Thursday, September 24, 2009

Matching your cast-on to your bind-off

Knitters often ask about making the cast-on edge match the bound off edge. ("Bind off" is also sometimes called "cast off," the two terms are interchangeable.) Making matching edges is especially important for knitting with lots of long edges, where the edges are close together: this scarf, for example.

Although this blog has touched on this issue in other posts, today's post puts it all together in one place: a TECHknitting round-up of how to match cast-on and bind-off. At the bottom of each method are the links to the illustrated how-to's.

Method 1: Provisional cast on
Do a provisional cast on. Knit your garment. Bind off using any method you like. Go back to the beginning of the work and remove the provisional cast on. Now, bind off the live stitches using the same bind off method you used at the garment end. The two ends HAVE to match because they were done exactly the same way.
  • LINKS--
COWYAK provisional cast on
Crochet hook chain method of provisional cast-on
Method 2: Rolled stockinette edges
Cast on, using any method you like. Knit at least 5, and perhaps as many as 10 rows in plain stockinette. This makes a rolled edge to your garment. Start the garment according to the patten such that the stockinette roll rolls to the outside of the garment. At the end of the garment, knit the same number of rows of stockinette--again arranging matters so that the stockinette roll is to the outside. Bind off using any method you like. The stockinette rolls at the beginning and the end of the garment will hide the casting on and the binding off--the garment edges will therefore match: even though the cast on does not necessarily look like the bind off, no one will ever see them.
  • LINKS--
Rolled edges (scroll to bottom of post for gallery)

Method 3: chained (cable) cast on matches stitch-over-stitch bind off
The chained cast on (also called the cable cast on) looks a good deal like an ordinary stitch-over-stitch bind off. If you use the cable chain cast on and the stitch-over-stitch cast off, you will have two edges which match closely.
  • LINKS--
Chain cast-on, also known as "cable cast-on" or "knitting on"
Chain bind off

Method 4--tubular cast-on, tubular cast-off
A tubular cast on exactly matches a tubular cast off. So good is the match that they are, literally, indistinguishable, even for the person who knit them

  • LINKS--
Tubular cast-on
Tubular bind-off
Method 5: Hemming
When an item is hemmed at both the cast-on and the bind-off, the edges look identical because they are identical.

  • LINKS--
Sewing hems shut
Knitting hems shut

Have you got a match-matchy method you like?



Irina said...

Thank you! This article exactly what I needed for my next project. It's knitted side to side and the author uses the provisional cast-on to match sides. I was wondering about other methods. I think I'll go with the tubular cast-on/bind-off.

Eve said...

Elizabeth Zimmermann's sewn cast-off in outline stitch (worked from left to right) looks exactly like the long-tail cast-on. It's in Knitting Without Tears.

wildwoodflwr said...

I like to do Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn cast-off. Looks close to a long-tail cast on (which I use for nearly every project.)

Robin Hunter said...

I like the crochet cast on it's shown here

soknitpicky said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Laura Sue said...

Henry is such a beautiful scarf in the picture. I tried to knit it once. I did about 4 rows and had to frog before I began to consider suicide.

kmkat said...

A couple years ago I made a scarf for the Red Scarf Project and knit it lengthwise. When I had bound off roughly 295 of the 300 stitches I realized that 1, the bind off was tighter than the cast on, so the scarf wouldn't hang properly, and B, the bind off didn't look like the cast on. So I frogged the 295 bound off stitches of sticky alpaca and used EZ's sewn bind off.

Where were you when I needed you? ;-)

Katinka said...

I'm bookmarking this immediately! Thank you!

Xallanthia said...

My issue with the tubular cast-on and cast-off is that the cast-off is always way too tight. I tried to do Henry and fortunately tried a gauge swatch first, in pattern with the edges as writen; I could see that they were the same when it wasn't stretched but the cast-on stretched an amazing amount, while the cast-off stretched not at all. Help?

(BTW--for those who would love Henry but are scared of this: I ended up using applied i-cord edging all round, which worked beautifully).

turtlegirl76 said...

A crochet cast on over the needle also looks the same as the traditional stitch-over-stitch bind off.

CC said...

I've been searching how to match cast-on to bind-off method for years.
Thanks for putting it all in one place.

Tsarina of Tsocks said...

Not a literal matchy-matchy method, as such - but I sometimes like to balance a Channel Islands Cast-on with a picot-point bind-off. Favorite trick with the former to make it super-stretchy: cast on double the number of stitches, then work a round of decreases. Pretty and dainty and completely non-binding.

Amybel said...

Terrific post! Thanks for the great information.

Orli said...

Jen's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO) in Knitty's latest issue has been matched by Jen's own Stretchy Slipknot Cast-On (JSSCO) on her website.

Nancy said...

I love to use this bind off on garter stitch/long tail cast on - makes a very nice rounded edge that looks just like garter stitch. I have heard it called Icelandic bind-off but that seems to be something else...

long version
slip 2 stitches to right needle
pass first stitch over second
Slip stitch back to left needle and knit
Slip one more stitch to right needle and repeat from step 2

short version

Put right needle through first stitch purlwise
catch front of second stitch and pull up through first stitch
Knit this stitch and slip both stitches off (leaves one stitch on right needle)
Slip stitch back to left needle and repeat

You can pull up quite firmly to tighten the stitch and it will still be okay.

pam said...

Hi TECHknitter. FYI. You are a fave blog to visit. A quick comment about CO and BO matching. I like to use EZ's sewn BO as this looks alot like long tail CO. Hey, just like Eve said! =0D I also like to do decrease BO purlwise which makes a real nice looking cable type edge. You all posted some awesome comments and tips. And thank you Techie for that new super stretchy BO link!

Judi P said...

For garter-stitch borders, there is no better bind-off than EZ's sewn bind-off. (I refer to the right-to-left version.) And henceforth, I will always do a provisional cast-on when it's a garter-stitch border so I can do a matching sewn bind-off on the cast-on edge. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration.

Michelle said...

I have been having good "matching" success doing a crochet cast on and finishing with "grandma's favorite bindoff" which, I believe is best described as a decreasing purl bind off with the twist that you wrap the yarn clockwise.

Ashley Clark said...

Uhhhhh, this just changed my life! Thank you! The OCD part of my brain needs the CO and BO to matchy match - love the simple solution of a provisional cast on! Genius! Thanks so much!