How to cast off stitches in rib stitch


Just as there are different ways to cast on stitches there are different ways to cast off stitches. Some are a little more complex than others and although you don’t have to know them all by heart, it is important to be familiar with them so that you can choose the adequate way for each of your projects.

Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 1

When we work with the rib stitch, we create columns of purled and knitted stitches. So keep this in mind when you cast off the stitches at the end so that the rim will look nice. We cannot cast off all stitches by knitting them because that will make the rim look rigid and it will not adapt to the rib stitch. That is why today we are going to show you how it’s done best.

Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 2

Knit in rib stitch until you have reached the desired length. In this case we have used rib stitch 2×2 that means: always knit 2 stitches and purl the next 2 until you have completed the row and do the same in all rows.

Finish with a row on the inside so that the outside faces you and we can start to cast off stitches.

Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 3
Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 4

Knit 2 stitches just as we would when we usually start to cast off stitches. Afterwards you pull the second stitch on your right-hand needle over the first.

Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 5

Now place the thread in front of the project and purl the next stitch (if you take a close look you can see that we have knitted all stitches the way we find them: knitting those that were knitted and purling those that were purled).

Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 6

With the thread still in front of the project, pull the second stitch on the right-hand needle over the first stitch.

Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 7
Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 8

Now purl the next stitch again and pull it over the stitch that you already have on your needle- then place the thread behind the project again, ready to knit the next stitch which, as you can see, is a knitted stitch.

Repeat these steps until you have cast off all stitches. The secret is to cast off all stitches in the direction that you find them, maintaining their original direction. Don’t forget to change the direction of the thread when you change from a knitted to a purled stitch, this is crucial in order to achieve a perfect result.

Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 9

In the image above you can see the difference after having cast off stitches in rib stitch depending on the technique you use to cast off the stitches, either knitting them all or alternating between knitted and purled stitches. The front piece is cast off correctly, while we can see that in the other piece the seam overlaps the stitches and does not adapt to the form of the rib stitch.

Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 10

If we cast off all stitches knitting them the last row will be rather rigid (and so the rib stitch loses all its charm) which will make the seam visible and look ugly.

Cast off Rib Stitch - Step 11

If we, however, respect the direction of each stitch, we achieve a rather flexible and elastic row that is ideal for this type of stitch with a seam that adapts to the form of the piece and that is furthermore rather flat.

You see it’s not at all difficult to obtain perfectly cast off stitches! With a very simple variation when we cast off the stitches we achieve much more professional rims.

In our example we have used 15MM wooden needles and orange fabric yarn, see all colors here to choose your favorite!

We love seeing your projects, so don’t forget to share them with us on Instagram with the hashtag #weareknitters!

  1. Hi there I’m stuck. I can cast off or bind off whatever you want to call it but, that is at the start of my row what do I do now? Do I continue to knit the patter? Like I said I’m stuck.

    1. hi! for specific knitting questions that could require a little bit of dialogue and explanation, we recommend sending a quick email with your question to [email protected] for an in depth answer 🙂

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