Sewn Bind Off


Since there is an unprecedented amount of viewers here today thanks to Stephanie, I think it’s a good time to talk about binding off.

Some knitters know and use oodles of techniques for casting on and binding off (Montse Stanley lists 40 COs and 19 BOs on her Knitter’s Handbook), but I only use a few on a regular basis. Like just about everybody, I use the long tail cast on the most. However, I only ever use the chain bind off on edges which will be invisible (shoulders, back neck, etc…) For visible edges, I mostly use a sewn bind off which emulates the long tail cast one: it looks better (IMHO) and is more flexible that the chain BO.

For some reason, I thought that I learned this from Ms. Stanley, and that’s what I told Stephanie. Turns out that this is not so – Knitter’s Handbook shows the right to left method while I usually work from left to right.Today, I’ll demonstrate the latter and will save the former for another day.

As a side note: Montse Stanley calls this the ‘Stem Stitch Bind Off’ and I’ve also seen this technique referred to as ‘cast on cast off’ and ‘sewn bind off’. I find this confusing, so will refer to it as ‘Sewn Bind Off’ from now on).

Moving on…

First things first: whether I’m casting on or binding off, I measure the long tail by wrapping the yarn around my needle about 10 times, then doubling the yarn until the number of stitches have been approximated. I then add a few inches for weaving in (if this was a garment piece and I was casting on, I’d also add enough to sew up one side).


Thread the yarn thought a tapestry needle and insert into the second stitch from the front.


Insert into the first stitch from the back…


… and drop the first stitch off the needle.


Continue as such until all the stitches have been bound off.

  • Thanks for this very useful and well illustrated tutorial! I’m sure it will be well appreciated (I know I really appreciate it!)

  • I agree, this is a marvellous cast off, or whatever you want to call it. Molly Ann actually did it for me when all of us took that eventful trip to the Vt. Sheep & Yarn Festival a few years back. Can you believe she did it effortlessly in the middle of that cute lil’ cafe where we chilled just prior to our return? Due to my cranial issues, I’m unable to do this particular technique unless I’m in a very quiet room with absolutely no distractions. (That Means You, Mother!!)

    I wonder what it’s like to be able to do more than one thing at a time…

  • Very clever. And so much simpler than the convoluted sewn bind-off I normally do. Thanks.

  • Silvia Castillo

    Thank you very much for the useful tutorial. I’m thinking of using it in scarves, for a nice and neat edge.

  • Hello! I´m from Argentina and I´, very glad to have found your site. I want know if you could send me any simple instructions to knit with 4 needles. Just to knit socks or gloves.
    Thank you very much, yours truly Bolmara.