Day 8 – Binding Off

Welcome knitters! We have reached the second-last lap of the race called Project Cowl. I hope you have finished knitting all the sections mentioned in the pattern without any difficulty. Just for a quick check, the sections you should have knit are – First Garter Stitch Border, First Zigzag Eyelet Trellis, First Divider, Gull Wings, Second Divider, Second Zigzag Eyelet Trellis and Second Garter Stitch Border. If you have knit all these, that means you have knit 57 rounds by now and your cowl is complete.

For those who were not following the prescribed pattern and had decided not to use lace sections, I hope you have also finished 57 rounds in whichever pattern you had chosen.

For those using straight needles, I hope you have finished 210 rows as per the pattern that you were following.

Now that you have finished knitting the cowl, it is time to bind off your cowl i.e. to take your cowl off the needles so that it can go around your neck.

Just like casting on, there are many ways to bind off your work and depending on which garment you have knit, you can choose the type of bind off you want to use. Today I am going to show you two of the simplest bind offs and you can use whichever one you like for your cowl.

Knit/Purl Bind Off

This is the simplest bind off in knitting. There are 2 ways to do this bind off – one way is by knitting and the other by purling – however the essential technique remains the same.

On the row on which you want to bind off, you knit the first two stitches on your left needle one at a time. Once those two stitches are on your right needle, you pass the first stitch over the second stitch, leaving just one stitch on the right needle. Then you knit the next stitch on your left needle and once again pass the first stitch over the second stitch leaving just one stitch on your right needle. Keep doing this until you are left with just one stitch on your right needle. I’ll tell how to knit the last stitch after the next bind off since the process is the same for both bind offs.

You can do the same bind off by using purl stitches instead of knit stitches i.e. you will purl the stitches on the left needle instead of knitting them. The rest of the bind off will remain exactly the same.

This is a fairly simple bind off and the only problem with this bind off is that if you’re not careful, it can make the edge too tight. If the bind off gets too tight, it leads to puckering of the stitches right below it making the fabric look distorted. It is also not good for such garments which require stretchy edges such as neck bands, gloves or socks.

Decrease Bind Off

For a more stretchy edge, I use the decrease bind off. It is also the bind off I have used for the cowl that I have knit.

Once you reach the row on which you want to bind off, you have to knit two stitches together (K2Tog) through the back loop. I have already explained how a K2Tog decrease is done in the previous post. The only difference here is that you will insert your right needle in the back legs of the two stitches together rather than the front legs of the stitches. Once you have knit the two stitches through the back loop, you will slip the resulting stitch from the right needle to the left needle as if to purl (i.e. slipping with the tips of the needles facing each other). Now knit the slipped stitch and another stitch together through the through the back loop and slip the resulting stitch back to the left needle. Keep doing this until you are left with one stitch on your right needle.

Knotting the last stitch

Once you’re left with only one stitch on your needle, carefully remove your needle making sure that the stitch remains in place. Cut off the yarn connected to the ball leaving a tail of at least 6 inches and insert it through the last stitch. Tighten it as if you would tighten a knot. This makes your bind off secure.

If you are using straight needles, you can use either of the two bind-offs since in your cowl, the cast on edge and the bind off edge will be seamed together. The only thing you must make sure of is that the cast on edge and the bind off edge should match in length otherwise your cowl will look lopsided.

Now that you are done with the bind off, you should be the proud owner of a beautiful cowl. I have finished my cowl as well and this is what I got

One final step is left before we are done with the cowl and I’ll tell you about that on Day 9. See you then!

~P