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How to: cast off purlwise

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Let's Knit Together

  • Overview
  • Practical Guides

It’s common to cast off stocking stitch knitwise, but you can also cast off stitches purlwise, which leaves a flat neat finish on the purl side. It’s also good to know how to do this in case you need to cast off in pattern, such as on a ribbed collar.

You can cast off purlwise from the knit side, by purling stitches before casting off, and this creates a slightly raised garter stitch effect on the knit side.

In some patterns you may be casting off a few stitches on certain rows for shaping, or it could be a whole row to completely finish your knitting. If it’s just a few stitches, always make sure you have the right number left on your needles at the end of the row. For this simple cast off, you’ll work a normal purl stitch, then lift the previous stitch over it and off the RH needle, to cast it off and finish the top edge of your knitting with a neat line of Vs. At the start of your cast off, have yarn in front and purl two stitches as normal - you need to have two stitches to have one to lift over. Before casting off a purl stitch, move your working yarn to the back – between the needle tips – then use your LH needle to lift the first stitch over the second one and off the RH needle. This leaves one st on the RH needle, and one st has been cast off. Bring yarn to the front again to purl the next st as usual, then move the yarn to the back to cast off a stitch purlwise. At the end of casting off your knitting, cut the yarn and fasten off through the last stitch as usual. Keep in mind that you are casting off, as sometimes especially after a section of stocking stitch, it’s easy to carry on with your purl stitches and then have to work back across the row to unpick it, tinking (knitting backwards) to get back to your casting off.


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