How to Cast-on and Bind Off Stitches

Mis à jour : 10 nov. 2020

Casting On Stitches is the most important step when it comes to knitting. This step determine the number of stitches you will be able to use, the width of the project, but also which method to use for binding off stitches. Some cast-on and bind off works together and give consistency to your knitting. Here, I explain to you how to knit them and what are their characteristics so that YOU choose what suits your knitting, what makes it consistent from one end to the other so you can get neat and pretty finishes. This article is in constant construction, new cast-on and bind-off will be added from time to time. By becoming a member of the site, you will receive automatic notifications of its update.


Cast-On Methods


The knitted method


The knitted method is the method I prefer to teach to first-time knitters. It allows to familiarize yourself with the management of needles, their weights, the thread, the fact that it is everywhere and that it might slides. Even if we only have 2 hands and 10 fingers and we think we know how to use them, it turns out that when we learn something new we find ourselves completely incapable of using them 😥. The knitted cast-on is prepared like a knit stitch, it makes it beautiful to see on both sides of the knitting. It is resistant and solid but it is also quite elastic! This characteristic is important. Beginners often, because they are afraid of seeing the stitches slip, tend to tighten the stitches a lot. Then as they progress in their knitting they gain confidence and the tension is released. The problem is that if the cast-on is very tight, it becomes narrower than the rest of the knitting which is not beautiful. In this video 👇 I show you how to make sure that your cast-on is elastic but also regular. The regularity of the cast-onis another way of ensuring that your project looks nice. That's the 2nd advantage. The cast-on is only one row in a knitted fabric, it remains visible so it seems a good idea to do it right from the start.

The knitted cast-on is a repetition of 6 step:

  1. insert the needle,

  2. wrap the yarn around,

  3. draw the thread in the stitch,

  4. put the stitch on the other needle,

  5. insert again the needle,

  6. tighten the stitch.

Steps 5 and 6 will ensure the elasticity and regularity of your cast-on. Finally, but not least, the main advantage of starting with the knitted method is that when you understand steps 1 to 3, you know how to work the knit stitch!

Learning this cast-on allows you to learn at the same time the knnit stiche, the knit stitch is the most used knitting stitch. This stitch and the cast-on are the 2 things you need to know as a beginner.



This last piece of information is for confirmed knitter, the knitted method can also be used to add stitches at the end of a row or at the armpit when working a sweater in the round.


The Garter Tab Method


I did show you this picture in an earlier post about blocking your knits.

It's about 2 mini shawls, worked the same way except for the cast-on. What a difference we can already see !!!

The first shawl has a "full" bottom edge looking way nicer than the "crease" from the second shawl. For the second shawl, I did the most simple cast-on possible. There is no matter to fill-up the space. I'm working over a single line of stitches while the top shawl has a more content.


The garter tab cast-on gives that more full, nicer and cleaner effect.


A garter tab cast on consists of knitting a band in garter stitch (TADAAAA) and then pick up stitches on the long side of this band to finish picking up stitches again on the cast on.


Here is the video I made showing you how to do it, especially if you choose to knit the Climbing Vine Bandana!




I'm also going to tell you how to can substitute and use this cast-on as long as the project has 2 sides made in garter stitch.

  • Find out how many stitches you have to cast-on.

example : 15sts.

  • Find outt how many stitches are used for 1 border.

example : 3sts arre used for the garter stitch border.

  • Calculate the number of ridges you need to get in garter stitch.

number of ridges (x) = (sts to cast-on) - (sts used in 1 border x 2)

example : x = 15 - (3x2) = 15 - 6 = 9 ridges.


How to:

Cast-on 3 sts.

Work 19 rows un garter stitch (knit all the stitches of all rows).

Garter stitch create creases and ridges. Work in garter stitch until you can count 9 ridges on the left side of your work.

The yarn is at the end of the row, don't turn your work, rotate your work 90° to the right.

With the right needle, pick-up and knit 1sts in every one of the 9 ridges.

Rotate once more your work to get to the cast-on, pick-up and knit 3sts in the cast-on.


On your left needle, you should have 15stitches: 3 for the border, 9 in the center, 3 for the second border

Bind-off Methods


In knitting, unlike crochet, the stitches remain available to be knitted as long as they are not cast off. They are called "live stitches". If you remove your needle before this step, the stitches will slip, fall apart and you will have lost all your work. Binding-off is used to block the stitches on the last row and to close your knitting. Like the cast-on, there are many methods: elastic, decorative, resistant to friction ... Depending on the use and the position of the bind-off, you will have to choose the most suitable.

Traditional Bind Off


Traditional bind-off is the easiest to master. This bind-off is worked when there are 2 stitches on the right needle which have been knitted as they appear (as knit or purl stitch or following a pattern) and to pass the first stitch (the most right) over the second (the leftmost one). To start your bind-off at the start of the row (in garter stitch for example):

  1. knit the first 2 stitches,

  2. with left needle pick-up the most right stitch,

  3. pass it over the leftmost stitch, to remove it from the moving stitch from the right needle.

There is 1 stitch left on the right needle.
  1. knit the following stitch,

  2. pick the most right with the right needle,

  3. pass it over the leftmost stitch.

Keep repeating those 3 steps 👆 until there is only 1 stitch left on the right needle.

Cut your thread (leaving a 2 to 4" tail, or longer if you sew), pass this tail into the last live stitch. Gently pull on the thread to tighten the last stitch and YOU . ARE . DONE .✨✨.

This video is here to help you too :



Last advice, the traditional bind-off is not very elastic. So don't over-use your thread when knitting the stitches. By tightening too much, you will tighten your knitting, in the case of a rectangular scarf you will get a trapezoid ...


Stay calm and give plenty of yarn to your stitches

Jeny's Surprisingly Strechy Bind Off


This bind-off method is very practical when it comes to finishing ribbings.

The principle of the ribs is to have elasticity (on the sleeves, collars, top of socks ...), it is therefore important to maintain that caracteristics when binding off your work.

Other bind-off, like this one 👆, tend to lack flexibility.


The irst thing you can do to have a stretchy bind off, is to work the stitches as they come.

  • knit the knit stitch,

  • purl the purl stitch,

  • and bind them off 1 at the time.

This alone will already help your knitting. But for an extra touch of elasticity, you can add a "yarn over" between each stitch. The only difficulty is that your yarn over must bring your thread to the front or the back of your knitting depending on the stitch to come.


All the details to help you achieve this bind off are here 👇👇!



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