How to Bind Off Stitches

The binding off (BO) technique finishes the last row and secures the stitches so the needles can be removed. You will often see the phrase "bind off in pattern." This means work the last row of stitches as instructed, and bind off as you work. It sounds tricky, but it's not. The illustrations here show a knit row for the bind-off, but you'll want to practice the technique on both knit and purl rows.

Step 1: Hold the needle with stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand. Hold the yarn in position for the knit stitch, behind your work.

Step 2: Knit the first 2 stitches.

Step 3: Insert the left needle from left to right into the front loop of the first stitch on the right needle (fig. 9a). Note: This is the stitch farther from the right needle tip.

Binding Off 1
Binding Off: Figure 9a

Step 4: Use the left needle to pull this stitch over the second stitch and drop it off the right needle. One stitch bound off; the second stitch remains on the right needle (fig. 9b).

Binding Off 1
Binding Off: Figure 9b

Step 5: Knit the next stitch.

Step 6: Repeat steps 3-5 until you have bound off all stitches from the left needle and 1 stitch remains on the right needle. Cut the yarn about 4 inches from the stitch, and pull the yarn tail through the last stitch (fig. 9c). Remove the needle and pull the yarn tail to tighten.

Binding Off 3
Binding Off: Figure 9c

Many new knitters bind off too tightly. The bound-off edge should be as elastic as the rest of the knitting. If necessary, use a larger needle size to work the stitches in your bind-off row.

In the next section, you'll find information on some of the most common knitting stitch patterns.

Not what you’re looking for? Try these helpful articles: