How to Bind off Items Knitted in the Round

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Almost every knitting project is finished by using the bind-off technique. Binding off creates a finished edge and secures the final stitches so that they do not unravel your work.

There are times when a pattern may call for you to knit in the round. This means that you will knit in a circle with double-pointed or circular needles, creating a seamless "tube" of knitwork. An unseamed sleeve of a sweater, for instance, would be knit in the round.

Binding off when knitting in the round is very similar to the method used when knitting with straight needles. The only real difference is that you must control several double-pointed needles when knitting in the round, setting them aside as you cast off, or remove the final stitches, from each one.

Things You'll Need

  • Tapestry needle
  • Knitting project still on the needles (circular or double-pointed)
  • Scissors
This is a wrist cuff knit in the round.
This is a wrist cuff knit in the round. (Image: Bound-off circular knit)

How to Bind Off When Knitting in the Round

Step 1

With just a tapestry needle, yarn and scissors, you can bind off when knitting in the round. Please see the last slide for an itemized list of tools and materials.

You will need several basic items in order to bind off when knitting in the round.
You will need several basic items in order to bind off when knitting in the round. (Image: Materials)

Step 2

At the beginning of a round, knit the first two stitches. Most beginning knitters will use a stitch marker to indicate the beginning of a round by placing a marker behind the first stitch that they knit on their first round.

Knit the first two stitches.
Knit the first two stitches. (Image: Knit the first 2 stitches)

Step 3

Insert the left needle (the second needle in your round) from left to right into the front of the first knitted stitch.

Insert the tip of the left needle under the first stitch.
Insert the tip of the left needle under the first stitch. (Image: Insert needle into first stitch)

Step 4

With the left needle inserted under the first stitch, lift up the stitch and pull it up and over the second stitch.

Lift the stitch up and over the second stitch
Lift the stitch up and over the second stitch (Image: Slip stitch off needle)

Step 5

Drop the stitch off the tip of the right needle until only the second stitch remains on the right needle. You have just bound off one stitch.

Drop the stitch off the tip of the needle
Drop the stitch off the tip of the needle (Image: Drop the stitch off the needle)

Step 6

Knit the next stitch from the left needle. There are now two stitches on the right needle.

Knit the next stitch
Knit the next stitch (Image: Knit the next stitch)

Step 7

Repeat steps 3-6 until only 1 stitch remains on the last double-pointed needle.

One stitch remains
One stitch remains (Image: Bind off until one stitch remains)

Step 8

Remove the needle and loosen the stitch to make it bigger.

Loosen the last stitch
Loosen the last stitch (Image: Remove the needle)

Step 9

Cut the yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail. Thread the end of the yarn through the last stitch and pull it tight.

Thread the yarn through the last stitch
Thread the yarn through the last stitch (Image: Thread the yarn through)

Step 10

Weave in the loose tails of yarn by threading them on your tapestry needle and weaving them in and out of several stitches to hide the tails. If a little bit of yarn remains sticking out, cut it off close to the stitches so that no tail remains visible.

Weave in loose ends
Weave in loose ends (Image: Weave in loose ends)

Step 11

This is what a finished item knitted in the round looks like. Notice how it is knit as a tube with no seams.

The finished edge
The finished edge (Image: Bound off item)

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Tips & Warnings

  • When threading the yarn tail through the last stitch, do not pull too tightly. This could result in a pinched, or uneven finished edge.
  • Be sure to begin binding off at the beginning of a round. Failure to do so will result in an obvious drop-off along the finished edge.
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