Learn to knit – a chat about casting off

So you’re ready to cast off? Exciting! So we’ve done slipknot, cast on, knit stitch, I’ve talked about the T word, and also about mistakes

If you’re reading this in sequence, the last blog post I did was on mistakes (a bit of a rambling one!) and I’ve also done a couple of short videos for you to show you how to fix mistakes, including one on how to tink

One of the things that I did say in that blog post was about taking it back if you’ve made a mistake.
Now here I am conscious that I am about to contradict myself because what I say to people in my Learn to Crochet workshop is don’t take it back.
I’ve just read back the fixing mistakes blog post and I do say  “Pulling it back is a brilliant idea, do it” but if you don’t want to, don’t pull it back. 

Knitting is all about learning the principles then just doing it however you want to do it.

In the workshops, especially the Learn to workshops, I do say please keep what you’ve done, don’t pull it back. Keep those things that have got mistakes in them, holes in them or extra stitches in them because it’s great to see how you’ve progressed. Sometimes even though you’re progressing, because you’re doing it slowly and steadily, we don’t see that progression, whereas if we keep the first thing that we’ve knitted, then we can see. ANd believe me you WILL have gone from strength to strength even if you don’t feel it but by keeping those first bits you can see it.

So, casting off. If you followed the scarf kits then hopefully you’ve got a nice bit of garter stitch going. 

It’s good to see what the length is on the pattern and how long those balls of yarn knit to. However when you come to knit your scarf, I recommend not to worry too much about the actual length measurement. I just put it on to see if I like the length. If I want it a little bit longer and I’ve still got yarn left, I carry on knitting. Then when I get to the length I like, then I cast off. 

I’ve done a little short video about how to cast off for you to see how I cast off.

If you go out there into the wide world of the web there are many, many different ways to cast off. I learnt to knit before the internet, so I was taught only one way to cast off and that’s the way I have been casting off ever since. I have looked at the other ways that are out there and I’ve given them a go but I always go back to my old faithful. 

The only change in casting off to the way I show in the short video is the stitches I use. For example, if I’m going to cast off in garter stitch I knit all the stitches. If it was a rib, I’d cast off in rib. For example if it was a k2, p2 rib pattern I would knit two stitches, cast off one stitch, purl one stitch, cast off one stitch, purl one stitch, cast off one stitch, knit one stitch, cast off one stitch etc., etc., 

However here I’ll explain how to cast off knit stitches.
So you knit two stitches, then you’re going to slip the first stitch that’s been knitted onto your right needle up and over the second stitch. You do that by coming in purl wise to the first stitch you knitted and just lifting it up and over the second stitch you knitted.
Now, some people will see this differently, because it is the first stitch you knitted going over the second stitch you knitted but the way it looks on the right needle is the second stitch is going over the first stitch on the needle. It’s really tricky to explain but you can go and look at my short video

After that you’re left with one on the right needle and you knit the next stitch on the left needle, and again you slip it off purl wise and up and over so you’re always left with one.. 

What some knitters find is the cast off edge can be quite tight, especially when you’re learning so just be aware of that. Try and loosen up the stitches.. It’s all about getting into the right rhythm because you don’t want it to be too loose and you don’t want it to be too tight. A bit like Goldilocks! 

After you’ve cast off all the stitches you want to cast off, you’ll be left with just one stitch. Break off the yarn and take this end underneath the stitch and thorough it and then you pull to tighten and secure that stitch. 

And that’s it. We’ve come to the end of this learn to knit journey and hopefully the beginning of your knit journey. 

Hopefully you’ve done your first scarf and you’re all keen and eager to start something else. I’m here if you want any help…and stick around for the next blog posts, we are going on another magical knitting journey!

Article by Jane