Five Ways to Neatly Bind Off the Last Stitch

You’ve probably noticed that no matter how careful we are when we bind off stitches, the last stitch is always too big. It creates an unsightly hole at the very end of the bind off edge and pushes the edge upwards.

I’m not exactly sure why it happens (it probably has something to do with the tension of the edge stitches), but I can show you five ways to deal with this issue.

If you are a visual learner, you can watch every way explained below in this video tutorial.

WAY #1

This way requires some planning. When you are about to work the last row before you bind off stitches, slip the first stitch of that row. 

If the first stitch is a knit, keep the yarn at the back of the work. If that stitch is a purl (as is the case with the swatch in the photo), the yarn should be at the front of the work. 

Finish the row according to your pattern and bind off all stitches as usual in the next row.

I’ve been using this way for ages without even realising that I’m fixing the “last stitch issue”. Because I add slip stitch selvedges (way #1 explained in this tutorial) to most of the projects I make, I slip the first stitch of every row including the last row of the work. So when I bind off stitches, the bind off edge is nice and even.

WAY #2

1. Bind off stitches until you have one stitch on the left needle and one stitch on the right needle

2. Slip the last stitch from the left needle to the right needle.

3. Insert the tip of the left needle from back to front under the left leg of the stitch that is below the last stitch. Watch how to do it.

4. Place that leg of the stitch below on the right needle.

5. Slip both stitches (the last stitch and the stitch that used to be below the last stitch) to the left needle.

6. Knit these two stitches together.

7. Now pass one stitch over the other to finish the bind off. Cut the yarn, pass it through the last stitch and pull tight to secure.

WAY #3

This is a variation of the way #2 we’ve just discussed. It uses the same idea of picking up the stitch below the last stitch but requires fewer steps (and that’s great, right? :-). Here’s how it works:

1. Bind off stitches until you have one stitch on the left needle and one stitch on the right needle.
(see the photo of step 1 of way #2).

2. With the tip of the right needle, pick up the top part of the stitch that is below the last stitch. Watch how to do it.

3. Place that stitch on the left needle.

4. Knit these two stitches together.

5. Pass one stitch over the other to finish the bind off. Cut the yarn, pass it through the last stitch and pull tight to secure.

WAY #4

1. Bind off stitches until you have two stitches on the left needle and one stitch on the right needle.

2. Work the last two stitches as an SSK – slip one stitch knitwise from the left needle to the right needle, then slip the other stitch in the same fashion, return both stitches back to the left needle and knit them together through the back loop.

3. Now pass one stitch over the other to finish the bind off. Cut the yarn, pass it through the last stitch and pull tight to secure.

This way we hide the loose stitch behind its neighbour and keep it from messing up the bind off edge.

WAY #5

Here’s a way to cheat the problem instead of solving it 🙂

1. Bind off all stitches as usual. Make the last stitch bigger and take it off the right needle.

2. Cut the yarn. The length of the tail is irrelevant. If you plan to use the tail for seaming, make it long. If you only plan to weave it in, keep it short.

Pass the yarn tail through the last stitch, and pull the tail until the loop of the last stitch is about two to three times bigger than the rest of the stitches.

3. Now push the loop down so that it wraps the very end of the bind off edge. Watch how to do it.

4. Hold the loop down while you pull the yarn tail tight.

Here they are – five ways to fix an issue that is small but can be quite frustrating for the perfectionist inside us 🙂

Note: When it comes to securing the yarn tail, in all swatches shown in this tutorial, I passed the yarn tail through the last stitch. 

Some sources say that it’s better to pull the tail out of the last stitch, but I find that it results in a looser end of the bind off edge and less secure yarn tail that is more likely to unravel later on. 

It is just my personal opinion, and if you feel that pulling the tail out makes more sense to you, by all means, do that instead of passing the tail through the last stitch (unless you use way #5 that requires passing the tail through the last loop). It’s totally up to you 🙂


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Happy knitting 🙂


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