects nicely and consistently.

When you're done knitting

Once you've reached the end of your project, whether you are knitting a sweater, a blanket, a pair of socks or something else, it's crucial that you master the finishing technique. If you cannot bind off properly, you may risk that the project you have been spending months making, unravels and then you’ll have to start all over. There are several different ways to bind off, each with its advantages and expression. Which method to use depends on what you knit and what expression you want.

You can risk binding off your knitwear too loosely or too tightly - this can result in an overly tight bind-off, that can break or will prevent you from using your knitwear.

It can be difficult to bind off in mohair - so if you need to knit e.g. Fluffy Fluffy Sweater it is a good idea to read the blog post here first - so you can choose which bind-off technique you want to use.

Binding off techniques:

Standard bind-off - The most used technique for binding off

The mostly used binding off technique can be used with any type of knitwear and is incredibly easy to learn - perhaps the easiest part of knitting at all! To get a looser closure, you may want to bind off with a larger needle than the one you knitted with or make sure to knit loosely on the very last row.

Read here and get Önling’s step by step guide on how to bind off:

Step 1:

Knit 2 stitches - If you are knitting garter stitches, you bind off by knitting two normal garter stitches, while with ribs, you knit garter over the garter stitch and purl over the purl stitch.

Step 2:

Insert the left needle into the first stitch you made on the right needle and pull the stitch back over the front stitch and let it go.

Step 3:

Now you have only one stitch on your right needle. Knit another stitch and pull your second stitch over the third one, just like you did in step 2.

Step 4:

Repeat the process all the way around, until there is only a single stitch left.

Step 5:

When you reach the last stitch, pull the yarn through the stitch and tighten, then attach the thread.

If you prefer to watch a video instruction, you can use this video lesson from Knit Purl Hunter: 


Picot bind-off

Picot bind off is a decorative bind-off that gives small spikes along the edge. To create a picot bind-off with spikes, you will continuously cast on new stitches and then bind off. This can be very decorative for shawls, but also useful for socks and hats, as the picot bind-off is also elastic. 

How to make a picot bind-off: *Cast on 2 new stitches using a knitted cast on. Bind off 4 stitches using the standard bind-off described above. Slip the stitch from the right needle to the left needle.* Repeat from * to * till all stitches have been bound off. 

If you prefer to watch a video instruction, you can use this video lesson from Knit Purl Hunter: 

I-Cord closure

Decorative bind-off technique e.g. with a new color. We use the i-cord technique in Emma shawl and Cozy cardigan.

Cast on the indicated number of stitches for the I-cord (unless you are starting with the stitches of an already established I-cord). Slip the I-cord stitches onto the needle to the right of the stitches to be bund off, so that the working yarn hangs between the I-cord stitches and the stitches to be bound off. 

Slip the working yarn behind the I-cord stitches to begin work. Knit to the last of the I-cord stitches, slip the last stitch knitwise, knit the first of the edge stitches, then pass the slipped stitch over. 

*Do not turn work. With the yarn in back, slip the stitches just worked back onto the left-hand needle. Slip the working yarn behind these stitches to begin work. Knit all but the last of these same stitches once again, slip the last stitch, knit 1, pass the slipped stitch over.* 

Repeat from * to * until all the edge stitches have been bound off. Unless otherwise stated, bind off the remaining live stitches of the I-cord itself.

This bind off is a bit more complicated, so fortunately Knit Purl Hunter has also made a video lesson for I-cord bind off: 

Elastic closure (stretchy bind-off)

Work this bind-off rather tightly. K2, insert left needle into both stitches from left to right and k the 2 stitches together through the back loop. *Work 1 stitch (there are once again 2 stitches on the right needle), insert left needle into both stitches from left to right and k the 2 stitches together through the back loop*. Repeat from * to * till all stitches have been bound off. 


Once you have finished your knitwear, you are ready to put on your new sweater / hat / blanket and get started on a new, exciting knitting project. Read our other blog posts here on the site where we will continue to publish posts about knitting techniques. See already the first post and learn about how to knit with multiple colors.

At Önling's web shop you can buy high quality yarn in many different qualities and materials, inspirational knitting patterns in Nordic design, books and knitting accessories. We ship world wide.