“Binding Off” simply means “closing off” stitches so they are no longer being worked. There are as many ways to bind off as to bind on, each best suited to a specific type of edge. As you progress, you will want to learn bind offs specific to the type of knitting you are doing. For now, let’s start you with the most versatile.
Like cast ons, it can be very easy to make the bind off too tight. You will know this has happened if the bound-off edge pulls in from the rest of the piece or does not stretch to the capacity it ought. If this is the case, you must take out the bound-off edge and try again.
Basic Bind Off
Characteristics: Firm, non-stretchy
Good for: Shoulders, places where structure and stability are required.
Other Useful Bind Offs
As you progress, you will want to add some other ways to "cast off" stitches to your toolkit. Here are some of my favourites:
Characteristics: An invisible way to join two sets of live stitches together.
Good for: grafted shoulders, the top of a hood, tops of mittens or toes of socks, anywhere that live stitches need to be joined
Super Stretchy Bind Off
Characteristics: Finishes an edge with a chainette look that provides plenty of stretch.
Good for: Fingerless mitten tops, mitten and sock cuffs, necks finished in the round, any edge that needs plenty of stretch, especially if it will be rolled under and sewn.
Sewn Rib Bind Off
Characteristics: Finishes a knit 1/purl 1 ribbed edge invisibly with the same amount of stretch as the fabric
Good for: Any k1/p1 ribbed edge that will be visible on the finished garment, such as necklines and cuffs.