Casting off

Hi. I’m writing from Australia. I find this site absolutely amazing in terms of it’s help and guidance. You refer to ‘binding off’ but here we tend to say “casting off”. My problem is that when I case off that edge become really quite loose. I have tried casting off in a lower size needle but it still doesn’t help. I’m currently making a quite large mohair toddler’s blanket in a modified moss stitch (2 rows K, P, K, P etc and then 2 rows P, K, P, K…) using 5mm needles which I think are 7 1/2 or 8 in US size. So, its softer and looser than a tight knit. I’m worried about casting off and having a very loose ‘end’. In the past on smaller items I’ve had to sew and bind in ends with the same yarn as I’ve used to make the item but since I keep having this problem I thought I’d seek your advice. My knitting itself is very even in tension so the best I can thinking of doing is to work the last couple of rows in a smaller needle but this item has taken me a long time to complete and I don’t want to ruin it. I’d love any tips readers can offer.

Welcome to the forum. I can’t help you because I have to use larger needles to bind off in order to prevent it from being too tight. I’m one of the gurus here will be able to help you.


Welcome to the forum. :waving: Unfortunately I tend to cast off tight too, so I’m no help. :shrug: Sorry. You may want to post your question on the how-to page. BTW we say cast off as well as bind off.

:muah:  :hug: 

Nadja xxx

Knitty discusses various BO/CO techniques here and here. I, too, cast off too tightly and when I do toe-up socks, I generally have to go several needle sizes bigger (like from US 1s to US 6s) to get the darn sock over my heel.

You mention sewing - are you referring to a sewn bind off? Like Kitchener? If not, you might want to try that, since it’s independent of needle size.

It could be that you’re noticing that the cast on and cast off are different. The only way to get them to be the same is to do a provisional cast on and then bind/cast off both edges.

If it’s too loose, though, I’d try a smaller needle or one of the other techniques. If you don’t like the way it looks, it’s not going to ruin the blanket since the stitches are easy to take back out.

Hi! Thanks for responses so far. Interesting that most people who’ve commented have problems with too tight cast off. When I mentioned sewing that was a bit misleading but I basically meant running a length of yarn through the top when I have cast off…sort of in and out like you sew and ‘tightening’ a little that way. I’ve looked at some of the cast off techniques on the site and I found the kitcheners technique?? a little hard to follow but I will watch the video a few times and see if I can absorb it better. I think I need to try and knit up a swatch and experiment a little. But this blanket is something like 230 knitting stitches so I want to ensure I’m fairly ‘right’. I might also try the other forum as suggested. Thanks again :slight_smile:

Oh, the provisional cast on technique is something I have never seen before this site so that’ something yet to experiment with.

One of the problems I’d have with unpicking this or undoing stitches (if I get wrong) is the fact that the mohair I’m using is really very very ‘wispy’ and the fibres can rub together and adhere very quickly.

You could try castingoff in just knit, rather than the moss stitch pattern. I usually use a larger size to BO with too, but with ribbing (alt k/p, same as moss) it does flare out a little and so use the regular needle size.


If you want the cast on and bind off to look the same, there are two ways:

1.) Use Ingrid’s idea of using a provisional cast on and binding it off.

2.) Cast on by long tail, and then bind off by Elizabeth Zimmermann’s “Casting on Casting Off.” It looks exactly like long tail!

I use #2, but that’s just me. Do what’s most comfortable and easy for you!

What is this cast on/cast off? Is it in a book? On a website? I’d be interested in hearing about it. Thanks!


Hi Suzeeq, I actually always cast off the same. I use the knit one, knit another, slip the first over and off technique. Any describes it on her site here. It’s the only technique I’ve really ever used. I tried a purl variation once and didn’t like the look. But I always obtain a flare in doing the knit cast off.

Hi again contiknitter :slight_smile: Like rissa I’d need a link but the fact I’m 3/4 way through item now means in this case I can’t vary cast on. Just work to get the cast off right! I’m using Paris Mohair by the way (if anyone knows the yarn) and as it will be a very long edge (for me about 120cm) doing it badly will be noticeable. On small items like scarves often the fringe will pull it in but this won’t have that…

Just out of interest, the thumb method of casting on I see from time to time in a pattern. I never knew how to do it until I saw Amy’s video but this is quite easy. Is there some advantage in doing this? (Sorry, I will get used to using the right forum for general questions) :slight_smile:

ust out of interest, the thumb method of casting on I see from time to time in a pattern. I never knew how to do it until I saw Amy’s video but this is quite easy. Is there some advantage in doing this? (Sorry, I will get used to using the right forum for general questions) :slight_smile:

I don’t know about advantage, but I couldn’t do a long tail cast on when I first started. Looking at it, I realized you could `throw’ with the right hand as in knitting and started doing it that way. I taught myself ages ago before the idea of a computer on your dekstop (or portable) was an outlandish idea and who’d ever want that… Ahem… it was long before the internet, in other words.


Sorry for the late reply, it’s in all of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books. I’m not sure if it’s on a website, but it might be.

The thumb method is basically an English long tail cast on, and the cast on/cast off duplicates it exactly.

I can’t imagine casting off using your thumb! :slight_smile:

I don’t think you cast off using your thumb, just the cast on. It’s on one of Amy’s videos under casting on. I think he’s referring to what’s called a sewn cast off, which really doesn’t involved sewing. If that’s the one I think he means…


Hi suzeeq, Yes, I think that’s what he means also. I have watched Amy’s video a couple of times but it’s one of the techniques I don’t find easy to understand. I tend to get visually confused by all the ‘action’ and can’t always see everything. I wish I could watch it in slow motion without hands in the way as such - a digital media 3D production! I will watch it a few more times and then perhaps start a new forum and ask questions specifically about that.

Well, yes, it’s worked with a darning needle with your yarn threaded through it, but it’s different from her sewn bind off. A sewn bind off duplicates a ridge of garter stitch, and it 's worked from left to right, going through two and then one stitch. A cast on/cast off is worked from right to left, and exactly duplicates long tail or thumb casting on. It involves catching the two stiches in a way that leaves a fake cast on edge where you cast off.

But amy worked from right to left from memory. Hmm…looks like we need to find a link for the cast on/off process :slight_smile:

That was for standard casting off. The cast on/cast off is worked from left to right, with the stitches pulled off of the needle. I’ll see if I can’t find a link to the instructions. Because it’s Elizabeth Zimmermann’s, I don’t think it would be anywhere but in her books.