Is bind off the same as cast-off in knitting?

Everything you need to know about the difference between cast-off and bind-off

I start by assuming, you are here because you came across a knitting term in your pattern you were confused about. You know how to bind off stitches, but the instructions say “cast-off”? So, is bind-off the same as cast-off?

Yes, both terms describe the same general method of securing your stitches once you finished a project and keep it from unraveling. Typically, people in the U.S. say “bind-off” while knitters in the UK prefer “cast-off”. It’s just one more example for the same meaning with different words – like soccer vs football, fall vs autumn, etc.

a swatch with a half-finished bind-off and some knitting tools in the background

I have to mention that knitting techniques can vary greatly between different countries and areas in the world. You might have heard of continental vs English knitting, where the way you hold your yarn and insert your needles is completely different. But in this case, they are exactly the same. The majority of makers in both the U.S. and the UK knit by throwing the yarn around the needle with their right hand.

Personally speaking, I prefer the term cast-off because the word itself makes it a bit easier to notice that it’s the exact opposite of a cast-on.

And here’s one more thing you need to be aware of. A bind-off (or cast-off) doesn’t exactly refer to a specific technique. There are many, many ways to secure your stitches. Rather, see it as a general category that all help you to finish a project. There are really stretchy bind-offs, but also ornamental techniques like the i-cord bind-off or the picot edge.

a stockinette stitch swatch finished with a picot bind-off edge
A swatch with a special picot bind-off

And then there are quite helpful methods, like the three-needle bind-off, that will help you join two knitted pieces together without seams. And so on…

PS: I know this is a common problem, so here’s a guide to figuring out how much yarn you need for a bind-off.

I hope this explained the difference between cast-off vs bind-off. Comment below in case you have any questions.

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